Day 25 - Inch Beach & Festive Killarney

We all woke up very well rested and happy knowing that we did not have a far drive ahead. We left the Kerry Ocean Lodge after breakfast, once again without having a place booked for the night. We figured we would take a risk and just go to Killarney and find a place later in the afternoon.

We started off by driving towards the Dingle Peninsula, since we wanted to check out Inch Beach. 

On our way, in the town of Killorglin we came across a statue of a goat wearing a crown. Otherwise known as King Puck. According to a sign near the statue, "For hundreds of years, a male mountain goat has been enthroned as King of Puck Fair in Killorglin town. The Puck Goat reigns over the fair held on August 10th, 11th, and 12th of each year. King Puck is a symbol of a vast traditions whose origins are lost in the mists of time."

King Puck

King Puck

A view of the Killorglin town

A view of the Killorglin town

We made it to Inch Beach not too long after. The beach is really very beautiful and definitely deserves its blue flag status. We all had a great time running around and playing in the sand. 

The kids and I also decided to do a little bit of yoga. I even attempted a handstand transitioned into a bridge/wheel. I did think about it for a while and wondered whether or not I could pull it off, but then I decided I wouldn't know unless I tried. 

Seeing my warm up exercises, Kian wanted to try a handstand too, and with a bit of help from me he succeeded and thought it was the funniest thing to see everything upside down :) 

After lots and lots of playing, in the early afternoon we decided to just eat at Sammy's, a restaurant that is right on the beach before heading to Killarney. 

After lunch, we got in the car and headed towards Killarney. The kids fell asleep in the car, which was perfect because they were quite tired from playing on the beach.  The drive to Killarney was only about an hour or so, and once in town we realized there were some festivities going on.  It was the last day of the horse races in Killarney, which is also known as "Ladies' Day".  On Ladies' Day, the women who want to take part in the competition dress up, and the best dressed lady wins. They also have other categories like best hat, etc. 

We saw lots of fancy dresses and very, very high heeled shoes.

There was also a bike race in town the week before, so there were no lack of decorations on the streets as we drove through in search of a bed and breakfast that could accommodate a family of 4 on such a busy night! 

Thankfully, after only asking a few places, we found a lovely bed and breakfast called Kingfisher Lodge within walking distance to the center of town, for a very good price.  It definitely didn't hurt to be spontaneous with this one. 

After resting for a little bit, we put on our shoes and got out to see the city. We were given a piece of advice by the B&B owner to be inside a restaurant before 6:30 PM since everyone from the races would likely be arriving around 7 to eat. 

We found a restaurant called "The Flesk" and luckily they were able to seat us right away.  The restaurant was packed, but everyone around us was so sweet. 

The kids were busy with their coloring pages as we ordered some delicious food. 

Kian and his coloring page at the restaurant :) 

Kian and his coloring page at the restaurant :) 

We had conversations with a couple from Pennsylvania who were in Ireland with a tour group. Then we talked to an Irish couple who were really sweet to the kids. We also chatted with a couple who were sitting behind us who had travelled to Ireland from Sydney, Australia. 

It felt like we were out to dinner with a few acquaintances :) 

Then our dinner arrived and it was perfectly delicious.

As we left the restaurant, we could hear music not too far away and then we saw that everyone had gathered on the street and there was some sort of dance competition going on. The music was so upbeat and fun, and even if you weren't in the dancing circle you couldn't help but dance a little bit to the beat.

Kian dancing on daddy's shoulders :)

Kian dancing on daddy's shoulders :)

On our way back to the Bed and Breakfast we stopped at Murphy's, an ice cream shop with lots of interesting ice cream flavors. I got the Irish Oats which was yumtastic! 

With our bellies full and our legs exhausted we went back to the B&B for a much needed night of rest.  So glad we arrived into town on such a festive day. 

