The day dawned bright and early and we were eager to start our journey forth! We headed down to a full spread at breakfast, eggs, bacon rashers, sausage, biscuits, fruit, tea – the works! After some polite small talk, gorging our faces and sneaking some fruit and rolls into our bags we began our journey! Within the Ring of Kerry there is a separate ring called the Skellig Ring, Marian told us that not many buses took this particular part of the tour because the roads really were not made for tour buses but not to worry cause Tommy boy had been driving these roads for years!
Our first stop was Valentia Island, this is where the speaker from the previous night lived. It was a small island that had made the switch from ferry transport to a bridge somewhere in the 60s and where life was gorgeous and quaint, this is also the location of the transatlantic cable crossing so that Europe would be connected to the States.
After that stop we headed up to the Geokan Mountains and the Fogher Cliffs which are a main attraction on the island and just so happen to be owned by the man who gave us our talk last night. When we got there was had the choice of playing with some baby cows or just going ahead to see the mountain, coming from Frederick I decided to go with the more exotic of the two and I went hiking, and hiking it was. Now, I’m not proud of the fact that getting up this mountain was struggle city but I wasn’t the only one with issues! Buddy and I meandered up the mountain, taking plenty of stops to talk to the sheep and enjoy the varying views. Here’s some from the middle level on the cliff.
We didn’t make it all of the way to the top of the mountain because we got distracted by a certain rock, and by making certain reenactment videos to accompany said rock….
Since we only had about an hour here we decided to go see the cliffs. Now when I first got to the outlook for the cliffs I though nothing of it, it merely looked like more of the same. But then I saw a little pathway and decided to venture to the end of it and how thrilled I am that I actually did.
After this breathtaking view we headed back to the edge of the island to go to the Skellig Experience Centre. This was a cute little building that had all information about the area and we got to watch the owner’s daughter give us a little sean nos dance! Her outfit was adorable and looked reaaaally expensive! After picking up some chocolate (to sustain us for the rest of the tour of course!) we headed out to Ballingskelligs Beach and Castle, this may have been one of my favorite spots! The second we parked the clouds parted and the sun came out! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
After the beach we headed back for the hearty lunch of salad and rolls and tea!!!!! After a short break we headed out on a trip to see the Cahergal Stone Forts. While the views from the forts were the best parts everyone seemed preoccupied with the sheep and the field burnings. I’ve been to a field burning before and can attest to their coolness up close but we were at least a mile from it which attributed to its diminished coolness, that and the fact that we also burn fields at home. Here are some forts!
Now on our way back from the forts our guide Maura (who was Marian’s cousin I think… or her sister…) told us of another castle we could visit, one that was said to be the most romantic castle in all of Europe (or Ireland, I’m embellishing now, I am nothing if not my mother’s daughter!). Everyone was pretty excited to see this castle after we learned it was used in the film “Leap Year”. (that part where its raining and they’re at the castle, yup, that is this castle!) So it looks like everyone is going to go on this adventure until Maura tells us that it is a 2 and a half mile walk back to town from the site. Of course my friends and I, only about 7 people in all, decided to go see this beauty! The walk there and back was treacherous and we did have to climb under some fences which made us feel like criminals but it was a nice view!
After the castle we laid in our beds for an hour just trying to recuperate from the days journey before dinner. Dinner was delicious, I had some chicken curry and a scrumptious brownie for dessert! After dinner we all had a talk from a local Gaelic Footballer about how the sport has changed and he and his son gave us a bit of a demonstration. After that we had a fun Trivia Match with the rest of the folks on our trip, which we were close to winning!!!! (though I am still proud that we got Kiss by Prince, I think we were like one of the only groups to get it!) After trivia we decided to go out with our friends to a local pub, which honestly was “let’s just walk into the first pub we see!” That night was a blast! We made nice with the bartender and the locals, and all got to know more of the people on the trip with us. The night ended late and the next day started early and I think I knew it was going to be a little rough.