Oh hey! Where have YOU guys been? I nearly forgot this little place existed due to the end of school year / parents association / graduation / summer school mania we've found ourselves in. I detest being busy for no other reason than I forget everything I'm meant to be doing. Like breathing. And sleep. Do you remember sleep?
Well, summer is a few short (hot!) days under way now, and while the big kids are at summer school and Asher is ensconced with Diego en español, I can fill you in on some quality family time.
We had a wonderful visit with Matt's parents for two whole weeks last month. This is the first family visit we've enjoyed since the Mulled Wine Christmas Adventure of 2013 with my mom and grandma. Matt's parents last came to Ireland in Winter 2009 after Asher was born, so we were already looking forward to having more than six hours of daylight to explore. Back then we spent a lot of time introducing them to Meath, Dublin and Wicklow, so we thought it would be fun to go someplace entirely new for all of us.
Enter Kerry! [Fair warning: a lot of pictures are coming.]
Despite an hour-long detour down the wrong motorway (this is pretty common for us), we made our first pitstop at everyone's favourite Offaly landmark, Obama Plaza! I'm not sure Jared and Dianna were as taken with it as we were, but where else will you find a Papa John's Pizza, Supermac's, Tim Horton's coffee, a hot plate carvery, and a more-than-life-sized wall mural of Barak and Michelle?! Nowhere, I tell you.
Several hours later we finally pulled into our Airbnb* cottage in Portmagee, Kerry. Somehow we hit the tourist-free jackpot, because most of our visit was calm and quaint. The little holiday home village was empty but for us, so the children could play freely all around the property and explore the ocean inlet from our backdoor.
We spent most of our time on this little Atlantic stretch of the Iveragh Peninsula, called the Ring of Skellig. Roads can be treacherous along the mountainous coast and traveling 10 miles will likely take an hour or more. Happily, the sky was clear, the weather mild and the Atlantic Ocean uncharacteristically still.
Portmagee and neighouring Valentia Island were sleepy Sunday morning villages. We took our time walking along the main road of Knightstown, exploring the harbour and a nearby playground, and popping into the neighbourhood shop for crisps and the Farmers' Journal.
Ballinskelligs on the mainland was a bit busier, with a tiny, bustling village centre and a lot of traffic. I look forward to one day returning to one of these lovely towns - sans kids - and spending a relaxing afternoon sipping pints and people watching.
Per usual, we underestimated our adventurous travel companions. They're all about ancient ring forts and cliff-testing, but what they looked forward to most was going to the beach and swimming. Unfortunately, that went kind of bust. Even though the weather was mild, it was still cloudy and the ocean so, so cold, even with wetsuits. After about 10 minutes they all gave up and shivered uncontrollably on the beach.
I'd be remiss not to mention the stunning wildlife we discovered at every turn. The Hubers are a nature-loving family (it's slowly growing on me), and the coastal Kerry landscape didn't disappoint.
Finally, requisite money shot. We enjoyed three nights of sunsets by the sea, but I'm deferential to the very first: clear skies, warm weather.
Once again, we really loved the Airbnb rental. We found it roomy, very affordable (especially considering it housed seven of us) and in the perfect location for a quiet, natural landscape. The nightly peat fires helped, too. :)
Four days isn't nearly enough time to explore all of Ring of Kerry, so I recommend picking one little patch of it and stopping at every picturesque view and landmark. We took our time, ate in every night, splurged for roadside ice cream, and just generally enjoyed a few quiet nights with our usually-far-away-family.
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