Back to the Ring of Kerry

Today was much less walking, as I took a bus tour around the Ring of Kerry. Now, I had done this before – on my first trip to Ireland – but I kinda wanted to do it again. I went with a different company1, this time, and the tour had a slightly more relaxed pace, as we were going and coming from Killarney, and not Cork.

Ray, our driver and guide, reminded me again of one of my favourite things out of Ireland: King Puck. He did a masterful job reeling us all in on how Killorglin every year catches a wild goat, crowns it king for three days, “marrys” it to a young lady who wins the honour by writing an essay, keeps the bars open extended hours, parades King Puck and his queen through the village, and then gives the queen a sword to cut open the king’s throat.

Everyone listened intently, and oohed and aahed. Then Ray says, “That’s not what we do at all! We’re not savages! After the party, we return the king to the mountains, and give him a special mark so that he’s never captured to be king again.” And everyone laughed2 sheepishly.

We drove past the statue of King Puck, and I managed to snap a picture, but it’s a phone picture from the wrong side of a moving tour bus through tinted glass, so never mind.

Our first stop was the Kerry Bog Village Museum3.

This is not the statue of King Puck. It’s just a goat statue at the Kerry Bog Village Museum. I took a picture of it last time, too, but this time, it had be painted.
There was also a freshly-thatched roof at the Museum. The decorative peak is apparently kind of a signature for some traditional thatchers.

From there, we entered the rugged terrain of the Iveragh Peninsula.

Here’s a nice little view of a river and the mountains in the background.

One of the nice things about this tour was that, because we weren’t so rushed, we got to stop a little more frequently for photo opportunities. Only got a couple more that are different from my last trip, but here they are:

This is the mouth of Dingle Bay.
These are the Scariff Islands. It’s the view from the place we stopped for lunch.
The stop above Waterville was the same as last time, but on this tour, we could see the ring fort down in the valley, and that’s pretty cool.
Looking down on the Upper Lake from Ladies View.
And we stopped in Sneem, which is good, because I was able to take another picture of The Stone Outside Dan Murphy’s Door.

We made it back into Killarney around 5:30, so I walked around and found the Laurels, where I had a good meal last time in Killarney. It was pretty crowded, but I sat at the bar and had a glass of cider, and a nice chat with some people I met on yesterday’s ramblings. Then I found a restaurant for dinner, and came back for the blogging.

Tomorrow is an unscheduled day. I think I’ll head back to Ross Castle and Muckross House and actually see the insides of them.


I almost forgot. One of the things we did that was really cool was a demonstration by a sheep farmer and his border collies.

He had two dogs, and it was pretty amazing to watch. I remember my parents’ dog, Bo, who always liked to herd the sheep on the farm, even though that wasn’t his job, and he had no idea where he was herding them.
  1. Deros Tours, who had taken me on two great tours the last time I was in Killarney []
  2. I’m gonna say it! []
  3. As it was last time. []

The Ring of Kerry

Things started off substantially better today. I actually made it to my tour bus on time, and was off on a tour of the Ring of Kerry.

One important word about this tour: if you are planning on taking a bus around the Ring of Kerry, and you are at all susceptible to motion sickness, take something before you go. I rarely get motion sick, but the narrow, twisting roads and the rocking and bouncing of the bus had me feeling nauseous fairly soon. And I was an idiot; I kept suffering through the bus ride portions between the stops, feeling worse and worse, then getting off the bus into the fresh air and feeling a bit better. I finally broke down and got some pills at a pharmacy in Killarney on the way back, and the ride back to Cork City from Killarney was fine.

Anyway. Word to the wise. I’m just even more glad that I didn’t sign up for a guided coach tour for the whole vacation.

So, our first stop was a replica 19th-century bog village.

Here’s the lane of the bog village. That big pile of black stuff is cut turves – chunks of peat ready for burning.
So, there’s this town near the bog village called Killorglin. It celebrates Puck Fair every year, wherein they crown a goat King Puck, put him in a cage on a pedestal and proceed to have a party. No one’s sure why. We didn’t get to stop at the official King Puck statue in Killorglin, but they had one in the bog village.
The village also had a couple of Irish wolfhounds. These dogs are huge, and beautiful. I understand why they need to keep them in a pen away from the tourists, but I really wish I could have got closer.
Here’s a look at the mountains from the bog village.
And here’s the view as we leave the bog village and head into the mountains.

We went on from there to a stretch along Dingle Bay that is obviously a popular stretch for pictures. The narrow road that wraps around the mountainous coast had a number of little nooks on the water side where cars and buses could stop for pictures. And they were mostly full when we stopped.

Looking across Dingle Bay.
Here’s the end of Dingle Bay, peeking around the shoulder of the hill.
Looking towards the mouth of Dingle Bay. Can’t quite see the ocean, but getting close.
The little farms across Dingle Bay.

We stopped for lunch in Waterville, a very nice little village on the end of the peninsula.

This is the main street in Waterville. Very picturesque.
Apparently, Charlie Chaplin and his family used to vacation frequently in Waterville, so they’ve put up this statue. The also recently had a Chaplin Film Festival, approved by the Chaplin Family.


This is the shore in front of the Waterville main street.
Looking out into the bay at Waterville.

After lunch, we were back on the road for about fifteen minutes, getting to this little overlook above Waterville.

Looking down the valley back toward Waterville. Can just barely see it.
Looking up the mountain above Waterville, into the clouds.
Looking down the other side of the overlook, out to sea.
Some neat rocks on the mountain above Waterville.
These stone fences are everywhere in the area, dividing the various fields. This one is unusual because it has a gate – apparently, the standard practice is to fill the opening with more stone after you get the animals onto the field.

We then drove on to the village of Sneem.

The Sneem River runs through Sneem. It’s a lovely little river. And saying Sneem is fun. Try it. Sneem.
So, there’s a traditional song called “The Stone Outside Dan Murphy’s Door.” This is either the place, or it’s a place based on the song. It’s also in Sneem.

We drove off through the mountains, up through Moll’s Gap, and on to the Ladies View, above the lakes of Killarney.

We stopped last in Killarney, but only in the heart of the city. Not a lot of really interesting picture material, but it is a very nice city to walk around in.

Really, the tour was great, but it was also kind of a tease. There were dozens of times when I wished we could have stopped to take a picture of some thing, but we didn’t. Sometimes there just was no place to stop a whole bus load of people, and the time it took to unload and reload all the people for a photo op was substantial. So, the driver picked a few very good spots.

Still, there was a beautiful view with interesting things in it pretty much around every corner. The Ring of Kerry is a beautiful drive, and I heartily recommend it.