If you’ve chosen to see Ireland by car, as we did, one of the many worthwhile sights in the Killarney area is the Ring of Dingle. It’s not as well-known as its famous counterpart, the Ring of Kerry, but the innkeeper at our B & B recommended this drive for its stark beauty and less traffic. He was right–the views we saw were nothing short of stunning, and we hardly encountered a soul the entire time.
These winding mountain roads require a lot of concentration, so do not attempt to watch the scenery as you drive. There are plenty of scenic pull-offs… use them! At one point, we encountered another car coming in the opposite direction and we both had to come to a complete stop while the other driver and I rolled down our windows, folded in our side mirrors, and inched past each other in first gear. That’s how narrow these roads are, and sometimes you’ll see tour buses hurtling towards you at ungodly speeds, so it’s worth keeping your eyes on the road!
With that said, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views on this journey. You’ll see rocky cliffs hovering over crashing waves, flocks of sheep grazing peacefully on impossibly green grass, stone ring forts that sheltered families from ancient times to 1200 AD, and much more. You could easily breeze through the drive in a couple of hours, but if time allows, stop along the way to sit and soak in the almost mystical beauty that permeates every piece of this majestic landscape. It’s truly amazing!
As a sidebar, if you choose to drive in Ireland, getting insurance for your rental car through the agency is a MUST. There is a mandatory charge for CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) that’s usually included in your quote. Declining this will result in your credit card having a hold or a charge of 2,000 Euros put on it until you return the car and they determine that it’s in pristine condition (otherwise you’ll be charged an arm and a leg for the slightest bit of damage). There is also optional coverage in the form of an Excess Waiver, which eliminates expensive deductibles or charges due to excess damage or loss of the vehicle.
Yes, it all sounds like a scam. I fought it tooth and nail, but in the end, their assurance that the car could tumble off a cliff and I wouldn’t pay a dime was worth the extra $15 a day. As it turns out, I’m now fairly certain that no tourist can escape the country roads of Ireland unscathed. The roads are about as wide as a city sidewalk and bordered by hedges that scrape the side of your car every time you move over to let another vehicle squeeze by at roughly 200 mph. In addition, fender benders are not uncommon no matter how good of a driver you are (yes, this is the voice of experience, people). Here’s a good resource with terms and conditions from Budget car rental.
Please click on the thumbnails below to see larger images, and stay tuned for my next post on other great sights to see in the Killarney area!