Another cloudy/rainy/foggy Irish day. I got an early start so that I could beat the masses and tour buses on the Ring of Kerry. I wish I could say I loved it. Maybe it was the solitude and beauty I experienced “off the beaten path” the last couple of days. Maybe the weather was to blame. Either way, it wasn’t my favorite day of vacation.
But there were some bright spots to the otherwise dreary day. I spent about an hour and a half exploring Ballycarbery Castle and the two nearby stone forts. The castle dates to the 1500s and stands high in a field overlooking the river Fertha. You can look into the first floor rooms, but the fun (at least for me) was climbing up the narrow stone steps at the back and exploring the rooms above the main floor. The fact that these old ruins are just sitting there and that you can just drive up and start exploring continues to amaze me!
I almost returned to the main road after visiting the castle, but decided to check out the two stone forts not far down the road. There is a small car park and then it is about 1/4 of a mile from there to Leacanabuile stone fort. This one consists of several “rooms” and some small chambers built into the walls. It was built in the 9th or 10th century as a protected farmstead of a wealthy landowner. I wish I was a little smaller and could fit into the hidden chambers! I went back to the car park and took the other fork to explore Cahergall stone fort. This fort was built about 600AD by someone of importance (due to its prominence and defenses) has a series of stone steps built precariously into the walls. I loved climbing up and down to see the different views!
After leaving the forts, the weather turned a bit drizzly, so the rest of the day was basically a wash (pun intended!). I took the car ferry to Valentia Island and then drove around the Skellig Ring. The highlight was a stop at the Skelligs Chocolate Factory for some chocolate tasting. I ended up with a bag of salted caramel truffles and some chocolate honeycomb. The roads were really fogged in, and I was following a whole line of cars attempting to maneuver around the oncoming traffic. I decided to call it a day and took the more direct route back to Killarney from Sneem. Tomorrow I’m sticking closer to “home” to explore more of Killarney National Park.