A drive down the Ring of Kerry provides some great views
Recently, when I was in Ireland, I spent a lovely day in a little town in Connemara called Clifden.
This town is a walkers and cyclists’ paradise — there are pretty trails and little tarmac roads that offer stupendous views.
Of course, I am not much of a cyclist, so my circuits around these roads were at the wheel of my hired silver Renault Laguna.
I drove the Sky Road and the supposedly haunted Bog road. I also drove another circuit that was equally charming, the 179-km road circuit around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry.
Popularly called the Ring of Kerry, it is dotted with loughs (lakes) and breathtaking views.
And wonderful surprises on this road include ruined castles, and sections where the route just bursts out of a corner and goes along the bank of a seemingly never-ending body of water.
Around the next corner the entire lake disappeared, and this left me scratching my head in disbelief wondering if it was a mirage or if my imagination was playing tricks on me.
Popular, but quiet
Even though this is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist routes, there were moments on the road when I stepped out to photograph the view, lethargically took it in and then started off again without a single car passing me by.
The rain, which is never too long gone in Ireland, was on the verge of falling and this meant dramatic battles in the sky between laden clouds and the sun.
The entire hue, or to get more technical, white balance of the scene would change as clouds of varying consistency flitted across the sun.
Signboards told of walking trails that could be explored, leading up to places with even more spectacular views than that on the road.
But my most joyous moment came when I found the country tea house in the middle of the seemingly uninhabited countryside.
Of buttery scones
And believe me, there is nothing like an interlude of hot buttered scones, homemade jam and tea on a drive that has taken your breath away.
To do the Ring of Kerry, you can base yourself at towns like Killarney or Kenmare, Killarney being the more popular.
But both are cosy places where the main attractions are the pubs with their banks of beer taps, traditional Irish music played live with more and more people joining after pint over pint of Guinness is steadily consumed, the huge food portions and loud and lively atmosphere.
For more visit www.ringofkerrytourism.com.
RISHAD SAAM MEHTA