Beara Peninsula, Ireland
I have to say, I think the Ring of Beara kicks the pants off the Ring of Kerry, which is no small feat! It's not nearly as touristy and the driving is trickier (no bus tours, I believe), with much narrower, windier roads — and it is totally worth it!
Dario and I arrived a little late in the day to make it a full out photo tour (we have vowed to return soon!), but I could not resist taking a picture of these sheep with a gorgeous sunset and Skelligs in the distance. The names of the two nearer islands escape me at the moment, but the distinctive shapes of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig in the distance can't be mistaken for anything else. The contrast of the photo is not a result of wacky camera settings. It really looked like that!
It's a baaaa-rilliant view! (Click for a larger view.)
One of the sheep was giving me the stink eye, not quite sure of my intentions. Either that or it wants to be the next Shaun.
We ran out of words to describe our feelings of awe as we drove. Each time we topped a hill or turned a corner there was something amazing to behold. There are plenty of B&B's along the route, but never once did the drive feel crowded. If anything, we felt like we had this incredible place to ourselves. It was fabulous, just incredible.
When you come to Ireland and you want to skip the hype and the crowds, head to Beara. It's simply breathtaking!
We were very fortunate to find Beara because I did a story about an American concert pianist who lives part of the year in Castletownbeare. His wife insisted that the Beara peninsula beats the Ring of Kerry, and I certainly prefer the places that the crowds have not gone yet. Castletownbeare is such a REAL place compared to so many tarted up touristy towns. I hope you’ll write more about the Dingle peninsula, which I totally fell in love with.
Hi, Vera! As with the previous 2 comments, I don’t know what happened to my reply. Sorry for the delay.
I visited Dingle with Pete and Dalene of Hecktic Travels. I’m not sure they did a full post on it, though I think they enjoyed the scenery more than I. I mean, all of Ireland is gorgeous, I’d just already been spoiled by Beara. :D
Andrea and John of Inspiring Travellers, whom we met when they passed through Cork, did a post about Dingle and the Ring of Kerry:
Dario and I are currently in Italy for a while, but we’re both itching to get back to Ireland. Maybe we can do some more exploring in the west and south next time around. :)
I must admit I hadn’t heard of this area before but I’ve only really been to Dublin and Howth- would love to venture that way though.
Many people only see the area around Dublin or, if they have more time, the west coast of Ireland. The east and the south are absolutely stunning, though. A few days in a bed and breakfast in west Co. Cork is highly recommended!
I saw a lot of sheep in Ireland, but never got the stink eye. Would love to drive the Ring of Beara. Just drove on the eastern edge through Caha Pass heading up to Kenmare. All beautiful!
(Could have sworn I’d replied to all the comments here. Sorry for not answering sooner, Cathy.)
Yes, do beware of the Irish Sheep Stink Eye – it’s rumored to have amazing and mythical powers. Best defense is probably waving your arms, making sudden movements toward the sheep, and yelling, “Boogaboogabooga!” Gets ’em every time. ;)
Did you notice that many of the sheep are painted fluoro pink? What is the deal with that??
I did notice that. In fact, just posted a little something up on FB about the “paint”: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=266744933336155&set=pu.146548822022434&type=1
I am not yet sure what the different colors mean. It doesn’t seem to be divided on gender lines, so maybe it’s about bloodlines or breeding status or vaccinations. I don’t know, really. I’ve met a few cattle farmers here, but haven’t yet chatted with any sheep farmers. I want to, because I’d like to know more about the breeds they keep here in Ireland. When I do a Google search for sheep breeds with horns, what comes up doesn’t look anything like what I see!
Okay…..you’re fuelling my plans for next year, and I haven’t even been anywhere yet this year!!!!!!
This is now on my itinerary, right after Dublin!
Ha! Glad you enjoyed it, Linda. Dublin to Beara is not the most direct route. Might want to see a few things along the way, too. But definitely do add it to your itinerary, maybe even stay in a B&B on the Castletownbere side and take a ferry out to some of the islands. :)
lol @ sheep giving you the stink eye. nice shot, too :)
It was, I’m telling you! Ok, maybe it was just vain and hoping I’d take a picture. In that case, I’m a sucker. ;)