At the start of the summer Sean & I toyed with the idea of bringing Stanley on Holiday; its pretty obvious that I’m besotted with that little guy but what you don’t see is Sean is head over heels with him too so we didn’t want to leave him behind!
We discussed a car ferry to France, but, after briefly looking into it I felt shook at the thought of leaving him downstairs in a kennel (Stanley that is… I wouldn’t be so bothered leaving Sean down there 😜 ) and, at the price of the ferry itself so that idea was just kind of put to the wayside as the summer crept closer & distractions set in.
Fast forward a few weeks to mid-July & I realised that with so much going on in August we’d better get busy organising something if a holiday was going to happen- since moving to freelance work I’ve been reluctant about planning foreign getaways because work can come up at such short notice so, with that the idea of a little Cork/Kerry road trip came about.
My initial ‘ugh’ feeling about the planning part quickly turned to excitement once I saw the amount of amazing things do do & places to visit in that small section of our country alone…. I began listing what we wanted to do & what area it’d be best to stay in and before you know it we had our itinerary sorted with more than enough to keep us occupied for the week… next came the accommodation.
You may think that part would be hard with a dog in tow but in fact, there are so many dog friendly accommodation options if you research & think outside the box. We found several hotels who were happy to let your dog stay in the room with you, many amazing Airbnbs who were super dog-friendly & also found that B&Bs could be happy to accommodate well-behaved dogs if you simply picked up the phone & asked.
We hit the road after finishing work early for the day but did not anticipate the length of the journey that lay ahead- we stopped in a garage twice to grab snacks & let Stan do his business, both were about 30 minutes & with that it was 6 hours by the time we got to Castletownbere (… & I wouldn’t class myself as a slow driver). We checked into the Beara Coast Hotel who are happy to have dogs stay in the room & were super welcoming on arrival.
It was 8.30 in the evening at this point with Rain pouring & most places to eat closing at 9 so we opted to eat in the hotel which normally, if I’m honest I’d feel a little disappointed about but my parents had stayed here only weeks earlier & raved about the food (they’re really into their food too) so, this was a choice we were more than happy to make.
We did feel bad about leaving Stanley in the room after rushing up & only being in it for a split second ourselves but he was settled when we returned with a bottle of wine in hand (opting against going into the town due to the aforementioned downpour).
We enjoyed breakfast in the hotel after a really peaceful sleep (we live on one of the loudest roads in Dublin so any room not polluted with noise is golden!) before walking up the town to have a look around, we had plans to see a lot but the rain returned so we decided it was best to use that time to move to our next spot, Kenmare.
We spent time wandering the Wednesday village market in Kenmare & taking in the town, having a coffee & watching the world go by before we were back in the car to grab lunch in Strawberry Fields Pancake Cottage a short drive away, fab little spot.
After that it was on to Sneem where we’d booked into the dog-friendly Sneem Hotel for 2 nights, hitting the village to the first sight of sunshine all day & being lucky enough to sit at a ‘regular’s table’ outside a pub in the town meaning we ended up gathering quite a crowd of new friends as the sun started to set.
Upon advice we took the scenic route back to the hotel (stunning little walk) to leave Stanley back & head out for dinner but with all or faffing around the restaurants had just closed by the time we got back into town so the local chipper was the only dining choice of the evening…. turns out it’s quite a popular little spot & even has a pool table so we embraced the unplanned as we sat munching on salty chips on picnic benches soaking up the atmosphere of this gorgeous little town.
*Night 2 in Sneem never happened as we returned briefly to Dublin to attend a funeral*
We returned from Dublin & checked into our first Airbnb of the trip, this beautiful place in Ballingeary, an art studio converted from an old youth hostel with 2 apartments upstairs; one for our host Carla & the other functioning as an Airbnb.
Carla invited us in to her beautiful apartment for wine where we could’ve stayed forever chatting about her work & taking in the vibe of her apartment (serious decor goals!) but, it was late & we’d had a long drive so we climbed into our cosy bed in prep for another day of adventure.
I soaked in the tub while Sean started breakfast & Carla kindly knocked in with fresh bread & omelettes then hit the road to check out Gougane Barra (beautiful walk) & then hit Glengarriff to wander this beautiful town & take a boat to the simply stunning Garnish Island, we came back to the town & had a cider in the sunshine before grabbing dinner & heading on to our next location.
