Cahersiveen and its surroundings are among the most scenic sites in all Ireland. This small Irish village, located along the route of The Ring of Kerry, is renowned for the hospitality of its inhabitants and the cozy pubs they frequent.
During the two summers I spent there, I was left agog with the wondrous landscapes this area has to offer. Fifteen kilometers from the village one can find deserted beaches, historic ruins, breathtaking palisades and mountains with spectacular views of the entire Iveragh Peninsula and deserted islands whose waters will astound you for their icy temperatures and crystal clarity.
I lived memorable experiences there. Unfailingly, I enjoyed Derrynane National Partk or whenever we embarked on an excursion along the cliffs. These day-trips invariably culminated in a dip at one of the above-cited deserted beaches, the most spectacular being Finian’s Bay, Balinaskelligs, the beach at Derrynane National Park and Glanleam, a tiny cove with a tropical touch.
Another experience worth living is a visit to Ballycarbery Castle and the Cahergal ring-shaped fort. Both of these sites, a mere 15-minute stroll from the village of Cahersiveen evoke the history of this country and the mysticism of this land.
Another suggestion I overwhelmingly endorse is stopping to knock back a robust beer or two –if it’s a Guiness, all the better– at one of the pubs frequented by locals. During the summer season, on any given night, you will find locals getting together at these pubs to sing Irish folk songs to the rhythm of a bodhran, harp or violin. My favorite pubs are: Mike Murts and The Ancher.
If fine dining is your thing, I recommend The Point at Reenard Point, where you can also catch a ferry to Valentia Island. My favorite dish as I recall was one which offered a variety of fish and fresh seafood. Thanks to the good relationship that the restaurant’s owners have with Spanish fishermen who fish in local waters, you can also find some exquisite wines here from La Rioja.
Lastly, what is undeniable a must-do is a day trip to Valentia Island. You can rent a bike in Cahersiveen and pedal your way to the ferry just 20 minutes away. Circling the island is done relatively quickly, but the best part will be the verdant countrysides and wonders of nature you will encounter along the way. One hour from Knightstown by bike is Fogher Cliffs. The view from here, looking out to sea and southwest Kerry will leave you speechless. If you’re continuing by bike, I advise you to stop and get re-fueled at The Lighthouse Café that opens only during the summer season. Ten minutes away, you’ll come across the Glanleam beach, by far one of my favorites because of the intimacy of its atmosphere and the tropical feel one experiences from the abundant flora.
So, without question, if you’re travelling to Ireland, you can’t miss this part of the route along The Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic sites you will ever visit.
Ballinskelligs Bay. Photo by Willi Morali