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Expert Advice

London, Canada
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Expert Advice

My wife and I will be arriving at the Shannon airport in just over a week for our 25'th anniversary. We will be spending five days in Dingle, five in Kenmare, and then wending our way via Cashel to overnight in Kilkenny. Finally we will stay by the Dublin airport before heading home, leaving Dublin itself for another trip.

I have been quietly lurking on these forums for the past few months gathering invaluable information for this trip. So thank to all the experts and travellers for the sharing of their knowledge about everything from the weasel of Gallarus to the slightly aggressive jaunty drivers of Dunloe.

Our plan is to do all of the "usual" things on the DIngle peninsula (other than Fungi perhaps......), the ROK, Killarney and the Beara peninsula in our ten days. I was just wondering if by chance we run out of things to do (!!!) whether the Kerry experts have any slightly off the beaten track "secret" places or activities that they would recommend that haven't been discussed over the past few months. Or any advice for the drive back to Dublin.

If not, thanks again for all of your unsuspecting help in making this a trip to remember.

Cork, Ireland
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1. Re: Expert Advice

Wow travellingD, 5 days in each place - perfect, lots of time to see loads of places.

I'm sure Skellig Michael is on your itinerary, if not you should seriously consider it. Read my review of it and see if it is something you both can cope with i.e. the boat journey and the climb to the oratory.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g186610-d618…

While in this area and if you have some time when you are in Cahersiveen, drive to Coonanna harbour, just a few miles from the town. It's a beautiful little place, just one house there and you can paddle (or swim !!) very safely in the crystal waters of the harbour. Nearby the locals have set up a stations of the cross up to Knocknadobar mountain. If you trek up even for just a little while following the crosses, you will very quickly begin to see views like this:

tripadvisor.com/…17128205

Now if you are doing the Beara Pen. and you come across signs for Lough Fadda, keep driving until you find a spot called Hags Beara. It is actually signposted but is just a spot by the side of the road. You jump over the fence and you can sit for as long as you like on the grass or rocks and get to see views like this:

tripadvisor.com/…17102883

Make sure you have a picnic organised for here. Don't worry if you don't find the spot, as there are plenty of places like it.

When I was there, I walked down through the fields and had a swim in one of the little inlets.

Try hard to fit the Sheeps Head Pen into your itinerary. This is not in County Kerry, but in West Cork (same as Beara). It's the peninsula below Beara. It is wonderful. You can drive quite a distance out towards the end of this pen and then trek about half mile to the tip. This pen. is so narrow in places that at times you can see both Dunmanus Bay to the South and Bantry Bay to the north

as you walk towards the tip. At the tip you are rewarded with a place to sit and mull over life and splendid views of the Atlantic.

tripadvisor.com/…1901273

I would highly recommend this place to you. On the way back from the tip there is a pub beside the church in Kilcrohane, you have to see this place to believe it. They use the beer barrels as chairs, the TV is held aloft by pieces of baling twine and there is a peat fire always burning. Eileen looks after this place and she is very welcoming. If you are hungry then you could ask the lady in Bridgeview House, nearby if she will cook you an evening meal. She runs a B&B here but also provides great evening meals for non residents.

Still on the peninsula and in the village of Ahakista is the Air India Memorial garden - a really lovely quiet and spiritual place. A must stop-and-see if you are in the area. It's a small area on the waterfront dedicated to all those who died in 1985. Not a sad place at all, just very peaceful.

Cork, Ireland
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2. Re: Expert Advice

Apologies, here is the pic I meant to post for Hags Beara on the Beara Pen.

tripadvisor.com/…17098138

Beautiful isn't it?

Cork, Ireland
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3. Re: Expert Advice

and here's a link to Bridge View House. Ann Donegan is the lady's name. Lovely person.

bridgeviewhouse.com/bantry-bed-breakfast.html

London, Canada
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4. Re: Expert Advice

Bryno

Thank you for your wonderful recommendations ...and your pictures! Exactly what I was looking for. But will you guarantee sunshine when we are there?

Yes I am planning on Skellig (also awaiting Tonyirish's review!) but thought I would book it once we get to Dingle. Or would that be leaving it too late given the tourist season is upon us?

Would the Sheep's Head Pen be a full day trip? And is it different from Beara?

Thanks again.

