While the Ban Cheile* and I were on our Ring Of Kerry trip last month we based ourselves in the Valentia Royal Hotel on the small island off the Kerry coast. The island is just 11km long and 3km wide with a population of only 665 permanent residents – about the same as a very small neighbourhood in Dublin. Having said that it’s a fascinating place to spend a few days and since we were fortunate enough to have terrific weather it meant we could arm ourselves with our cameras and do the on tourist exploration of the island. Accessible only by a bridge at Portmagee (the small ferry from Reenard on the “mainland” – can you even call a bigger island a mainland? – to Knightstown only runs from April to late autumn).
Valentia is steeped in history and packs enough amazing landscapes and interesting historical sites to hold anyone’s attention. Here are some of the highlights-
The lighthouse at Cromwell’s Point is one of the Great Irish Lighthouses.
The Tetrapod Trackway is one of just three such sites in the world.
The protestant cemetery where many of the Knights of Kerry are buried is well worth a quick visit.
The quarry with the grotto carved high up in the quarry wall is a favourite spot for star gazing.
St. John the Baptist Church and Sensory Garden. The sensory garden was designed by the great grandson of Shackleton the famous polar explorer.
It’s even a sanctuary for fairies!
Geokaun Mountain with its breathtaking views across the island to Dingle
And even a glimpse of the Skelligs.
Have you ever spent some holiday time on an island? Why not tell me all about it in the comments below.
Watch out for my Ring of Kerry photo album…coming soon.
* Ban-Cheile means Wife/Spouse/Life Partner in the Irish Language. A literal translation would be “woman I’m together with” or thereabouts.