As the rain was falling since early morning we headed towards the Ring of Kerry, probably the most scenic drive in Ireland. The road gets a lot of traffic and is narrow, so considering the rain it was not the best choice on the day. Instead we went on a drive through the mountains and connected back to Ring of Kerry in Kenmare to circle back to Killarney.
The first part of the drive took us initially on the main Ring of Kerry road, but quite quickly took us into the hills towards the Ballaghaemba Gap.
Narrow roads do not even start to describe it. If you have never driven around Ireland or Britain before, those roads will be scary. They have no shoulders, stone walls or bushes right next to the edge of the road, speed limit of 100km/hour, lots of turns and bends, locals driving into town to go to work close to maximum speed. It was an adventure driving on them, but some parts were amazingly beautiful and views to either side were stunning. Unlike the Ring of Kerry, there was very little chance of stopping to take pictures. I experimented more or less successfully with shooting through the front windshield. If you think it is crazy and a bad idea, it probably is, however, still it is worth trying.
Rain was slowly moving across the area with low clouds coming down from the hills. One of the great rewards on the side of the road were blackberries! Sweet and ripe, great snack for tired travelers. The thing that comes to mind is a blackberry pie, it would be great right about now.
Once we went deeper into the hills there were less cars, but those that we met were either stopped while chatting to neighbors and occupying most of the road or coming at us at high speed. There could also be big trucks coming and going to construction sites along the road, as new houses are being build on the sides of the hills.
As it is normal in Ireland the clouds finally parted for a while anyway allowing beautiful glimpses of the loughs (lakes) and hills. When we are shooting outdoors we want to be able to control the light, and our position with respect to the light to get this perfect image. Not necessarily the easiest task on the side of a narrow road and fences or walls on both sides and sun playing hide and seek with the clouds. You have to catch the moments, light and compose the image really quickly.
Sometimes there is something by the roadside that will make everyone stop right there in the middle of the road. And it will not matter if there are other drivers wanting to pass. This spider web was one of such sights. Right after the rain it was decorated with raindrops like pearls. Obviously some great angles were not quite the best idea as muddy clothing will not go well with the rental car or be welcomed in a restaurant when we get to lunch.
Additional hazard on those narrow roads were sheep and rams, not always wanting to move over. So be patient and push slowly forward.
On the road from the hills we headed towards Kenmare, a little beautiful town on the Ring of Kerry. It has beautiful cottages and also is a home to one of the famous stone circles (see above). This lovely little town is a great stop for lunch and a little relaxation. We stopped in a little cafe called “Jam”, if you do not get anything else, grab some scones and coffee or tea.
From Kenmare you want to continue on the Ring of Kerry and come through the Ladies’ View and head towards Torc waterfall and then Killarney.
Torc Waterfall is not as spectacular as some biggest waterfalls in the world but it is beautifully nestled in the forest and a great picture spot. As it is pretty dark around the waterfall, having a tripod again is really important.
Once we reached Killarney, I got really confused on the Haha roundabout (yes that is what it is called, no joke) but managed to get us out of town and towards Limerick and Ennis with the ultimate destination being Cliffs of Moher. Rain forced us to stay on the road rather than sidetrack to see some of the sights in Limerick or Ennis. We were rewarded as the clouds parted when we arrived at Cliffs of Moher. I have imagined how they will look, but reality surpassed all the expectations. The sights are amazing and well worth the trip. After battling strong wind and taking some pictures we headed to Galway for the night.