Today we had no plan. It was meant to be our big adventure to Skellig. We decided instead to take the driving route called The Ring of Skellig, which later rejoins the Ring of Kerry which in turn would take us homewards back to Killarney. And we would stop and walk as the mood took us along the route.
Our first stop proclaimed itself as the best cliffs in Kerry. We parked and paid the entrance fee; we were a little sceptical but to be fair it ended up being a pretty impressive trail. It wasn’t a really long walk, only a few kilometres but it was really steep in places. The owners had made great paths along the cliffs with very secure fencing, which was just as well as we got very close to the edge at times.
It was a glorious morning, as always the wind was blowing, but the sky was blue-ish and the sun shone and all the while, as we walked, Skellig Micheal gleamed back in a calm sea. We would definitely have been able to land today if the rockslide hadn’t closed the island.
We returned to the car and continued along the coast. We stopped wherever road signs suggested there was something to see. Its actually a pretty good system; there are signs for the Ring of Kerry, the Ring of Skellig and the Wild Atlantic Way. We decided that if there are at least two of these and a brown “tourist” sign then it’s definitely worth stopping.
One such place took us to a car park and beyond to a huge huge bay. We walked to one end of the bay to view an old Abbey. Very little remains of the Abbey but the views were good. Then we walked back and around the shoreline, dodging jellyfish (we’ve seen lots on the beaches so I guess this is pretty common in Ireland). The sand is soft and golden and the sweep of the bay just went on for miles. It is well protected from the Atlantic by the smattering of islands and it was just glorious. We could have stayed for much longer but time was pressing so after a long walk along the sea shore we returned to the car.
More driving, more stopping, more strolling. Today has been all about green hills rolling down to grey cliffs or golden beaches or a blue sea under an even paler blue sky. And if not walking along deserted sandy beaches we’ve been driving through country lanes lined with great froths of white daisies or yellow buttercups. It feels like Ireland might live in the permanent state of Spring. It was another glorious day. It wasn’t the day we planned but it turned out to be a glorious alternative that we would have never seen. What lucky retirees we are.