Ireland: Portmagee/Kerry

We planned to do two boat tours on our next day in both Dingle and Portmagee, but the weather had other plans for us. Day three was definitely our worst for weather, it misted on us continuously and was extremely windy. We planned on taking a tour around the Dingle Bay in hopes of seeing Great Blasket Island and all of the seals that live there. Our tour was canceled since the weather was so bad, so Connor and I decided we might as well start our journey to our next stop, Portmagee.

 I picked Portmagee as one of our destinations because I wanted to take a boat tour to Skellig Michael, an extremely rocky island where monks built beehive-like huts as far back as the 6th century.  Since we knew the tour was going to be canceled for the day, we decided to drive half of the Ring of Kerry and see what fun things we could find. Our first stop was Inch Beach, a beach right outside of Dingle. I could image this spot being very popular on nice, sunny days, but today there was hardly anyone out except for a few brave surfers.
After braving the extremely strong winds at the beach, Connor and I brushed off our sandy boots and continued the Ring of Kerry. We headed south, counterclockwise around southern Ireland, and eventually came upon the town of Cahersiveen. Connor recognized the large church in the center of town and told me he actually spent a night there last summer, and that is was a great place to stop. 
We stopped for lunch at a small cafe in town, then spent a few hours exploring the city. Since Connor knew the town, he led us to a few spots that he wanted to check out. We first walked over to the water and saw The Old Barracks which used to house the Royal Irish Police Force in the late 1800s. We then walked around the O'Connell Memorial Church, then headed to the outskirts of town to see the ring forts. 
 We pulled up to the parking lot for the ring forts which sat directly next to a large pasture filled with sheep. I was actually more excited to see the sheet than to climb the hill leading to the forts. I could've sat there for hours watching them. However, after snapping probably hundreds of pictures of the sheep, Connor and I headed up the hill to see the both the Cahergal and Leacanabuaile forts. The forts were built in the 9th or 10th century, and you can still see the rows of stones that were laid out one on top of the other to form the walls. We climbed up to the flat tops of the forts where we were able catch a great view Ballycarbery Castle and all the way to the water, despite the foggy, misty weather.
After we finished exploring Cahersiveen, we piled back in the car and headed to our final destination for the day, Portmagee. Since our boat plans didn't work out, we decided to head to the Kerry Cliffs instead. I have to say, I'm very glad our plans changed because the Kerry Cliffs were probably my favorite spot in Ireland. The cliffs stand over 1,000 feet above the water (in comparison, the Cliffs of Moher are 700 feet at their tallest), and only a small, flimsy fence separates you from the edge. I was actually very nervous looking over the edge down at the splashing water, but the view made it completely worth it. We actually walked up to the very top where a slab on concrete was laid over one of the peeks jetting out over the water. It's extremely high and windy, but unlike anything I've ever seen before. You could actually see the Skellig Islands, including Skellig Michael, pointing out from the water in the distance

After walking up and down the cliffs, Connor and I decided to head to Valentia Island, right off of Portmagee, for dinner. This part of the county was very quiet compared to most of the other more touristy cities we had visited. In fact, we had a hard time finding a place to eat dinner because almost everything was closed. We managed to find a hotel, Royal Valentia, that had a restaurant open. We knew we had some time to kill, so we took our time ordering drinks, appetizers, and finally dinner.
The sun was setting as we finished up dinner, so Connor and I decided to drive to a point overlooking the water where we could see the sun set. We watched the sun dip below the green pastures and small farmhouses, then headed back to Portmagee. Of course no drive we be complete without stopping to see some farm animals, and this one was no different. We stopped on the side of the road to visit a friendly pony, then headed to a local pub in Portmagee for music and a pint of Guinness before finally calling it a night. 

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