Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ireland Week!!! The "Must-Sees" of Ireland: Glendalough, Rock of Cashel and Ring of Kerry

Welcome back to Ireland week! If you didn't get a chance to look at yesterday's post about Dublin, you can find that here.

Our next two days covered Glendalough (pronounced: Glen-da-lock; can't tell you the number of times I got that wrong...), The Rock of Cashel and The Ring of Kerry.

In my opinion, Glendalough is a "must see". We actually didn't get to The Rock of Cashel before it closed, but I would definitely make a stop there if its on your way. The Ring of Kerry was great, even if it was a little foggy. But if you're going to be doing the Dingle Penninsula (which we did) you don't need to also do The Ring of Kerry... but that's just my opinion.

As GoIreland states: Here you will find one of the most important early Christian sights. And its setting is simply beautiful, in a valley beside tranquil lakes. Lovers of history and/or architecture can indulge in two round towers, St Kevin's Kitchen (actually a church) and a cathedral (ruin). Lovers of nature can simply enjoy the walks along the lakes.

It pretty much hits the nail on the head. The views are breath-taking. And the historical sites are well preserved, considering how old they are.

If you're not into hiking or old historic sites, then you should pass this one, because that's what Glendalough is all about. There are around five hikes to choose from, ranging in difficulty. Some are flat, others (like the one we took) go up to one of the tallest points in the area.

The view from the top is spectacular. When we got up there we met these two really cute Irishmen, probably around 65 or 70. They were just sitting on a bench, looking at one of the most amazing views.

The two men were nice enough to take this picture of us :)

Basically, if you like the great outdoors, this is one place you don't want to miss.

The Rock of Cashel
Like I stated earlier, we spent so much time at Glendalough, that we didn't get here until it closed. We decided to park our car and walk around the outside. The structure is quite impressive and so is the town that it is in. It just sort of towers over it. This is the town's website.

As we stood in front, two ladies walked through a gate in front of us. They explained that The Abbey was open all the time and it was essentially the same as the Castle, but without the tours and such. So we decided to take a little walk.

Again, we didn't actually go in the Castle, so I can't comment on how this compares, but it was definitely worth the stop. There was something very 'Lord of the Rings' about it. Ancient, authentic. Crazy to think that nuns lived here and services were given here at one point...

The whole stop probably took us about an hour. And it was definitely an hour well spent.

The Ring of Kerry

The weather we had for our "Ring of Kerry Day" wasn't ideal, but it did make for some really neat pictures.

You should do The Ring of Kerry if:
1. You like Irish scenery. It is beautiful, though I thought that the Dingle Penninsula offered even more beautiful spots, especially those on the coast. But if you have the extra time, or you can't do the Dingle Penninsula, you should definitely do this.

2. You don't mind skinny roads. I must admit, I didn't think the roads were nearly as bad as people made them out to be, but they are thin.

3. The weather is nice. It doesn't have to be perfect, but if its raining all day, there really is no point in going because you won't be able to see anything.

I recommend getting out of your car and climbing off the beaten path. Go down by the ocean, stand on some of the cliffs. Some of it is quite surreal. We used the timer on our camera a lot for this trip. :)

Also, we highly recommend stopping in a town called Sneem. It's so cute, with is different brightly colored houses. Great bakery too!

Come on back tomorrow for a look at one of our most favorite places: Dingle!!

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