jaunting car

A day trip to Kerry: we have a guest!

Happy Thanksgiving wishes for everyone! 

Today we have a guest, but before he arrives we are going to drive to Muckross, visit Killarney National Park and finally take that jaunting car ride you are dreaming about 😉

From the Molls Gap we take a road to Killarney. We are going to return by the same road later, but it won’t be boring since the road is beautiful and there are places to see. The road sign says ‘100 km/h’ but it is not for us 🙂 Please never drive over 80. There are cyclists, hikers, drivers who are trying to park, and you don’t want to create a tragedy.

As we drive we pass a number of spots suitable for parking of one or two cars, and with any luck we will park for a minute and walk to the lake.

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Finally we see a huge blue sign Killarney National Park , turn in the gateway and drive to the Muckross House. You can spend your ‘time allowance’ (3 hours altogether) in the House and the Gardens and hire a jarvey to take you to the Muckross Abbey and back.

Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey

Killarney jarveys have been around for over 200 years.

jaunting car

 

 

The jaunting cars had been banned from the National Park, and were allowed back again.

jaunting car

I won’t share any pictures of the house. The Muckross House website has enough information, and there is also Google.

You will have to book a tour to see the interior, but if something goes wrong and there is no tour, just take a walk along the lake and visit the National Park. Here you can find two walks to choose from, and here another few.

My personal favorite is the 8 miles long Muckross Lake Loop, that also starts from the Muckross House. You will love these miles 🙂 Pictures below were taken from this trail.

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Bridge between Lough Leane and Muckross Lake.

Killarney NP

Meeting of the Waters – Lough Leane, with Muckross Lake behind me.

Killarney NP

On the way to the Dinis cottage ( you will love their scones). Poor hiker gave up, apparently.

Killarney NP

After we are done with hiking, my plan is to go back to the Molls Gap to pick up our guest. On the way, we will visit one of the most photographed vistas in Ireland – Ladies View.

This is the classic view.

ladies' view

You can drive just a little bit further to enjoy the same view and a bonus walk.

ladies view

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Killarney NP

Before I introduce our guest, I want to share a funny video. Foil Arms and Hog here give you an idea about riding/driving in Kerry 😉

 

 

Listening to these confusing directions, I started to worry about our guest getting around Kerry, so I sent him a few photographs in advance 🙂

And – here he is! Meet Kevin Hotter from KevinHotter.com!

Kevin, please tell us about yourself and the reason you are here with us on this trip.

Hi Everyone! Kevin Hotter, here. It’s a pleasure to meet you all. 

I’m an American lawyer, comedian, writer and photographer who lives in sunny Los Angeles. As if that stuff doesn’t keep me busy enough, I’m also a husband and a dad. And those two roles are my favorite! (Gotta make sure my wife reads that part.) 

Thank you so much to Inese for sending me photos of the beautiful areas of Ireland from which my maternal grandparents hail. 

My mother’s parents arrived in America separately. Having never met back in the old country, their paths first crossed while living in Chicago (which, at the time, was a very popular destination for Irish immigrants.) After getting married, they moved to New York City. And that’s where my mom was born and raised. 

How Irish do you feel?

I definitely inherited the famous Irish wit. And in my stand-up comedy routine, I definitely tell a few jokes about my Irish-Catholic upbringing and my very fair (and easily sunburned) Irish skin. Living in California, I finally have a tan! Well, kinda. Haha 

My humor is meant to bring people together and to poke fun at this thing called life. As for my Irish jokes, it’s all in good fun – because I’m extremely proud of my Irish roots. 

Well, enough of my blabbing! Thanks for reading about little ol’ me.  And please swing by my blog to say hi! 

Thank you for joining us, Kevin! 

Please visit Kevin’s blog to enjoy his outstanding photography.


