Western Ireland: Cuas Pier Caves

An unexpected find on the Beara Peninsula (the one tour buses aren’t allowed on). It involved a crazy drive even by Irish standards, but was well worth it. We hiked after visiting and when we came back by two hours later the tide had come in so much the caves were inaccessible.

Western Ireland: Slea Head Road

Dingle Peninsula isn’t the featured part of the Ring of Kerry, but it’s also slightly better preserved. It also is longer, and the outer point (with the Basket Islands beyond) is the westernmost point in Europe. Across the Dingle Bay is Skellig Michael, an uninhabited island that played host to Luke Skywalker in the recent Star Wars trilogy. Because Skelling is so rough, the actual scenes between Luke and Rey were filmed on Dingle. This is also part of the country most loyal to the native language. In the summer Dublin kids are bused in for camp to work on their language skills.

The Slea Head Road is a loop around the outer portion of the peninsula, with all the best views.

Western Ireland: Conor’s Pass and Pedler’s Lake

Conor’s Pass, on Dingle Peninsula, was apparently named one of the most dangerous roads in Europe. Which we didn’t know when we went to find it, but we believe now. It didn’t help that the rain came through just when we got there. But the views were amazing, and a 60 foot rock climb to the top of the waterfall reveals Pedler’s Lake, a glacier-carved crystal clear lake.

Western Ireland: Clew Bay and Bartraw Beach

Clew Bay separates Connemara from Mallaranny, and Bartraw Beach is a strand that reaches out to the first of more than 50 islands in the eastern part of the bay. The loop around the strand is more than 4 km, and is full of grassy dunes with unique wildlife including crabs, birds, and beautiful large snails.