The Skellig Ring in Kerry

The Skellig Ring in Kerry

The Skellig Ring in Kerry

This magnificent region just off the Ring of Kerry route has some of the best scenery seen anywhere in Ireland and Europe. Loaded with History, Tradition, Religion, Innovation, Landmarks, pre-Christian Monuments, 385 Million-year-old footprints and add some breathtaking scenery and you get the Skellig Ring. The very picturesque Islands just off the Coast were used in the recent Star Wars movie, Skellig Michael the larger of the two which has an Old Monastery dating back to the 7th century with its spectacular Beehive Hut style structures.

McCarthy's Castle Skellig Ring

McCarthy’s Castle Ballinskelligs on the Skellig Ring

Our Top things to see on the Skellig Ring

  • Knightstown on Valentia Island via the Carferry from Renard Point, (a nice restaurant here O’Neill’s)
  • The Museum Heritage centre on the Transatlantic Cable back in 1866 the first communication with Europe and North America
  • The Valentia lighthouse at Cromwell’s Point, a narrow steep road but worth it very scenic
  • Tetrapod footprints 385,000,000 years old one of the first amphibians to walk on land, one of the oldest in the World.
  • The Slate Quarry and Grotto great views on the Lighthouse and the Atlantic ocean.
  • Saint Brendan’s well which has become popular with New York Firefighters and emergency personnel in recent years, its a shrine to Saint Brendan the patron Saint of Kerry, on the way down too the well you will pass a pub “NEXT PINT NEW YORK” it was used for a Guinness commercial as the most remote pub in Ireland, you will be surprised when you see it 😉
  • Bray Head Loop walk a must in nice weather, great to stretch the legs here and enjoy the views of the Skellig Island’s from the old spotting tower in the distance. It’s nice to get out of the car for a break from driving here is the spot. You will at least need good runners/trainers for this one and preferably a pair of walking boots.

    Bray Head Skellig ring

    Bray Head Valentia Island

  • Portmagee is a nice place for lunch there are plenty of nice establishments in the area also but we like the Bridge bar in Portmagee.
  • Coominaspic pass the highest pass in Ireland on the way to Saint Finian’s Bay
  • Saint Finian’s Bay has a holy Well besides one of the most spectacular views of the Skellig island’s with its beach. This place is very popular with Surfers however it is not great for swimming and has strong rip tides. Here you can roar “Up Kerry” at the Skellig Islands and you will hear the echo come back if you do it loud enough.
  • The Skellig Chocolate factory where you can taste before you buy and it is being made in front of you, enjoy a fresh coffee, pastries, hot chocolates for the Kids and more.
  • Bolus Head walk is a remote walk yet has amazing views of the Skellig Island’s 

    Bolus head loop walk

    Bolus Head Loop walk

  • Ballinskelligs and McCarthy’s Castle a sister castle to the one at the Lake Hotel in Killarney there is a beautiful Abbey a short walk from the Castle to the right another nice break from driving. The Priory or Abbey was settled in the 12th Century from Skellig Michael after numerous attacks from the Vikings. Ballinskelligs Abbey Skellig RingBallinskelligs Abbey (Priory)
  • Reen Rua Beach popular with Surfers, it has the remains of a petrified Oak Forrest under the sand and can be seen in certain tides and times of the year. To the right is an old derelict hotel once the dream of Billy Huggard’s from Waterville, built in the late 1960’s in its day it offered Sand Yachting, Horse Riding, Surfing, Beach Sulkies, an Outdoor Swiming Pool, Indoor Swimming Pool, Standing Stones, Beehive Huts, Games Rooms, Snooker Tables and so much more. It even had an Airstrip, the troubles in Northern Ireland in the early ’70s and the decline of the growing numbers of visitors at the time stopped.

    Reenroe Hotel Ballinskelligs

    What was the Reenroe Hotel Ballinskelligs

The Skellig Islands

Skellig Michael can be visited via local boat operators daily but must be booked well in advance, the filming of Star Wars has increased its already popularity. Be aware you may be disappointed because of bad weather or rough seas the boats will not go and it is very difficult to get another slot close to the time. It is accessible from may to September and is around €70 per person and there is the physical effort required along with some scrambling on the way to the summit which quite steep in places. Safety briefings take place at the base of the steps that lead up the 700 feet to the Monastery. There is also an option to take a boat trip around the Islands from Portmagee.

