If there is one theme of today’s post, it’s green! Ireland was by far the greenest place we’ve ever visited, as we expected it to be, but the deep viridescent shades still shocked us throughout the trip. The landscapes are also strikingly gorgeous, whether we had blue skies and sunshine or overcast and dreary, they were as dramatic as depicted in pictures we had seen before visiting. It’s hard not to want to get out of the car every few minutes to wander down a curious path or follow a river to see where it goes.
Our hotel in Kerry (Sheen Falls near Kenmare) was properly situated for exploring this beautiful area of Ireland. We’d wanted to tack on the Gap of Dunloe onto our Ring of Kerry excursion day (post still to come), but we exhausted all of our time and energy earlier in the day. So, we packed up the car a bit earlier the next morning and set off through the mountain pass destined for the Gap of Dunloe. The drive up was beautiful, but once we reached the summit and took in the view below, we were awestruck.
The Gap Of Dunloe (located in Killarney National Park) is a mountain valley that was carved out by glaciers 2 million years ago. Left in the valley are 5 lakes at varying altitudes with steady streams between them. Staring down the Gap we noticed a horse drawn carriage called a trap, carrying 4 people up the hill. One after another followed, which made the navigation of the one car wide road a bit difficult to say the least!
Many visitors that make it to the southwest of Ireland often find themselves with the choice of spending a day driving the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula. Unable to decide between the two we did the Ring of Kerry one day and the Dingle Peninsula the next day. Dingle was one of our favorite towns we visited and it’s easy to see why! We loved walking through the colorful, windy streets where we stopped at one of the many fish & chips spots for lunch, followed by ice cream at Murphy’s (a must!). We could have spent a few hours just popping into different stores (we did stop in a delicious candy store/bakery for sweets for the road) and exploring the town, but we were quickly off to the next stop.
If I’m going to suggest one item to bring to Ireland, it would be Hunter boots! I love my Hunter boots and wear them all the time. My first pair were the Original Tall but on our trip to Alaska last year, Carly completely sold me on the Tour style. I’ve talked about them on the blog before, but they’re so great for traveling because they’re lighter and packable, which also makes them more ideal for wearing all day.
If you make it to the Gap of Dunloe you’re bound to come across the Wishing Bridge, a gorgeous stone bridge that crosses a stream. The bridge is appropriately named as it’s said that wishes made on the bridge are bound to come true!
We made it to some cliffs near Dunquin (seen above) when we were looking for a particular spot but couldn’t find it. That’s the great thing about Ireland, if we were looking for something but fell short, there was always something else waiting in our path. We finished our full day with a few more hours of driving, eventually making it to Gregan’s Castle Hotel, our beautiful hotel near the Cliffs of Moher, which I’ll be sharing more of soon!