We resume our trip and take off to Kenmare and The Ring of Beara before starting the homestretch of our day-long journey – The Ring of Kerry. It is a lunch time, and we will get something to eat on the way. Good news, folks! You can park for free in Kenmare! You can also stop for lunch at Molly Gallivan’s. The 90 km journey will take some 2.5 hours. Watch for the parking opportunities so that you can take a photograph, but don’t be a nuisance and danger to the other road users. Our loop route:  Kenmare – Glengarriff – Adrigole – Healy Pass – Glanmore Lake – Kenmare. Not the whole ring, but enough to remember that the Ring of Beara is the most scenic route in Ireland.

Leaving Molls Gap and heading to Kenmare.

Pretty Kenmare town, full of colors.

A nice place to have a lunch (opens @12pm)

Molly Gallivan’s Cottage, and a 12 ft Druid pointing his camera at the Barra-Bui Peak.

Druid’s view 🙂

Scenic road to Glengarriff is also a road from Co Kerry to Co Cork. Beara peninsula is the only peninsula in Ireland that is located in two counties.

Climbing the Healy Pass from Adrigole, south to north. In the middle of the tourist season, I would drive north to south: if you never have a chance to stop, the beautiful view is still in front of you all the way down. It is only my suggestion though. You can also take great pictures from the summit.

As we crossed over the Healy Pass, Glanmore Lake view is our reward.

We return to Kenmare sneaking through the beautiful vistas. See you again in two weeks to resume the Ring of Kerry trip. It will take another 5-6 hours to complete (including a stop for dinner in Waterville).

 Have a wonderful weekend!

A day trip to Kerry: The Gap of Dunloe

It is safe to say that every tourist visiting Ireland knows about Killarney and The Ring of Kerry, yet majority have no idea about how much you can see in a single day if you drive a rental. There are two types of tourists: the ones who can come again, and the ones who can’t. In the following 2-3 blog posts I will give a timeline and a few tips, and even spare 3 hours for a bonus deviation to the Ring of Beara to those who are planning a trip of a lifetime. You won’t see everything, but you will be able to say ‘have been there’ about many places. This day will start shortly after 6 AM – it is a summer day I am talking about 🙂 You will be able to have a proper meal in Waterville and return to your hotel after the sun goes down at about 10 PM. Sounds crazy, but doable. I added some extra time for the short walks and photography 🙂 Just bear with me.

Our Kerry trip will include The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Kenmare, Glengarriff, Healy Pass, The Ring of Kerry, Killorglin and possibly the Ross Castle at the sunset 🙂 All in one day.


The Gap of Dunloe is unique. Every visit is unique. I was very surprised when I didn’t recognize the road we traveled in 2002, but that was early spring and the rain-swollen lakes and River Loe changed the landscape. This time the black rocks dominated the vistas.

The video below shows the same route, but starting from the Molls Gap. My plan is to start at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Why? 1. Because it is the most spectacular end of the route, and if you don’t feel like driving after all, you can leave your car at the cottage, walk 1.5 hours and return. 2. Because it is the busiest end of the route and you want to be there as early as possible. The road is extremely narrow and can be quite busy ( you will see it in the pictures). Local people commute to work, tourists drive, walk, and take a jaunting car tour. It is quite a crowd. After 9-10 AM you are a nuisance to the other road users, and likewise they are a nuisance to you lessening your chances to stop for a picture. They say that after 6 PM the road is quiet again, but you might want to check the position of the sun.

This video was posted by Retro Ventures Ireland. I chose it because of the map they feature.

 

The route of 20 km will take you an hour, but if you find a spot to park ( away from the road) you can hike a little. Anyway, I am giving you three hours to enjoy the route and hike around. On some stage there is a left turn to the lake (tourist route). It is where the organised tourists take a boat across the Lakes. We won’t turn there unless you are already hungry and want to stop at Lord Brandon’s Cottage for a bowl of hot soup. We keep driving through the Black Valley until there is a road sign to Kenmare (left). This road will take us to R568, where you turn left again and drive to the Molls Gap. There we find a place to park and take a breath. We will resume our trip in two weeks 🙂

Driving tips: take it slowly, there are several 90-degree turns up and downhill; automatic transmission and a smaller car would be a bonus, but I have seen trucks and vans in this road too; don’t ever park in the passing places (pullouts), and if you stop there for just a photograph, watch the road and don’t cause problems to others; check the route in the Street View – there are several spots where you can actually park your car if the ground is dry – I parked in such spot for 4 hours, didn’t bother anyone; follow the common rules about driving up and down the hill, and don’t forget that if two vehicles meet on a narrow road, the person who advances first will be responsible for a damage to the other vehicle if something goes wrong.