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Killarney in November

Killarney in November

Killarney in November

Visiting Killarney in November can be a great time to visit, the Autumn colours are still here and a great time to experience another side of Killarney.

    • The locals will have more time to give to visitors in our Town on top of the usual welcome.
    • The days may be shorter but the atmosphere in Bars and Restaurants improves with open fires and homely atmospheres.
    • The Hotel room rates and lower and end of season shopping can offer some great bargains.
    • The woodlands and walks are beautiful this time of the year colours, one example is the Arbutus (Strawberry Tree) in full fruit and can be seen in the National park.
    • The Native Red Deer is still fairly active and easier to see with less vegetation.
    • Lower Sunlight a photographers dream great sunrises, sunsets and midday opportunities for some great Videos and Photographs.
    • Watch the Deer and floodlit Castle from the Outdoor Hot tub at the Lake Hotel

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Wild Atlantic Way Ireland – Kerry

Wild Atlantic Way Ireland – Kerry

Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland we will look at “Kerry” in the South West.

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Did you know “Kerry” in the South West has Ireland’s largest Coastline for any county in Ireland?

Did you also know Killarney has easy access to all the beautiful routes of the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry.Wild Atlantic Way Ireland - Kerry

Wild Atlantic Way Kerry Skellig Ring – Valentia

Our best experience of the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry was defiantly on the Skellig Ring and Valentia, this was mainly due to the fact we brought our bikes on there back of the car and got great advice on what to see. We didn’t think Slea Head and Dingle could be beaten but we found much more in this region. Here is why we loved it so much, firstly I much compliment the maps given to us in our hotel and the advice given to us knowing we had our own bikes.  We drove the traditional Ring of Kerry, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen and then on to Portmagee, here we parked our car and got our bikes ready. We cycled over the bridge to Valentia Island and took a right turn to Chapletown and onto Knightstown named after the “Knights of Kerry” here we found a great surprise, it’s an old Village which operates a ferry to Renard point which is near Cahersiveen.

Portmagee  51°53’9.30″N  /   10°21’57.48″W

I would recommend the Coffee Dock in Knightstown it has great views and a walk on the Mooring on the Marina. The Heritage Museum has all the history of the Trans-Atlantic Cable and radio station on Valentia Island. We found the Tetrapod footprints, Slate Quarry and cycled down the steep road to the Lighthouse which is quite bumpy and steep so take care. We walked our bikes back up to the road to save the legs. Passing Geokaun Mountain trail we will leave for a trip in the car we arrived next at Saint Brendan’s well and an old Pub “O’Shea’s Bar”  / “next stop New York”. The Cliffs here are dangerous so we didn’t go much further and returned to the west end of the island passing the walk to Bray Head with great views of the “Skellig’s” two Islands Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Back over the bridge and we stopped in the “Bridge bar” for the famous Seafood Chowder and a glass of Guinness.Wild Atlantic Way Ireland Geokaun

Bikes back on the back of our car and its up and over Coom and Easpaig the highest pass in Ireland and down into the steep road so drive carefully. We turned right to Glen Pier where you will find a nice view of the Skellig Islands and then on to Saint Finian’s Bay which also has views of the Skellig Islands. It’s a popular spot for Surfers but not suitable for swimming due to strong currents. To our surprise next, we came across the Skellig Chocolate factory where you get to taste all the types of chocolate they make. Ideal place to buy gifts for Family and Friends along with a very nice Coffee Shop.

Saint Finian’s Bay  51°50’46.80″N  /  10°20’8.74″W

The Road climbs gently with beautiful views of the Bay and the Islands and another Island called “Puffin Island” to the right. We stopped on a few times to take lots of photographs, its such a scenic area. Ballinskelligs was our next village there is a beautiful beach and a small Castle on the Beach called McCarthy’s Castle a sister castle to the one at our Hotel.

