County Kerry and County Clare, Ireland

Muckross Abbey
On our way to Dingle, we stopped in Killarney.  Starting at the outskirts of town is the Killarney National Park which offers a number of trails of varying difficulty and lengths.  We started with a shorter trail from the Muckross Abbey which was built in the 15th century.  The wooded path was one of the most beautiful walks ever, and you could almost envision the little Irish fairies flitting around at dusk.  Our trail led to the Muckross House and Gardens completed in 1843.  For visitors not wanting to walk in the park, there are a number of horse and carriage tours available (25 euros for 30 minutes).  After a picnic lunch, we moved on to Dingle.

Inch Beach
We stopped at Inch Beach, a 3-mile long beach popular for surfing, walking, and for
heartier souls, for swimming.  Driving is allowed on the beach, but the RV in front of us got stuck when they changed their mind midway at the sandy entrance, so we settled for an overview from above.

After checking into our room in Dingle, we headed out for the drive on the Slea Head Loop.  This 26-mile trip provides gorgeous views
Along Slea Loop
of the coast and provides access to a number of ancient archeological sites.  Beehive huts thought to have originated as far back as 2000 BC are found here, along with ancient Irish Celtic Stone Settlements from the Iron Age dating from 500 BC to 500 AD.  Making the drive at the end of the day meant there were few other vehicles on the road which allowed us to stop for photos at the handful of small parking areas on the loop.

On our departure from town the next day,  heavy fog/cloud cover in the mountains helped us determine our route.  Conor Pass is considered one of the most spectacular drives anywhere, but it is also a very narrow and potentially dangerous road that at times requires cars to back up to allow for oncoming vehicles.  Since the views would probably not be seen anyway, we decided to take the other road out of town, which was less harrowing and a lovely bucolic drive.

Cliffs of Moher
We were bound for Doolin, renowned internationally for traditional Irish music.  On our way, we stopped to visit the Cliffs of Moher.  The Cliffs are the most visited natural attraction in Ireland, and our midday visit found the large parking lot full.  This spot has been a popular attraction for over 150 years.  At the center of the North Platform, O'Brien's Tower was constructed back in 1835 to provide a superior viewing point for visitors.  The entire cliff walk begins in Doolin and continues for 11 miles and is considered a "challenging and demanding" trail.  But with high gusts, we weren't tempted to wander too far from the main platforms.  Luckily, the skies were clear and the views were phenomenal.

On our arrival in Doolin, we checked into our B&B and then went out to walk around the small town, but rain and high winds restricted our exploring.  According to local sources, Doolin has more musicians per square mile than anywhere else in the world.  Live music is available nightly from March to October at the town's four pubs.  The village also hosts two Celtic music festivals a year, one in February and another in June.  The host at our B&B recommended McGann's as having the best food and music, so that is where we headed for dinner.  We were not disappointed in either regard, both were excellent.  It was a perfect ending for our trip.

Driving across Ireland back to Dublin the next day, we caught an evening flight to London's Heathrow and then the following day a flight from London's Gatwick to the U.S.  This journey has been one of our most varied and there were many incredible experiences, but it is now time to return home for awhile.  Undoubtedly, the road will be calling us again soon.
On Slea Loop
Entertainers at McGann's Pub
Muckross House
Where the Fairies play 
Muckross Lake
On Slea Loop

Celtic Stone Settlement from the Iron Age
O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Mother
Along Slea Loop
At Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher 
Cliffs of Moher
Church ruins in Doolin
Overview of Doolin from the edge of town
Beehive hut said to be from 2000 BC

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