SCENIC DRIVE AROUND THE SKELLIG RING
Take in the sights of the stunning coastline and rolling countryside – incorporating Valentia Island, Portmagee, Coomanaspig Pass, and the beautiful beaches at St Finians Bay and Ballingskelligs.
At the far west of the Iveragh Peninsula – half way round the famous Ring of Kerry – you feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world. This is the Skellig Coast.
Out to sea, two jagged crags – Oileáin na Scealga – rise out of the Atlantic: Little Skellig, home to one of the largest seabird colonies in the world, and Skellig Michael, an extraordinary, far-flung place of pilgrimage – one of the wonders of the world.
The whole Skellig Coast is inspiring and energising. The coastal route, the Skellig Ring, takes you off down narrow lanes into the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region), through tiny ports and villages. You may find yourself climbing steep cliff roads, wind-buffeted above crashing seas. Or strolling along a wide sandy beach. In the distance, golden sunlight shines onto the rugged peaks of Iveragh and Dingle. The weather sweeps in off the Atlantic and through, followed by the widest of rainbows.
There’s a wide arc of history too, from the Tetrapod tracks on the shores of Valentia Island – the earliest fossil footprints in the world, to the nearby site of the first Transatlantic Cable, and from Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace at Cahersiveen and home at Derrynane National Park, to memories of Charlie Chaplin, who loved to holiday in Waterville.
You can really get to know people here. There are small family-run businesses: pubs with peat fires and traditional music sessions, bed and breakfasts, restaurants with rooms, and local food producers – from artisan chocolate to some of the best seafood in Ireland.
It’s surprisingly easy to be drawn off-the-beaten track, and lose yourself down byways. But if you do get lost – no matter. You’ll want to stay, take your time, and discover this place for yourself.