Ballinskelligs Beach  51°49’15.25″N  /   10°16’24.02″W

Cill Rialaig Art centre is on the right as you leave Ballinskelligs and we soon turn right for Waterville passing Reenroe beach, another beautiful Beach where you can walk for miles.McCarthy's castle Ballinskelligs

At the Church coming into Waterville, we took a left to Glencar a back road recommended to us it is narrow and windy but interesting at the same time so we took a chance and enjoyed it and it eventually took us back to Killarney. You can also continue on the Ring of Kerry to Caherdaniel, Sneem and back to Killarney via Moll’s gap.

Wild Atlantic Way Kerry, Tralee – Brandon area

We started in Killarney and headed for Tralee and then on to the Blenerville Windmill, from here we took the N86 to Castlegregory. We wanted to see Rough Point on the right-hand side of Brandon Bay, a good spot to see nice Surf. We also wanted to see Brandon Point on the other side of the Bay with its magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean and Brandon Bay. On calm days you can see Dolphins and the odd Whale from here if you are lucky and spend some time watching. The village of Brandon is small but quite interesting, as we got back to Kilcumin Beach there is a Keel of an Old Boat called the Port Yarroak which was loaded with Copper, it sunk in 1894 with no survivors. On a calm day, it looks a nice place to set Anchor bout it is well known for its big Atlantic swells.

We walked the beach at Brandon to see what was left of the Port Yarrock there is a monument to those who perished here and you can only see it in low tide. There were people surfing not far from the Keel of the Boat which sticks up like someone standing on the water. Brandon Bay is worth a visit and especially we liked Brandon point, its a bit of a trek but if you like remote scenery its worth it.

Waterville, Sneem, Kenmare and Lauragh

Heading into Waterville you should take the Coast road by the Golf Links there are great views of Ballinskellig’s Bay, Legend has it it was here Oisín rode his white horse to Tír na nÓg (land of the youth)

Tarbert, Beal, Ballyheigue, Tralee coming soon!

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Gap of Dunloe Killarney

Gap of Dunloe Killarney

The Gap of Dunloe Killarney

An Adventure and a real outdoor experience you will never forget “The Gap of Dunloe”
We decided to cycle the through Gap of Dunloe after hearing it was a special thing to do in Killarney.
We rented our bikes from David at the Killarney Bike rental at Flesk Caravan Park just a short walk from our hotel. David charged us €15 per bike we got helmets and a lock for the bike which proved handy when we visited Ross Castle. Our Hotel booked us on the boat with a local legend called “Ducks” according to our Concierge he is the best storyteller on the Lakes of Killarney.

Gap of Dunloe

Gap of Dunloe

We cycled into Killarney and found the playground where we would follow the path to the end and join the main road for a few miles before arriving at “Kate Kearney’s Cottage” an old Poitin house, like “Moonshine” if you get my drift!
From here we entered the Gap of Dunloe a Glacial Valley with a meandering path, walls of Mountains and beautiful lakes. There is a good climb by Turnpike Rock which looks like a gateway to the top. Here we found more Lakes and Bridges which brought us to what’s known as the “Head of the Gap” the highest point of the trip. Now we were looking down into Black Valley and descend slowly enjoying the Views and pass a small Village with fields with stone walls.
There is a sign for Lord Brandon’s Cottage and down that road, you must stop and look back, it has to be the best backdrop on all the sites we have seen in Ireland. A beautiful view with high mountain peaks and beautiful colours before we come across multiple arched bridges down by the Cottage. We had Coffee and fresh Sandwiches in this beautiful location, this was our first sighting of the legend that is “Ducks” he carried our bikes to the Boat and spoke in a dialect you could only imagine in a supernatural Movie. It was a gentle but profound speech as if it was from many years past, never before had we heard such a voice, it was Irish Bliss for us.

