If you are doing the Ring of Kerry, then please, please, please turn west and include the Skelligs Ring too. The sheer volume of scenery would fill a weeks holiday alone on this mini-ring. While there are a few options when it comes to choosing a base for this area, Portmagee is a well served village and is the gateway for tours of the Skelligs Rocks. Portmagee is also one of my favourite places to visit in Kerry and here is a little about what I think is so nice about this fishing village…
However you arrive at Portmagee it will be a scenic drive. You may turn off the Ring of Kerry outside of Cahirciveen & enjoy the flat, winding road as you look across to the lush landscape of Valentia. Maybe you are taking the bridge from Valentia and will see the colourful houses of the village as they contrast vividly with the green mountain of An Leithead behind. Or maybe you are coming from Ballinskelligs where you will have one of the most awesome driving experiences on our island!
If time allows, stop off and have a wander around the village. You will usually need a jacket even if the sun is beaming down because the wind will be blowing directly in over the channel and it can seem….fresh! Dotted around the village there are nuggets of local history and culture which gives us visitors a deeper insight to this area.
Near the bridge connecting Valentia is the Ferry Boat that was used before the bridge was built and the story of how it operated.
There are also a couple of “Slí na Sláinte” walks that take just under an hour and these can work up an appetite for a pint of Murphy’s in the Fisherman’s, some fudge in Cois Cuain or a bite to eat in the Bridge Bar.
Though summer is busiest with plenty of visitors to the area & all shops, cafés and businesses thriving, I enjoy sneaking a trip to Kerry in over the winter with less traffic on the roads, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and dare I even say blue skies when everything looks even more wow-tastic!! You could be very clever and come down to ring in the New Year with the locals and help say good bye to the years “old man” and introduce the “new man” of the new year and all the hope that this brings for the year ahead.
When it is time to leave Portmagee, take a spin over the bridge to Valentia & enjoy the quiet roads & staggering views back towards the mainland:
As you continue further, make time for a walk around Cahersiveen. It can often be passed through as we simply run out of time such is the concentration of distracting beauty spots in this area, but there is a real welcome in this market town: