Europe

Kilkee, Ireland: Kicking Off the Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

I’m almost as wistful coming to the end of my Ireland posts as I was to actually leave Ireland. This country welcomed me with open arms and I embraced her right back. I asked Cory the other night if we could just go to Ireland every break for the next two years – I was kidding, but only a little bit.

Our last day in County Clare was a short one since we needed to be back at the Shannon airport by 4pm. I mentioned earlier that we almost missed that flight, and the reason we were cutting it so close was because of this – the Loop Head Peninsula drive, a scenic coastal route along the Atlantic Ocean from Kilkee to the end of the peninsula at Loop Head. The drive itself isn’t very long – only 45 minutes if you don’t make any stops, but the stops are the whole point of the drive!

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

It all begins in Kilkee, a charming seaside resort town on the bay. I found in Kilkee what I was hoping to find the previous day in Galway – a tranquil place to relax by the sea. The waters here are calm thanks to the protection of the Duggerna Reef, and during the off-season (September through April) much of the town closes up shop so other people were few and far between. Literally, the only sounds we could hear other than ourselves were the calls of the seagulls flying overhead.

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

If you ever feel like you take bad photos, just remember this one of me. Cory asks me to smile for a photo and somehow I end up looking like I’m in bad need of a bathroom break. I suck at taking photos by myself. But in all seriousness, I was probably being a goofball because we were having so much fun. We had the whole beach and coastline to ourselves, giving us the freedom to run and jump around and be as loud as we wanted without disturbing anyone else, except for the birds.

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

We took a walk down the rocky coast – Lexie jumping over every crevice between the rocks, and me falling behind because I was stopping to take a photo every three minutes. (I’m not exaggerating!) We stayed in Kilkee over an hour, which in retrospect is probably what made us nearly miss our flight, but I’d do it all again the same way if I had the chance. We just had to break the land speed record on our way back to the airport. No big deal.

Because I took over 200 photos from our last day in Ireland, I have to split the Loop Head Peninsula drive into two parts. I’ll have part two with pictures from the actual drive ready on Monday. That’ll be my last post about Ireland.

Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

Here’s a picture of the Loop Head Peninsula map we used to plan our drive in case you’re interested in checking it out yourself. They were giving special Loop Head maps away for free at the Shannon airport when we arrived, but just in case, it’s probably best to print your route out on Google Maps before you leave. There are two scenic routes you can take, of which I can only vouch for the one along the western side of the peninsula, but I hear the eastern side is just as spectacular!

Also, if you’re looking for a place to get lunch, there’s a great little cafe in Kilkee with a view of the beach called The Strand Bistro where we got soup and sandwiches on our way back through to the airport. We were lucky to find something open during the off-season, but during the summer months I’m sure it’s much easier!

Click Here For Part Two: The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

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Kilkee, Ireland: The Beginning Of The Loop Head Peninsula Drive

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  • Sara Louise
    June 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! It never ceases to amaze me how much beauty there is out there.
    On a completely unrelated note, I was wondering what Lexie’s favorite place from all of your travels has been? Does she have the travel bug too?

    • Sarah Shumate
      June 6, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      She LOVES to travel as long as we don’t spend too much time inside places like museums and churches. I try to have a good mixture of things we do so that she stays happy. :)

      Ireland has been her favorite so far. It was all of our favorites, actually. I think she liked it best, though, because we were outside the whole time. She’s the outdoorsy type, like her parents. :)

  • Mandy Southgate
    May 21, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Oh, thank you for nearly missing your flight! This is really beautiful scenery and I think I would have Ben as gleeful as you in an abandoned place like that!

  • Kate
    May 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Delighted you enjoyed your visit to County Clare..I was born in Querrin which is on the Loop Head Peninsula. Love all your pictures …..it is strange but when I was growing up there I never saw the beauty of the place,but now when I go back and look out at the shannon river I realise how beautiful it really is.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      I am guilty of the same! When I was growing up, I never noticed how lovely the Tennessee countryside is or how beautiful the mountains in the eastern part of the state are. I was around them so often, I suppose I became immune to their beauty, but I don’t take them for granted now! Every time I go back home, I fall in love with my home state all over again! :)

  • Jo
    May 20, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    That is such a funny picture!

  • Emmymom
    May 19, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Sounds like the off season is a great time to go. Oh and I totally know the posing rules- as I instruct others what to do when I am taking their pictures- but am amazed at how infrequently I follow the rules and just end up looking all weird in pictures.

  • Stacie Stamper
    May 19, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    What a wonderful view for a drive. I have friends who have a blugerass band called County Clare, I have to ask them if that has a story with Irish roots.

  • Anna
    May 18, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Haaaa your bathroom break photo reminds me of my attempts to get into the river water by sticking my butt in slowly. Jono said I looked like I was peeing in the river. The water and the area looks beautiful and you guys always look like you’re having a blast.

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    May 18, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Awww! Gorgeous!!

  • Melanie Fontaine
    May 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Your travel recollections of Ireland make me want to hop on a plane immediately! It just looks like such a beautiful country! And I can tell by the way you write about this country, just how much you loved it! :)

  • Katrin
    May 18, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Haha I love that picture of you! So cute! And you make me fall in love with Ireland more and more!

  • rorybore
    May 17, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    the one where she is jumping – amazing shot!

    and can I tell you how much I like door shots? I could seriously get excited about traveling around the world just to photograph cool and interesting doors.

  • andrea
    May 16, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Great pictures! I have been eh about our upcoming Ireland vacation (next week, yikes) but seeing your pictures is helping get me in the Irish mood ;)

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 18, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      How can you feel “eh” about Ireland?! :) I think you’re going to love it! I hope the weather stays nice for you! I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip – how long will you be over this way?

      • andrea
        May 18, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        I know, I know. But this is my 6th trip to Ireland so it wasn’t my first choice, I love it but I wanted to explore some other places, like Croatia :) But it is my kids first time, and my in laws first time (they live in England, so that is crazy to me!). I know it will be fun! We are in Ireland for 5 days and then the UK for 10 I think?

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    May 16, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    We loved that drive! I’d go do it again!

  • Nicole @ Treasure Tromp
    May 16, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    beautiful. I’m dying to get out there one day. looking forward to part 2!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    May 16, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Amazing!! What a way to explore Ireland. I think next time I go, hiring a car is the way to go. Love the photo of you by yourself haha – you look like you’re having fun, that’s the main thing ;)

  • Joyce Fetter
    May 16, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    I completely understand what you mean about the relaxing city escapes while living in London. We felt the same way about our Pembrokeshire Wales trip as well as our Dartmore Devon trip. I swear I will return to both places some day!

  • Jenn
    May 16, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    That looks like such a great drive! I so want to see the dramatic Irish coastline!