Lord Brandons Cottege killarney

Lord Brandon’s Cottage Killarney

We had never heard of the Teezze Weezees, but for those of you who don’t know about them “Ducks” meets them all the time and has great stories to tell about these strange creatures among many other things of great interest. I will not take from your experience by telling you too much but all I can say you will not be disappointed.
There were two White Tailed Sea Eagles flying over ironically what’s known as the Eagles Nest, passed the Meeting of the Waters, Dinis Cottage, another two bridges and back into the big Lake.
We had a good time on the Lakes of Killarney where there is an Old Abbey and Monastery where the High King of Ireland was educated by Monks over 1,000 years ago. The panoramas on the Lakes are unreal, Devil’s Punchbowl, Torc Mountain, Purple Mountain, Oak Woods and so much more.
Arriving at Ross Castle a striking Castle on the landscape rising high above the Lakes. It is here we depart our Boat and say farewell to “Ducks” we heard his father was a Boatman, and his Father and the many fathers before, Shir tis no wonder he has the “Gift of the Gab” and is a True Irish Legend. He told us his real name is Donal O’Donoghue and it’s no surprise Ross Castle was an O’Donoghue stronghold. He passed our bikes to us when everyone else had departed the boat and in an instance, he was gone. We still think to this day did we really meet “Ducks” or was he in our imagination, a magical experience none the less.
We visited Ross Castle before we returned our Bikes and walked back to our Hotel for a well-earned pint of Guinness and a white Wine overlooking our favourite view discussing the great day we had.ross-castle-killarney

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Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Killarney Hotel to introduce a Craft Beer from an Old Family Recipe dating back to 1912 AD

The Huggard family at the Lake Hotel are introducing Beers like the ones made by their Grandparents during both Wars in the last Century. The Flagship Beer will be called “Martin Huggard 1912”

Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Visit the Lakeside Bistro overlooking the Lakes of Killarney www.lakehotel.com

An Irish Pale Ale worthy of his name :

Huggard Craft Beer in Killarney

Huggard Craft Beer in Killarney

 

A few things about Martin Huggard :

  • He was a hands on Entrepreneur ran a shop along with two Hotels in Waterville Co. Kerry
  • A decade later Martin and Julia Mary started Ireland’s first Hotel chain, 7 hotels in all
  • Martin supplied the Gresham Hotel in Dublin with wine during the second World war from Waterville.
  • Due to rations in hard times Martin brewed Beer regularly and was able to supply the Royal in Valentia and the Lake Hotel in Killarney
  • Martin was also a Fisherman and a Farmer but now put all his efforts into the Hotels offering traditional Hospitality and local produce.
  • The Huggard’s became Ireland’s first Hotel school with the “Huggard trained” standard which is still remembered by many in the industry today….more….

Martin Huggard’s 1912 beer is bottle conditioned, few people will be offering such a traditional and artisan way of getting beer into a bottle, and as a result the taste is so much more tasty and natural.

 

Our Brewing Process

1:   Select only the best ingredients

2:   Add a characterful master brewer (Nik ‘the hat’) and traditional brewing equipment

3:   Heat pure filtered spring water to around 70 degrees C

4:   Mix this fresh heated water with your specialist selection of malts and leave for an hour or so

5:   Drain off the malt extract (wort)

6:   Boil with our secret selection of hops for another hour or so

7:   Drain off and cool the resulting crafted wort into a fermenter

8:   Add our strain of yeast and let the magic begin

Killarney beer

Killarney beer

Now serving Draught (from the tap) in the Devil’s Punchbowl Bar at the Lake Hotel

For non Beer drinkers

For non Beer drinkers 🙂 try a “Lakeside Dream” overlooking the Lakes of Killarney.

 

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Cycling in Killarney National Park

Cycling in Killarney National Park

Cycling in Killarney National Park

 

Cycling in Killarney National Park  you can rent Bikes locally in the Town or at Flesk Caravan & Camping Park on the Muckross road near the Killarney National Park. Dave Sheehan’s bike rental is in an ideal location to access the Safe Jaunting Car / Walkway / Cycle path leading into the National Park. You can also rent bikes in Killarney from O’Sullivan Cycles and Lynes on the Muckross road.

 

There are many Cycling Trails in Killarney here are some great ones :

1. Cycle Muckross and Dinis Cottage

 

Cycling in Killarney

Cycling in Killarney

 

Its more or less flat, its 10 miles / 16 km and very scenic. You will pass the Magnificent Abbey that is Muckross Abbey (1448.AD), The Colleen Bawn Rock, Old Copper Mines, Brickeen Bridge, Dinis Cottage and the Meeting of the Waters. You can walk over the Old Weir Bridge its very scenic, Arbutus the Strawberry Tree grows here in abundance, when ripe its red otherwise you will find Yellow berries. So its back on the bikes and you will arrive at the Main road with cars and buses so be careful for 500 meters before you arrive at Torc Waterfall. Now you can pass the toilets and go under the little tunnel under the road and you are back in the Park with no cars or buses.

