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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Travelling South-Western Ireland: Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula & the world-famous Cliffs of Moher.

Attending TBEX Travel Bloggers Exchange conference in the small town of Killarney, about an hour west of Cork? Honestly, “a good excuse” to finally add an independent road trip around South-Western Ireland again after what has been more than twenty years! I remember last leaning over the Cliffs of Moher as an eleven-year-old, travelling there with my family. This time, and despite the advent of mass tourism ever since, I just knew I had to go back. “Dear Cilian”, I raise my hand during the Killarney conference, Cilian Murphy who talks to us as an expert on matters of sustainable development, “I have this true (travel) dilemma. I know you are telling us to seek alternatives over the most visited sites, and seasons, around visiting Ireland. However, and I’m sure I’m not alone, I do have these very fond childhood memories of the Cliffs of Moher, and I really want to go there, even though I am horrified to think it will be among thousands and thousands of other visitors, a sort of compromised experience. What is your advice?”

 

Now THIS: “Doolin Cliff Walk”, a completely different kind of experience of the Cliffs of Moher which I never knew even existed.

Pat Sweeney and his team of “Doolin Cliff Walks“, which he himself started off his private farm land bordering the famous cliffs, are a true force of nature to be reckoned with. But let us start right from the beginning. After the travel conference, my friend Antonia and I took off in our rental car to explore the famous Ring of Kerry. Fortunately for us, the season (early October) means that we are virtually alone on Ireland’s notoriously narrow, pretty country roads – except for a few odd sheep that cross the road occasionally. We especially take to the quaint little town of Cahirciveen as well as its coastal surroundings, including Valentia Island. Typically checking into our “double room above the pub”, we feel like we’ve arrived. No more work, no more itineraries, just us girls and a few days of adventure on the road. What else could possibly be better?

Unser erster Halt / Blick auf die Küstenlandschaften Westirlands ringt uns ein Staunen ab: "Hier sieht's ja aus wie in Neuseeland", erfährt es mir alter Neuseelandliebe spontan.!

Well, perhaps those views: “It’s like in New Zealand”, I exclaim spontaneously, the old Kiwi lover I am.!

 

Angekommen in Cahirciveen ...

Arriving in Cahirciveen …

 

... bleibt unser (hungriger) Blick an dieser Kirche hängen ...

… our hungry eyes take in the restaurant sign across the street …

 

... denn tatsächlich ist selbige innen ein wunderschönes Restaurant, das noch dazu knusprig-saftige Gourmet-Pizzen in formvollendeter Perfektion serviert!

… and knowing it to be a former church makes this gourmet pizza place even more special: Do check it out while you’re in town!

 

Am nächsten Morgen nehmen wir uns

The morning after, we leave not before having taken coffee and talked to this lovely singer songwriter duo, who were neighbours from across our table the night before.

 

Weiter geht es schließlich, und hier wird es so richtig mystisch ...

South-Western Ireland, it starts getting really mysterious (and foggy) across the sea from the mainland, out on Valentia Island …

 

... sowie geschichtlich bedeutsam: Viele Hundert Millionen Jahre alt sind diese Echsen-Fußabdrücke im Stein, angeblich die ersten Lebewesen, die dazumal an Land gingen ..!

… there even is a so-called tetrapod walkway, whose footprints in the stone are said to be millions of years old, testifying the first ever reptiles that left the sea to colonise the land ..!

 

Und falls Ihr noch nicht genug habt, so bietet diese Steingrotte (alles auf der kleinen Insel Valentia gelegen, übrigens)

And if you still haven’t been awestruck enough, this more recent grotto gives testimony to human activity in the area, namely a mighty stone quarry.

 

Als der Nebel auf den Straßen noch dichter wird ...

As the fog intensifies and, unfortunately, completely veils our view upon the Skellig Islands before us …

 

... flüchten wir uns in den Wald ...

… we head back inland and drive into Killarney national park …

 

... diesen schönen Wasserfall sollte man gesehen haben ...

… stop for its waterfall just ten minutes drive from the town of Killarney …

 

... sowie natürlich auch das Killarney Castle, mystisch bis zum Geht-Nicht-Mehr!

… as well as Killarney Castle, a real fairy tale to just look at!

 

Wir nächtigen diesmal übrigens im nahe gelegenen Tralee und finden hier eines der besten ..

We then carry on to stay the night in Tralee …

 

... vegetarisch-veganen Restaurants vor, über das Euch meine Freundin Antonia aka "The Vegan Rainbow Blog" gerne mehr erzählen wird ..!

… where we find one of the best vegan-vegetarian restaurants in the area, which my friend Antonia aka “The Vegan Rainbow Blog” will gladly tell you more about ..!

 

Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula: Easily possible to cover in two full days.

I loved our drive around Dingle peninsula (thank you Toni, for this great suggestion!), not recalling having ever been here with my family. Boy what did we miss back then: A view from perhaps the most beautiful little café at the end of the world, known as “Teac Couminole Café” (which has to be Gaelic, I presume). From Tralee, the main road first leads you past typically Irish sheep pastures, vast swaths of hillsides and coastal areas all the way to the small town of Dingle. After or before a short stop there, do continue onto Slea Head Drive, because this really is the coastal drive you’ve been waiting for, with wide, wild open views upon the Atlantic Ocean ahead. Fascinating. And even more so, since again due to the low season, there are hardly any cars on the windy little roads. Check this out.

