I continued to work my way north along the Wild Atlantic Way coastal drive and with each hair raising bend and narrow road I began to fall more in love with the Irish culture and history. This week I crossed 2 counties, County Kerry and County Clare, and took the time to slow down, get out of the car for a bit, and use my own two feet to finally do some walking in Ireland.
I think any good road trip needs to have a mix of driving and activities else you stop really ‘seeing’ things; your eyes get used to simply scanning the road at 50 mph and our brain tunes out the rest. Oh – and your ass gets really sore. I got in touch with Ireland Walk Hike Bike, a local adventure operator along the Wild Atlantic Way, and I was able to get to places off the tourist map as well as learn an immense amount about the history and culture of the area. I went out with them in Killarney and on the Dingle Peninsula and it was so nice to be the passenger for a bit and just soak in knowledge. They took me on little hikes around the area, parks, secret photo spots, crumbling Abbeys, old movie sets, and waterfalls. We braved high winds, and pelting rain, and Linda even held onto me while I inched to the edge and took a picture with gale force winds trying to blow me away!
Then they equipped me with maps, B&B reservations, detailed hiking instructions, and sent me further north on my own to see and hike around the Burren, an other-worldly limestone landscape. I did a 14 km self-guided hike while the rain and wind lined up like planes taking off on a runway and then would come rolling across my path in intervals. I was reminded once again that nothing brings you closer to a culture and feeling of a country than walking through it through the good times and bad weather. And the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a hard day is you get to bask in the glow of satisfaction – and treat yourself to a Guinness at the local pub.
Everything started to really come together this week – the land, people, history, and culture. I can hardly wait to see what next week brings on the road!
The #wildatlanticway lived up to its name today as I was nearly blown off the Kerry cliffs! The blue Atlantic waters below crashed against the coast violently as I held on to the railing!
Take a seat. Walking around Muckross Gardens w @southwestwalks – after the rain the colors come out in full force!
Oh Ireland – I even love you when you rain all day. Scenic lookout in Killarney
A home made for the displaced people of the Blasket Islands. Blasket Islands are pictured in the background. W @southwestwalksI
The road to the sea – not for the faint of heart! This winding sea road was the way to the dock and a landing spot for the people living on the Blasket Islands. Never would have found Dunquin Peir without the help of @southwestwalksI
The Cliffs of Moher at sunset. And I finally learned how to pronounce Moher correctly (it’s not more) thanks to the locals! I did a fabulous 6km hike from the cliffs to the town of Doolin – a great way to get beyond the tourist views!
Doing a self guided walk on the Burren from @southwestwalksi – & staying dry w @exofficio
Stone walls of Ireland fascinate me. I wonder how long some have been around? They use the limestone rocks from the Burren and stack them into fences that run throughout the landscape ensuring that no cows or bulls came charging after me today while I was hiking! They make the Ireland landscape look like a beautiful patchwork quilt.
Which way should I go?! Sightseeing w @southwestwalksi today around Ballyvaughn!
The Burren’s famous Poulnabrone (Portal Tomb) dating back to 3800BC. The capstone alone weighs 1.5 tons- begging the obvious question – how did they do that?!