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.
Favorite meal or meals: An incredible meal at the Lime Tree in Kenmare. Pear Tarts at Petit Delice in Killarney and the most amazing soup I’ve ever had at Heather’s in 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: