I hope you all had a great week. This week on our trips around Ireland, we have arrived in the truly magical Kingdom of Kerry. This county really has it all-Ireland’s highest mountains, stunning beaches and majestic lakes. I could write about this place for weeks as there is so much to discover. We could spend all our time visiting the beaches alone! For now, I’m going to pick out some of the highlights but I have a feeling we’ll be returning here very soon.
Killarney National Park
A stones throw from the hustle and bustle of Killarney town begins the 26,000 acres that forms Killarney National Park. The landscape here is mesmerizing with it’s combination of lush woodland, waterfalls and the enchanting Killarney Lakes.
All of this nestles at the foot of rugged mountain ranges, including MacGillycuddy’s Reeks which boasts Ireland’s highest mountain, Carantoohil standing majestically at 3400 feet.
Muckross House and Gardens
At the heart of Killarney National Park stands Muckross House and Gardens. This is a gorgeous place to visit with guided tours of this stunning 19th century Victorian mansion. The gardens are exquisite and include the Sunken Garden, the Rock Garden and my personal favorite, the Stream Garden. There’s also another reason to come to Muckross House; it is the home of Mucros Weavers who have been continuing the age old weaving tradition for the past 30 years. Their stunning range of accessories and Irish flat caps form part of The Irish Store collection and are hugely popular, especially the Trinity flat cap below.
The classic Irish look-don’t you agree?
The Ring of Kerry
Of course this 179km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula deserves a blog all to itself and I’m sure we’ll be back here to explore it in greater detail. One of Ireland’s most popular destinations, it really is a wonderful place. Here’s my top three things to see;
The Gap of Dunloe
This stunning mountain pass runs between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple mountain and is truly breathtaking. This part of the country also contains a wealth of Ireland’s ancient heritage where you can see Iron Age forts, monasteries and Ogham standing stones.
Ogham script is Ireland oldest form of writing and inspires Irish art works to this day. At The Irish Store we have a stunning range of Ogham gifts on offer, hand painted by the talented Ethel Kelly at her studio in Knockcroghery in County Roscommon.
To choose a favorite beach in this part of the world is an almost impossible task but Derrynane beach near of the village Caherdaniel is truly stunning. We love it so much here at The Irish Store that we named one of our Summer collection Aran cardigans after it.
The Derrynane cardigan is perfect for a walk on an Irish beach and I just love this shade of blue!
No visit to the Ring of Kerry would be complete without a trip to see the Skelligs and a boat ride to Skellig Michael. Here, you really feel like you’re on the edge of the world. The ancient monastic settlement is incredibly preserved. No humans have lived here since the monks left in 1100 who even escaped the ravages of the Vikings. Maybe someone was looking down on them! Now the birds have taken over, especially the puffins in Spring. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A truly special part of the world.
The Dingle Peninsula
Our final stop is the Dingle Peninsula, the Irish mainland’s most westerly point and one of the many jewels in Kerry’s crown. Overlooked by the mighty mount Brandon, this beautiful part of the county meets the Atlantic Ocean in spectacular fashion. Dingle is also a haven for Irish artisans and craftspeople. I love the work of Irish artist Ken Bolger who has a studio here. His sculptures are inspired again Ogham script and are truly exquisite.
Time for me to go now. I hope you’ve enjoyed our tour around this mystical kingdom. Let’s continue the journey next week.
Slán go fóill!
The Irish Store Founder