Kenmare, Ireland
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5. Re: Expert Advice

Hi travellingdoc-7. here are another couple of interestings to do, on 3rd August there is a regatta at Ahakista which is great fun there is another one on in Castletownbere on the 4th which is a bank holiday here and there will be a funfair and lots of craic all day. On the 15th August there is a traditional fair in Kenmare and it is the the best day of the year in town then, lots of things to buy from a donkey to a duck and lots of entertainment.

Cork, Ireland
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6. Re: Expert Advice

"Or would that be leaving it too late given the tourist season is upon us"

You will not be leaving it too late to book Skellig Michael when you get to Dingle, but do phone one of the boatmen a day or more before you leave. Tell them what day you intend to go there and make sure they know your name. It's all very informal which in one way is very quaint but in another is a bit chaotic. If any trouble with it contact me via TA when you are here. I recommend you go from Portmagee pier as the boat journey is much shorter (45 mins)

"Would the Sheep's Head Pen be a full day trip? And is it different from Beara?"

No, not necessarily a full day, but it depends where you are when you start. For example if you begin from Bantry town you are talking about half a day.

It's a beautiful peninsula, it is different from the point of view that it is much narrower and I think the views are really spectacular, but I would not like you to forego your Beara trip just to fit both pens into one day. The problem is that Beara is really a full day not leaving you a lot of time to move on to Sheeps head. There will still be enough light at 9:30pm when you are here. So, if you are finished Beara and anywhere near Glengarriff at 6pm, you could consider driving on to Sheeps head. It would mean driving back to Kenmare in the dark though.

The main thing is not to rush everything just to try and fit it in.

kerry
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7. Re: Expert Advice

Now I'm not suggesting you NEED a good wash, but how about a trip to the famed Ballybunion seaweed baths in North Kerry? For €20 you get your own bathroom and bath full of seaweed. OK, so maybe it's not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary but if you brought a bottle of champagne along with you...?

http://www.cliffhousehotel.com/local_2.php

If you'd prefer a treat closer to Dingle, maybe a meal at The Old Pier in Ballydavid, half an hour west of Dingle town, would be more appropriate. This guesthouse overlooks the ocean with views from the dining room to die for. The menu is primarily seafood and can't be beaten:

http://www.oldpier.com/

The portions are MASSIVE so turn up with an empty stomach.

If you do over-indulge at the dinner table, then you'll be looking to do a good walk the following day. There's a new, way-posted walk out at Dunquin which takes one hour to do. It's marked by black stakes with a green walking man and the words 'Súilóid na Cille' on them. If you park at the Blasket Centre, then walk back to the main Slea Head road and turn left, you'll find the first marker a few minutes' walk further on. The walk veers off road, taking you past St. Gobnait's Holy Well (sounds like something from an episode of Father Ted) before skirting round the schoolhouse used in the film 'Ryan's Daughter'. You follow the route along the cliffs from where you have great views out to the Blaskets...keep your eyes peeled along this stretch of the route as minke whales and basking sharks have been sighted out to sea recently. Next you strike uphill, crossing the main Slea Head road as you go before rambling cross country in a circle which takes you back to your car.

Cork, Ireland
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8. Re: Expert Advice

Timbo, I'm interested in that Kenmare festival you mentioned on the 15th which is a Friday. Does it go on for all of that weekend by any chance?

Kenmare, Ireland
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9. Re: Expert Advice

Bryno, this is one of the old fair days and because its on a friday this year Kenmare should be buzzing. It can be great craic with all the Kenmare people who live elsewhere coming home for this week for their holiday. There will be all types of stalls and the market will be in full swing by about 11 am. The traffic for these couple of days can be chaotic so come early and stay late.

if you want to know more please send me private message...

regards...Timbo....

London, Canada
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10. Re: Expert Advice

Thanks Nestav

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. How else would one hear about a seaweed bath option (famed no less!) at Ballybunion except at TA. Seriously though I'm at a bit of a loss to understand exactly what it is, even after going to their site. Is it simply a giant bath tub with salt water and kelp? Does it fit two!? Do you have a view of the ocean?

Thanks also timbo01, but as we are arriving the Sunday of that weekend I think I will be lucky just to drive to Dingle safely! And we leave Kenmare a few days before their festival unfortunately. (Plus I don't think Canadian customs would let me bring a donkey back....interesting souvenir though )