After 500 meters on the left is Dundag Beach a freshwater beach popular with locals in hot weather, next on the left id the Muckross Boathouse before you arrive at Muckross House & Gardens.

2. The Gap of Dunloe

Cycling the Gap of Dunloe

Cycling in the Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe, starts at at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, heading up the gap to the Head of the Gap, on to Lord Brandon’s Cottage, hop on a Boat with Bike travel 22 KM’s to Ross Castle. or alternately go to Moll’s Gap, Ladies View and Muckross House by road.

This magnificent Trip can be Booked locally at your Accommodation in Killarney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Cycle to Ross Castle and the Old Copper Mines

Starting at Saint Mary’s Cathedral enter the National park through the big gates across the road, there is a beautiful Thatched Cottage called Deenagh lodge which is a tea room and serves refreshments, Pass the front door and straight down the hill until you meet a small bridge, turn right and stay on the roadway until you eventually meet another turn go right and follow the signs for Ross Castle.

At Ross Castle you can visit the Castle, take Boat trips on the Lakes, Visit Innisfallen Island, even hire your own boat to row around the Bay of Ross. If you cycle past the Castle you will arrive at the Old Copper Mines, look out for the green water in an old mine shaft. Governors Rock and Library Point are worth a visit the pathway becomes a dirt path so care is advised. If you are lucky enough to be here in Spring time you will see an abundance of Wild Garlic and Bluebell’s all over Ross Island.

Cycling in Killarney

More information on Cycling in Killarney

 

 

 

 

 

After a great days cycling in the National park its time to relax and enjoy a relaxing meal in the Lakeside bistro overlooking a 12th Century Castle and the Lakes of Killarney. www.lakehotel.com

Free Maps of Killarney available to customers of the Lake Hotel, Why not drop in ant try a “Martin Huggard” Craft Beer in our Lakeside garden and get your free Map of Killarney and on the reverse the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula with self-guided tours 😉

Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

 

 

 

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Killarney Web Cam

Killarney Web Cam

Killarney Web Cam

 

Killarney Web cam watch out for the wildlife regularly seen with the beautiful backdrop of the Lakes of Killarney.

This Killarney webcam image should update every few seconds!

From this web cam you are looking out at the Lakes of Killarney, a 12th Century Castle, Mountains and on occasion you will see the Irish native Red Deer graze on the lawns. Our Web Cam can also be viewed at night to see our Castle under lights.
Enjoy !

[mapsmarker marker=”7″]

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Torc Mountain Killarney

Torc Mountain Killarney

Torc Mountain Killarney

 

There is a great walking trail on Torc Mountain that you can climb to the summit via Railway sleepers and stone steps. The views at the top are amazing as you can see on the video below, You can start at Torc Waterfall or an easier option is to start at the Upper Car park on the Queens drive which is the next left after the entrance to Muckross House.

 

Torc Mountain Killarney from Vacation Killarney on Vimeo.

 

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Walking in Killarney

Walking in Killarney

Walking in Killarney

Top 10 Walks in Killarney

Walking in Killarney is a magical experience, its natural beauty endless pathways and trails you can walk for hours and most walks are loop walks so they bring you back to where you started. Here are some examples of fantastic walks in Killarney to get you going

1. Walks around the Muckross Lake, Muckross Abbey, Muckross Abbey, Muckross House, Bricin Bridge, Dinis Cottage (tea room Closed at present), Meeting of the Waters & Torc Waterfall. (10 miles) Map & More ….  (loop)

2. Ross Castle and the Mining Trail Walking at Ross Castle Killarney is a magical experience here you can follow the Mining Trail and walks on Ross Island 1 – 6 miles. (loop)

3. The Gap of Dunloe

4. O’Sullivans Cascade

5. Old Kenmare RoadFriars Walk Killarney

6. Derrychunnihy to Lord Brandon’s Cottage

7. Walks around the Muckross Lake, Muckross Abbey, Muckross House & Torc Waterfall

8. Knockreer House & Gardens and walking trails

9. Blue Pool Walking Trails (loop)

10. Devil’s Bit and Trails on Mangerton / Torc

Walking in Killarney

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