(When it came to restaurants we didn’t want to plan our days too much so we simply popped onto TripAdvisor when we started to feel hungry to do a little bit of research on the places in whatever town we were in.)
After a lazy dinner chatting to other road trippers at the tables next to us we headed towards our second Airbnb of the holiday near Ballydehob, a barn converted cottage off the beaten tracks complete with private sauna & jacuzzi. The drive from the main road to the cottage as the sun set on another beautiful day was simply gorgeous & gave me a lovely feeling about the place we were about to stay in… that feeling was spot on.
We took to the Jacuzzi with a glass of wine as soon as we got there & spent the night reading books in front of the stove before dragging ourselves up the beautiful wooden stairs to our loft bedroom.
Full look from Mint Velvet-
We woke up to the sun splitting the stones so hit the breathtaking walk right beside our cottage before heading back for a breakfast spread of eggs, local cheese & meats (provided by our host, the lovely Patti) & creamy filter coffee before we showered & were off again.
We drove straight towards Sheep’s Head stopping in the cute Heron Gallery for coffee & some much-needed cold drinks in the seaside bar around the corner before finding a beach off the beaten track & hopping in for a swim (much to Stanley’s dismay, he hates the water!).
We traveled The Sheep’s Head Way for the day listening to our favourite tunes soaking up the warm air, stopping in tiny towns as we went before heading towards Bantry for a dinner of fish & chips sitting on benches outside a busy pub as the sun went down.
We packed up or stuff & set off again after a beautiful breakfast in the sunshine with our lovely hosts, we chatted a little about life & work, this & that over coffee before it was time to say goodbye; we cruised through roads of all shapes & sizes before arriving in Killarney where we had a lovely lunch in the Lane Cafe Bar then headed on the our home for the next 2 night, Glenbeigh.
We checked into The Towers Hotel (*read tips section about this), one of the many accommodation options in this tiny town as, being close to so many sites seems to make it a popular town to set up base in, It was a gorgeous evening so we walked to Rossbeigh beach before having a few drinks in the hotel’s bar then enjoyed a meal with Stanley in the outdoor seating of Rumor’s Bistro (their seafood platter is a must!).
We spent the day road tripping from Cahersiveen (such a gorgeous little town) to Portmagee then on to Valentia Island before taking the coastal road to Waterville, gorgeous last day taking in so many sites on foot & in the car.
Full look from Mint Velvet
*I wouldn’t recommend The Towers hotel We’d booked this on a whim after needing to reschedule some of the days due to the trip back to Dublin but I wouldn’t stay there again, really dated hotel & completely overpriced for what they offer. I’d recommend another Airbnb instead (look a what we got only booking a week in advance! So many amazing options xx)-
I’d actually recommend basing yourself in Cahersiveen for this part of the trip instead of Glenbeigh as there’s only one restaurant & really nothing else in Glenbeigh whereas Cahersiveen (the next town) has a lot more to offer in terms of cafes/pubs/restaurants)
Have lunch in the Heron Gallery! I wish we’d been hungry for lunch at the stage as the food looked unreal but we’d just had breakfast, definitely try & eat there if you can.
There were only 2 things we didn’t get to experience due to having Stanely with us; The ewe garden in Glengarriff (what sort of garden isn’t dog friendly!?) and the Skelligs chocolate factory though of course there’s always the option to leave the dog in the car.
Don’t use booking.com when researching dog friendly places; I initially booked places that came up in the dog friendly search option but, upon further research I discovered these places not to be dog-friendly at all. Booking.com were less than interested when I contacted them about this. One place that I booked didn’t respond to my e-mail asking if they were dog friendly nor my phone call or voice mail yet would likely have had an issue if I rocked up with a dog in tow… not cool.
Use Eircodes! I’ve never used them before but putting them straight into google maps brings you directly to where you want to go… no messing with things not coming up/misspelling etc
Get a dog water bottle, essential for road trips but handy for any long walks in general.
Bring a two-port USB charger for the car… we only got one halfway through the trip & it would’ve saved a lot of stress trying to find places to charge phones or having phones nearly die while you’re using maps to try & find your place to stay for the night!
There ya go guys, really hope you found this post helpful xx