Von Dingle ...

From the small town of Dingle …

 

... sowie der Dingle Halbinsel ...

… as well as Dingle peninsula and its many “checkered sheep” …

 

... hinaus an die Küste auf dem "Slea Head Drive" ...

… we cruise out further onto “Slea Head Drive” …

 

... finden wir hier, wonach wir suchen ...

… further and further, until this little sign beckons us to stop …

 

... Stärkung am "Ende der Welt".

… for perhaps one of the best rhubarb pies I ever ate in my whole life. Must be the fresh sea air. As well as the charm of the local owner, an utterly sweet woman who is a wonderful cook and an artist all in one.

 

Weiter geht es über die spektakulären Küstenlandschaften Westirlands ...

Antonia and I continue our exploration of Western Ireland …

 

... bis wir schließlich in O'Connor's Pub in Doolin ankommen

… until finally arriving at O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin, where next to Guinness and dinner, we are treated to wonderful local musicians!

 

Three days prior, I have called Pat Sweeney following my talk with Cilian Murphy, to enquire about his “Cliff Walk” to the Cliffs of Moher. I immediately booked said walk, as well as a night at his B & B farmhouse, eagerly looking forward to the experience.

And what an experience it turned out to be! You have to imagine it like this: I honestly thought that our only alternative would be to arrive at the now huge parking lot, having to cross the equally huge “Cliffs of Moher World Heritage Centre”, before being able to take a few mighty shots of the Cliffs themselves, next to selfie sticks, dozens of Asian tour groups, and countless “Say Cheeeeese”. Horrible! But what’s the choice? After all, this is what all of the “most beautiful World Heritage Sites in the world” run the risk of becoming: Because they are so mind-bogglingly beautiful, they are also mind-bogglingly, helplessly overcrowded.

The fact that there is even a choice in the case of the Cliffs of Moher, is down to the boldness and determination of one eager, local character called Pat Sweeney, and his “let’s-just-do-this” attitude to development. He simply went on to open up a part of his private farm land, which touches upon the world-famous cliffs, and turned the venture into a business called “Doolin Cliff Walks“. If you, too, are feeling averagely fit, aren’t too afraid of heights and really want to escape the mass tourism by walking up and upon the mighty cliffs, you have but this one choice: Go with Pat and completely trust you are in for the experience of a lifetime! Check this out.

Pünktlich um 10.00 Uhr morgens marschieren wir los, Pat und seiner Kollegin Elizabeth folgend ...

Our “Doolin Cliff Walk” starts at 10.00 a.m. sharp, where we follow Pat and his wonderful assistant Elizabeth …

 

... über das Privatland von Pat's Familie, seinen Pferden Guinness und Whisky ...

… across Pat’s private farm land, greeting his two pregnant horse ladies Guinness and Whisky …

 

... bevor uns Pat eindrucksvoll erklärt, wie er "da unten schwimmen gelernt hat" ...

… learning from Pat himself how he, pointing down towards a part of the cliffs, “learned swimming there as a young boy” …

 

... es geht weiter bergauf: Insgesamt erheben sich die Cliffs of Moher gut zweihundert Meter über dem Meer ...

… before we continue our walk further up the cliffs: Did you know they easily rise more than 200 metres above sea level?

 

... und gleich neben auch mal ganz schön bergab!

And quite steep is the drop, too, so beware of your step!

 

Doch keine Sorge, dank Pat und Elizabeth's guter Führung wissen wir stets, wo es sicher ist und was zu tun ist. Und so eröffnet er sich nach und nach ...

But not to worry, both Pat and Elizabeth have you covered at all times, naturally sharing where best to walk or stop for a photo like this …

 

... der wirkliche, der wahre Blick auf die "echten Cliffs of Moher" wie Pat es nennt:

… until finally, we stand looking upon “the real Cliffs of Moher”, a viewpoint no one else but the ones who join Pat’s tour will ever enjoy. See how tiny the people in the photograph are? It’s fascinating, really.

 

Vielen Dank, lieber Pat, für diese unbeschreiblich schöne Tour!

Thank you so much, dear Pat, for this wonderful, wonderful “Doolin Cliff Walk” tour! I enjoyed it so much.

 

In Hochstimmung genießen wir später unsere Fish'n'Chips mit den neuen Reisebekanntschaften aus Irland ...

And what better to do than to munch on a well-deserved portion of fish’n’chips afterwards?

 

... bevor wir selbiges in Dublin's berühmter Temple Bar wiederholen, bevor es auch schon wieder nach Hause geht: Irland, Du wirst mir fehlen!

The only thing I can possibly think of, is another short visit to Temple Bar in Dublin before we go home again. Wow, what a lovely few days we’ve had in beautiful Ireland!

 

Have a look at the following map to find out exactly where our road trip took us: Perhaps some ideas for your next trip, too?

 

More #TBEXKillarney & travel photos from South-Western Ireland are here:

 

See you soon in beautiful Ireland! 🙂

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

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#TBEXIreland Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference: The latest from Killarney, Ireland.
Going horse riding at Dobro Prase Ranch near Novi Sad in Serbia.

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