Then morning begins with oatmeal, fruit, coffee and a roll with delicious irish butter before we meet 13 of us in the hotel lobby to walk 10-minutes to the shore for our last excursion of the trip.
Irish Adventures was our host for a 3-hour kayak trip through the dingle bay. Mikey and David got us all set up in wetsuits, water shoes, and paddles as we walk down to the water and grab the kayaks.
It is an overcast day at 60 degrees and little wind, so we have the ideal morning for kayaking. After choosing an option of single or double kayak, we are off, launching into the water and off, following our guides slowly as we all get a feel for being in the water.
We paddle across the dingle bay, then hug the perimeter of the bay to allow for passing boats. Dingle has a famous dolphin, Fungi, that lives in the bay and we were fortunate enough to see him surface RIGHT next to our boats! It was such a cool experience!
We then back-paddle our kayaks into a small cave, in which we are all able to fit inside and just enjoy the unique atmosphere. The water is a clear navy blue, and you can see right down to the sandy bottom.
The rest of the trip is spent paddling back to the dock. We all thoroughly enjoyed the good upper-body workout, along with the landscape featuring the water, high cliff-sides, and green pastures.
Once back, we quick switch out of our wetsuits and zip back over to the hotel for a power shower and snack before we meet up with the rest of the group and hop back on the bus.
We drive 30-minutes over to the West Kerry Brewery. We meet the lovely owner of the brewery and pub, Adrianne, and she splits us into two groups, one for the tour and one for the tasting. She leads us past the gardens over to her microbrewery out back.
Adrianne started the brewery back in 2008. Using fresh water from the well just outside and fresh yeast and whole hops. Takes a brew day of 7-8 hours, followed by 4 days of fermentation. We see where they hand-bottle each bottle and keg, along with where Adrianne’a mother helps in putting on all the labels individually on each bottle.
She tells us beautiful story when asked, “what is your favorite beer you brew?” And she says, “having a favorite beer is like when someone asks, ‘what is your favorite meal to eat?’ When I’m cold and damp, I crave my porter. When I’m hot after a long day of work, I crave my ale.” A simple statement, but we all appreciate the close relationship and passion she puts into her beer making.
We enjoy some time in her pub with our two tastings. A family cat with no tail prowls around looking for some pats on the head and a lazy spot to sleep. Adrianne puts a short video on loop showing her and her family opening up a barrel they did a brew inside. As the first women to brew in Ireland, she is quite astounding.
We then go back on the bus over to the Dingle Distillery. We learn that there is 24 distilleries in Ireland with the Dingle Distillery famous for their gin and vodka. It is interesting in that vodka and gin are the same. The only difference is that gin has different botanicals added. We try their vodka, which is similar to Titos, both having been distilled five times. This gin has a special botanicals including juniper berries and won world’s beat gin award.
Following our gin and vodka tasting, she leads us through a tour of the distillery, and demonstrates how 16 people there run the facility. We then are lead back into the bar area for our final tasting of their whiskey. This was I think my favorite of the trip!
We then make a quick 10-minute drive back into town where we have an hour to freshen up before dinner. We get caught up on packing, then Paige and I meet the group down the street at Handcrafted Flavor Mask.
We are seated at a small group room and were served another luxurious 3-course dinner. I chose the crab avocado, lobster and prawn entree, and cheese board for dinner. This was absolutely wonderful and I think the favorite meal of the trip.
We are sorry to say that the kerry soccer team lost the game so our new-found fans have experienced their first loss. But no matter, our beloved bus driver, Martin, showed up after and joined us for a fun evening of food, laughter and drinks.
Time is both long and short on these trips. For one, it is short, in which you do so much with the group and get to explore and experience so much of the culture in only a week. But it is a lovely thing when you look back to the first day, and it also feels like it was months ago. How you’ve become so close with the people in your group that you feel like you’ve know them a lifetime.
I’ve had such an incredible time on this trip and I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful tour guide and 21 new friends. If you are looking for your next irish adventure, full of hops, whiskey, food, and beautiful scenery, look no further! This trip earns my high recommended!