Now I am sharing my pictures of the Gap of Dunloe 🙂

This time I parked at the trail head of the Circular Trail, less than a mile from the Kate Kearney’s. There was only one car at that time, but when I returned at about 13.00, there were 8 cars parked on both sides of the road.

Beautiful sunny morning disappeared as I was getting closer to the Gap.

The rest of the world still enjoyed good weather.

Approaching the Wishing Bridge ( make a wish while crossing the bridge; it will come true )

Look back – view of the Coosaun Lough from the Wishing Bridge. Very little water this year – I cannot even spot the River Loe connecting all five lakes.

Drizzle won’t stop us.

Jaunting cars joined the hikers shortly after 9 AM.

A few words about the jaunting cars. There are hundreds of them around Killarney, and it is a fun (but not necessarily comfortable) ride. It can be costly in summer, and I wouldn’t book it online. Local coachmen (jarveys) have been taking tourists around Killarney since Victorian times, and the companies offer a number of standard 1-2 hour routes. If you are able to drive ( or walk ) through The Gap of Dunloe, I would advise you to do so and leave the jaunting car ride for later, at the National Park (next blog post). If you still fancy to take a ride, approach any jarvey at Kate Kearney’s.

Unemployed horse.

I love this atmospheric place.

My first bird today, and it is a Robin 🙂

Rainbow sheep is a special breed 😉 You don’t have to paint sheep all over to brand them. The only purpose of this art is to attract tourists.

I was busy admiring birds and sheep; meanwhile the car heading to the Gap just 15 minutes ago was on its way back.

I won’t be as fast…

I stop to watch the young Pipit’s antics and to take a breath.

A look back. I feel like it has been a mile, but you can find these two rocks in my previous picture…

My favorite view.

I didn’t stop at the Iron Bridge but kept climbing. The road was getting busier. Jaunting cars are quite jumpy, and I hope the lady traveling with her grandchildren took some decent pictures.

Another bridge. A Broadband company van soon joined the queue, and two cars approached the bridge from the other side. A traffic jam, Dunloe style.

By the time I came closer to the bridge, the traffic had cleared. The weather improved and I took a few pictures of two bridges and a tiny ‘waterfall’ – a proof that River Loe hadn’t dried out after all.

This was my turning point. I ate my snack, watched birds in the trees and made a note to myself that I would leave my car here on my next trip.

Walking back was as fun.

At the Iron bridge the traffic was so busy that I sat on the rock and waited for them to clear off. On the other side of the bridge there is the place where two tourists were killed back in April. Pony got scared and bolted, and the couple were catapulted from the carriage into the rocky ravine.

The traffic started to thin out and I finally crossed the bridge. I wouldn’t drive at this time of the day – neither would I take a pony ride. Well, only to save my life, may be.

One last glance at my favorite view…

… and one more traffic jam.

This jarvey doesn’t waste his time while waiting in the passing place, and continues his lecture. Many jarveys are quite knowledgeable.

Winding road along the Augher Lake.

The rock is waiting…

And here are the rainbow sheep again.

It is not easy to focus if you have to give way to the traffic coming from both sides.

Another snap.

I discovered that this gnarled tree is a home to a Goldcrest family.

Enjoyed watching the cutest baby Goldcrest, and took a hundred pictures of him.

It wasn’t as easy to photograph his daddy who was fast like quicksilver and hid himself behind the leaves and branches. I am sure it is a daddy because he has a bright orange stripe on his yellow cap. After taking this picture I packed my camera and walked to my car as I had many other places to visit.

Thank you for walking through the Gap of Dunloe with me. See you in two weeks.

 Have a wonderful weekend!