Day 24 - Cave & Cliffs

Ok, so we did it to get it out of our system... We slept at a hostel. Will we do it again? Probably not, but they say never say never! The kids loved it, but I didn't really get that "we are all travelers let's share stories" vibe. It likely has something to do with the fact that we were a family, and had a private room. Most of the people at the hostel were alone and I overheard some of them trying to have conversations with others. I have no complaints about the hostel. It was clean and quiet and comfortable, but I think I had made up this super fun, let's make friends atmosphere in my head! 

The view of Shop street from our room in the morning

The view of Shop street from our room in the morning

A light breakfast was included as part of our stay, and we had to wash up after ourselves. After eating, we headed out to check out Eyre Square, but as we often do we got distracted by a mall on our way. We went in to have a look around and ended up window shopping for so long that it was advisable to eat something before getting back on the road. The shopping mall was close enough to Eyre Square, so we stepped out to take a look before eating lunch.

Eyre Square

Eyre Square

After lunch, we continued our journey down south along the Atlantic Wild Way.  This time we actually made a reservation at a bed and breakfast in the Ring of Kerry (in Glenbeigh). The goal was to make it there around 4 or 5 PM (I'll save you the suspicion and let you know now that we didn't make it until 9:30 PM!! Ha!)

On our way, we drove through some very neat landscapes in an area of Ireland called The Burren, where we decided to make a stop at the Aillwee Cave.  The kids were really excited, it was their first time being in a cave. There was a guided tour that taught us a lot about the history of the cave.  Hannah's favorite part was the waterfall and Kian's favorite part was the lair where the bear(s) supposedly would sleep during the winter, about 2000 years ago when there were still bears in Ireland.

Kian also enjoyed his head lamp, as it made him feel like Martin from Wild Kratts

After the cave, we stopped at the farm shop on our way out where we could sample freshly made cheeses and fudge. Mmmm Mmmm...

Next stop was the Cliffs of Moher. Unfortunately for the tired kids who fell asleep in the car, the ride was not very long, and so they weren't very happy at first. 

The Cliffs of Moher are magnificent, but the admission price is a bit ridic! I continue to be glad that our kids are under 6 and can get in almost anywhere for free. The entire site is very touristy, with big buses pulling into the parking lot and lots and lots of people walking around. 

Nonetheless this wasn't a view we were going to pass up. We did not walk all the way to the end, just up one way to a little tower, then we turned around towards the main cliffs and went half way to the second cliff before heading back. We took the "safer" path, which is barricaded by big stone blocks. On the other side of the blocks you can walk on the edge of the cliff if you would like, and we saw quite a few people doing it. They do have big "DANGER" signs to let you know, you walk the edge at your own risk!

Also, for the Harry Potter enthusiasts, such as ourselves, it was fun to see the film location of one of the scenes from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

It was getting pretty late, and we still had a very long drive to the B&B where we were going to stay for the night.  It really isn't that far of a distance as the bird flies, but in Ireland the roads are not exactly super highways, or even remotely straight, and there is a big river in the way with no bridge, making the only driving route something that would take us significantly out of the way.  We knew that there is also a car ferry that can take us across the river and make our drive much shorter, but we did not know when the last one would leave. Around 5:45 PM, the Atlantic Wild Way brought us into a town and we decided to ask a shop owner if he knew more information about the ferry. 

He did! The last ferry would leave at 9:30 PM and we were only about 45 minutes away. We took the 7:00 PM ferry across the river.

Hannah kept saying that we could not drive on a boat with our car. "The car is too heavy", she kept saying, and would fall off. She was definitely surprised when she saw the number of cars on the ferry.

The ferry took us across the river Shannon from County Clare to County Kerry. 

The kids looking at the Shannon River from the ferry

The kids looking at the Shannon River from the ferry

We grabbed dinner from Alma's Takeaway in Milltown, a little shop that served pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets, and the likes. It was good food, and I loved that the shop was run by two women. Since everyone was quite exhausted, we all went to bed shortly after arriving at the B&B, the Kerry Ocean Lodge. 

Tomorrow is another day :)