Reconnecting with Kerry, visiting Killarney National Park, Ballyheigue, Derrynane and Inch Beach

by - Monday, November 08, 2021

We stayed in Kerry in September.  It was in fact a holiday planned for much earlier in the year and with both sets of grandparents but covid got in the way of this, like so many other things! Anyway, postponement was ok too and we timed it to coincide with Síomha's birthday which was nice.

We stayed in the Gleneagle Apartments in Killarney which was spacious and clean and a perfect base for visiting all around.  Kerry always has a special place in my heart as this is where my Dad was born and we spent many summer holidays as kids in Ballyheigue.  This was in the days when parental supervision was a bit of an optional extra and I've vivid memories of heading out with my brother and jumping down the steps to the beach and spending what felt like hours exploring the rock pools - something which I can never resist even to this day.  Ballyheigue is also the place where my Dad's ashes are scattered. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn't there at that scattering of the ashes and never really had a chance to mark the occasion or create a special ceremony. So for me visiting Ballyheigue felt a little bit like a pilgrimage of sorts, a chance to reconnect with a place that I shared with my Dad at one point in time. It felt strange and sad in some ways. Landscapes and places become fixed in our head when they are memories, but of course time moves on and things change and somehow that felt like a big loss too. However, one thing that never changes is the sea and it did feel special to be there. I also reconnected with my Uncle whom I hadn't seen in a very long time but that's a story for another day sometime in the future.

Ballyheigue Beach

Seaweed Ballyheigue Beach

Rocks Ballyheigue Beach

Mother and daughter Ballyheigue Beach

Grandfather and granddaughter at beach

It was of course also lovely to be able to introduce my own family to Ballyheigue. 

We went to Killarney National Park the following day and again, it's a place I remember so well from my childhood and I never fail to be blown away by the beauty of it.

Cliona Siomha Muckross

Killarney National Park

Horse at Killarney National Park

Muckross House and Tree

Lakeview Killarney National Park

There's something magnificent about the landscape in Kerry. Donegal always feels so open to me but Kerry somehow makes me feel like there might be giants behind the mountains and trolls under bridges. There is a kind of ancient power here that I always feel very strongly, as if the landscape is just tolerating the intrusion of us puny humans. This I felt keenly when we drove from Killarney to Derrynane, with the lush green mountains looming over us.


Derrynane beach is utterly incredible, it really is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I've long followed Wild Derrynane on Facebook and I'm a big fan of the fantastic photography and love of nature on the page so it was great to see it in person. Mara loved the waves and it was so quiet and stunning to look at.

Jumping in the waves Derrynane Beach

Derrynane Beach Kerry

The rocks and sea Derrynane Beach

We didn't visit Derrynane house, the home of Daniel O'Connell but that's right beside the beach so the two can easily be combined.
Inch beach was another place we went to - and even had a swim there. 

Siomha and Mara Inch Beach

Sea at Inch Beach Kerry

That was actually also the day of Síomha's birthday and we went out later that night to The Lane Bar at the Ross and I highly recommend this place. It had the most gorgeous vegan food and absolutely delicious cocktails. It was quiet when we were there which was great (not sure what it's like at full season) and the service was great, unobtrusive and fast. Really loved the food there!

Cocktail at the Lane Bar Killarney

I have to confess that the thought of Killarney during summer season is off putting to me, I hate crowds and just feel overwhelmed and cranky so visiting at the end of September was actually perfect, there were still visitors but it was fine and the weather was grand too. Best of all, I got to hang out with my little granddaughter :)

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