I was going to do one comprehensive guide to Ireland, but then I was going through my photos and decided there were too many to fit in one post! So I’ve split it up into sections and will be sharing them one by one.
Finally: County Kerry.
Kerry is on the western coast of Ireland and has an absolutely stunning coastal road. A new venture in tourism, the Wild Atlantic Way extends from Northern Ireland all the way down the western coast to Cork. We traveled the Wild Atlantic Way all the way from Galway to Killarney and to Dingle and back. It was so beautiful that we’ve vowed to go back, only next time with hiking packs, since there are some beautiful mountains in County Kerry, believe it or not.
We stayed at a great B&B in Killarney called Abbey Lodge. I would highly recommend it, as it’s located just a few minutes walk from downtown.
There are some fabulous restaurants in Killarney. Bricin is located above a gift shop and featured not only beautiful décor but had incredible food, including boxty, a traditional Irish dish.
We also went to the Danny Mann Pub twice, once for food and another just for drinks. We played pool and took pictures with the cool green telephone booth! Again, great food and great atmosphere.
A short hour drive from Killarney, Dingle is my newfound favorite Irish town (just don’t tell Galway). There is a “craft walk” that moseys through the down, highlight local craft stores and coffee shops. The entire town in crazy picturesque.
While you’re there, make sure you get tickets to see Fungie the Dingle Dolphin! Lest you be misled, like I was, the dolphin’s name is not pronounced like fungi, what we call mushrooms. It’s “fun-gee.” Not the same. My bad. And he is an actual dolphin living in the harbor.
Anyway, tickets to see Fungi sell out quickly, especially when it’s a gorgeous day like it was when we were there. There are a number of companies that take you out, so make sure you do. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled when we first started, but after we spotted Fungi a couple of times, I definitely got into it. And it got so much better when he was literally beside our boat! Serious geek out moment.
Since it was such a nice day, we had to get some Murphy’s ice cream. Flavor options include caramelized brown bread, Dingle gin, real rum raisin, Irish coffee and more. Yum!
Lunch was at Paudie’s Bar in the Dingle Bay Hotel. I had an open-face crab sandwich that was killer! Irish seafood is spot on, since the ocean is so close no matter where you are.
The Dingle Brewing Company is a new craft brewery in Dingle that brews Crean’s Lager. Their namesake is Tom Crean, an Antarctic explorer. The beer is delicious, and I wish you could find it over here (it is available in Boston, so if you’re ever over there, keep your eyes peeled!).
And no trip to Ireland would be complete without a trip to the Blarney Castle. Legend has it that kissing the Blarney stone will give you the gift of the gab. And the castle grounds are beautiful, so it’s a definite must.
Near the castle is the Blarney Woolen Mill, full of gorgeous Irish blankets, scarves, jumpers (aka sweaters) and Waterford crystal. It’s a great place to wander and dream.
There you have it! Though not inclusive by any means, I do believe that this trip offered us the best of both worlds: plenty of tourism but lots of special family time spent at local places. If you ever find yourself on your way to the Emerald Isle, let me know and I’ll hook you up with some wonderful people and places.