Ah the rolling hills of Ireland, the friendly folks, the Guinness… the rain. Come on, let’s face it. It’s Ireland, there’s always going to be a little bit of rain. But not to worry, that won’t hold you back from having a great time with your kids.
We’re a family of five who love to travel. One of our biggest challenges, however, is how to see the sights while holding the tiny attention of our children for more than five minutes.
Through trial and error (lots of trial and lots of error) we came up with a way to bring a bit of education, adventure, and lots of fun into our journeys. The following is our tried and tested Mission to Ireland tour, the Ring of Kerry. Give it a go by taking a road trip to the locations, and enjoy. An easy itinerary for you, lots of fun for them.
You will need: A car, some good walking shoes and a smartphone or camera.
The mission is based on a story about Killorglin’s iconic goat, King Puck. King Puck, the goat king is tired. He’s ruled over The Puck Fair in Killorglin for hundreds of years. He wants to retire but first he must find his rightful successor. Could this be you?
In order to be crowned the new King or Queen, you must complete the Ring of Kerry and face five challenges to prove your worth. Each challenge will test one of your five senses, which are all needed in order to rule. But before you can start, you will first need to travel to Killorglin to visit King Puck’s statue and get his blessing for your quest.
This first challenge will examine your sense of smell. Travel the Ring of Kerry counter clockwise until you reach the town of Caitin.
There you will discover local farmer Brendan Ferris and his award-winning sheep dogs. The dogs use their sense of smell to locate all the scattered sheep on the mountainside and bring them safely back to their pens.
Watch this exciting demonstration and learn from the masters how it’s done.
Good to know: The sheepdog demonstration runs from 9:30-11:30 so make sure you get there early.
Next test out your sense of sight. Take a journey by car ferry to the Island of Valentia in the hopes of spotting evidence of creatures from over 350 million years ago.
The Tetrapod site is thought to date from before the time of dinosaurs. This site is of international significance as it represents the transition of life from water to land.
Good to know: Hunting down these four-legged creatures can be tough work, take a break at Valentia Island Farmhouse Dairies ice cream shop. Local farmers discovered that the milk from their herds made amazing ice cream. You be the judge!
The third task will definitely challenge your taste buds. After returning to the main land, head down to the Skellig Chocolate Factory.
On your way, don’t forget to check out the fantastic landscape. One thousand five hundred years ago the monks thought the Skellig Coast was heaven on earth.
A winding road takes you along side the ocean with excellent views of Skellig Rock, where the last Star Wars movie was filmed!
The Skellig Chocolate Factory has many types of treats and chocolate of all flavors. Do a chocolate tasting to find out which one you like the best.
Good to know: A fantastic beach close by is St. Finian’s Bay. On a nice day, head out on a surfboard to catch some waves or just lie on the beach and enjoy the sun.
Do you believe in magic? You’ll need your sense of touch for this next challenge. Drive to Derrynane House and National Park and discover the magical fairy trails found deep within the woodlands.
It is said that mystical creatures have inhabited the grounds for thousands of years but the little fairy houses were only discovered in 2010. Search for the fairy homes anytime, day or night, almost any time of the year.
Good to know: The fairy trails are free of charge and you can get a map from the Derrynane House Café.
Your last challenge will take you to the town of Kenmare, which is full of great places to eat, drink, and maybe have another ice cream!
Stop in one of the many pubs with live Irish music and fill you sense of hearing with the wonderful traditional folklore songs. If you are lucky, you might catch Thomas Sullivan and Alohart Beaufort from the band 3414.
Good to know: Make reservations for dinner or lunch beforehand. Fantastic restaurants such as Packies and Mulcahy’s get booked up fast.
King Puck is very pleased and is happy to crown you the next King or Queen of Puck Fair. In the meantime, complete the Ring of Kerry by travelling to Killarney.
There, you can travel in style with horse and buggy or a jaunting car deep into Killarney National Park where your castle awaits.
Happy travels! And remember, a great adventure will never be defined by the limits of your wallet, only by the boundaries of your imagination.
Flights to Ireland