by Andrew Harper, The Harper Way
Our general manager recently took a family trip to Ireland where she had the trip of a lifetime. She traveled with family to the Irish countryside to spend two weeks exploring bucolic Kerry. While on the multigenerational trip, they chose to stay in a private home for convenience, but a visit to Harper-recommended Sheen Falls in Kenmare left a lasting impression on her, and has prompted a return visit planned for the spring.
Lasting impressions from a 14-day trip to County Kerry, Ireland:
Insider’s tip: After days of hiking and activity, book yourself a spa appointment at the Aghadoe Heights Spa in Killarney.
Overall impressions: Ireland is one of the best-kept secrets for adventure travelers. There’s mountaineering, hiking, sea kayaking, surfing and horseback riding to name a few activities. And for those who are less adventurous, there are ancient ruins, traditional music, amazing food and rugged scenery to enjoy. And it’s a relatively short plane ride from the East Coast!
Favorite moment: Climbing Carrantoohil, Ireland’s tallest mountain, with my family and friends.
You can’t stop thinking about: The beauty of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and the Gap of Dunloe.
What to drink: Green Spot Whiskey.
Daytrip suggestion(s): There are too many incredible day trips to choose from! Skellig Michael, the Dingle Penninsula, Blasket Islands, St. Finian’s Bay — the list goes on. Our incredible guide, Con Moriarty with Hidden Ireland Tours, showed us the way during the trip.
Surprising fact or tidbit: Between 800,000 to 1,000,000 Irish died during the Famine of 1845-1849, and an estimated 1.5 million immigrated to other countries to survive, forever changing the country.
Brought back/souvenir: A wonderful local farmer gave me his hand-carved shillelagh (a wooden walking stick typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob at the top), but customs confiscated it for being made from untreated wood. It was heartbreaking!
Moments from Ireland: