Our Irish adventure the second week of July started off in Cork, where we had a few days exploring the city and its surroundings before driving up to Killarney national park for our wedding anniversary. We set off from Cork city centre, taking a direct route to Kilarney via lots of beautiful Irish towns, with brightly painted houses, traditional taverns and quaint markets along the way.
Our driving experience in Ireland was sponsored by Dan Dooley Car Rentals who kindly provided us with a Renault Kadjar for our adventures around the winding Irish roads. 4×4 in style, the Kadjar was the perfect vehicle for driving up hill and down dale in comfort.
Our second day in Killarney we ventured into the Killarney National Park.
Driving around the outskirts of Lough Leane we stopped in a lay-by with a viewpoint to enjoy the serenity of the lake, with its clear reflective waters mirroring the blue sky and clouds above.
From the shoreline we made our way up the winding roads… crossing narrow bridges and stopping to admire quaint hillside churches and bubbling brooks until we reached the viewpoint Ladies View, a spot Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting visited during the royal visit. Sadly as we reached the viewpoint, the clouds had advanced and we were left with a grey, but still beautiful, look out across the Killarney National Park.
The ever-changing weather of ‘The Emerald Isle’ gave us a new appreciation for Ireland’s nickname as the lush greenery seen all around is consequential to the rain that falls here.
Killarney national park sits off the Wild Atlantic Way, a route starting in Kinsale, County Cork, on the South Coast of Ireland and following up the west coast of Ireland to Malin Head, County Donegal. The famous route stretches for 2,500km passing by quaint fishing villages, jagged clifftops, deserted beaches, lighthouses and islands.
The longest defined coastal drive in the world, The Wild Atlantic Way could take weeks to explore to its true potential, but we only had one day to enjoy a snippet of the route.
From Killarney we joined the Wild Atlantic Way at Kenmare before cutting south to Glengarrif on the Beara Peninsula of County Cork. From there we followed The Wild Atlantic Way to Schull (sadly cutting out Mizen Head due to time constraints – but I’m led to believe it’s beautiful).
Mixed weather ensued as we drove the coastal route, stopping every time a glimmer of sun came out to get snaps of the scenery. Two lovely highlights along the way included stopping off at Schull, and navigating the overgrown single track road up to Toe Head.
From Toe Head we could see for miles around – looking out across the deep blue sea and watching ships cross over the horizon.
We ended our Wild Atlantic Way journey in Kinsale, which was sadly very rainy so we didn’t get any good snaps. We stopped for a bite to eat, sheltering from the rain before heading back to Cork.
Despite the mixed bag of Irish weather (feeling like we felt all four seasons within the course of two days), we thoroughly enjoyed our drive up to Killarney, around the National Park and along part of The Wild Atlantic Way. Perhaps one day we could return with a campervan, several spare months and an open agenda to complete the ultimate Irish road trip!
We were really impressed with the car rental service we received from Dan Dooley. Collecting the car at the airport could not have been easier and we loved driving the Kadjar – it was perfect for our Irish adventure!
Thanks to Dan Dooley for providing us with car hire for the duration of our stay in Ireland.