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The Wild West Coast of Ireland

Updated on January 20, 2016

The Atlantic Coast of Ireland.

Scarrif on the West Coast of Ireland.
Scarrif on the West Coast of Ireland.

The Wild West Coast of Ireland.

Co. Kerry, Ireland

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The Kingdom Of Kerry.

Magic in the Ring of Kerry

The 'Kingdom of Kerry' is in the far South-West of Ireland, overlooking the Atlantic Coast. It is a wild and desolate area reminiscent of the Ireland of a hundred years ago. Land of the potato famine, the leprechaun and rugged vistas that stretch beyond the horizon. County Kerry is the home of legends old and new.

Travelling the 'Ring of Kerry', a circular route that encompasses the true spirit of an ancient land, leaves the explorer with a true feeling of having been a time-traveller. The ancient mountains, lakes and islands echo the history of the island of Ireland.

From Scarriff, 160 years ago, thousands of people fled Ireland and the terrible famine caused by the potato blight. Potatoes were the staple diet then and crop failures forced the hungry to emigrate to find a new life. It is from Scarriff that they left on 'coffin-ships' for the opportunities offered in America and Canada. They were called coffin-ships because so many died en route to North America, having been weakened by years of malnourishment.

Emigration left Kerry and indeed the whole of the Country severely depopulated. The population of Ireland is still only just over half of what it was at its height.

The 'Ring of Kerry' has hardly changed since those hard days in the century before last. As you travel the 'Ring' you will see abandoned cottages that have been ravaged by the weather since their last inhabitants left 160 years ago. Roofless stone skeletons, a reminder of its desolate past. However, Kerry is not a depressing place. It is a spot in the world that has the most jaw-dropping scenery. The wild Atlantic coastline is backdropped by the most rugged mountains in the country. The lakes reflect the ever-changing sky. It is said that in this area you can get all four seasons in one day and that is the perfect truth of this wonderful area.

The 'Ring of Kerry' route starts in Tralee (famous for the Rose of Tralee Festival) and travels in an anti-clockwise direction to Killarney. It has to be done in an anti-clockwise direction because the roads are so small and winding in parts that two vehicles cannot pass in opposite directions, so take heed of that tip, especially if you are following a sat-nav as they don't always get this bit right!

You will pass the town of Kilorglin, famous for its Puck Fair, when a goat is crowned King Puck, in memory of the goat that bleated a warning to the inhabitants of the town of the approaching Cromwellian army.

You will drive through the town where Charlie Chaplin spent his summers to escape his hoard of fans, in fact his family still own a house in this area.

You can stop for lunch overlooking the Atlantic, with the next stop being Newfoundland far across the sea to the west, before continuing on the route taken by Queen Victoria through the mountains to Killarney. This route will take you through the lands of the legendary Leprechauns, seldom spotted but none the less famous for that!

You will end up in Killarney and its beautiful lakes. The end of a long but breath-taking journey through the land that time forgot.

The photos explain more than I can in words. I am a tour guide in Ireland and the United Kingdom and I have shown these stunning vistas to countless amazed visitors. If you would like to hire a private tour guide, I can be contacted at Many airlines fly here, often with great deals on flights. The nearest international airports to the Ring of Kerry are Shannon or Cork airports. Just remember that the rainy season in Ireland is from January to December! You may get lucky but what ever the weather Ireland offers a fantastic experience, with the scenery changing as often as the weather.

I hope to show you all of this first-hand some time.

The Kingdom of Kerry


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    • whizzer profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for the comment Simone, Ireland is truly stunning with so many variations of scenery for such a small country. If you are ever planning a visit, let me know!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, how beautiful! I'd love to visit someday.


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