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My Favourite Drive: Kevin Hennebry drives the winding coastal road to Star Wars country

‘Kerry is there, all laid out in front of you, and you know the sea is close by.’

A quick stop along the road to Ballinskelligs.
A quick stop along the road to Ballinskelligs.
Image: Kevin Hennebry

Journeys, even everyday ones, can mean a lot. Kevin Hennebry is Head of Marketing at BMW Ireland. As someone with a passion for cars and motoring, Kevin told TheJournal.ie about a drive that meant a lot to him.

First up, describe the drive.

Twice a year at least, we make the journey from Dublin to Ballinskelligs in south Kerry, to my wife’s family’s holiday home. South Kerry is somewhere that’s had a lot of publicity recently with Star Wars filming on Skellig Michael, but the family have been holidaying there for years and now I’ve picked up the tradition too. I’m from Waterford, so I’m comfortable anywhere in the province of Munster!

The drive takes the best part of four or five hours, and with Friday or bank holiday traffic, it can be a long arduous journey. But once you pass the ‘boring’ part from Dublin to Limerick on the M7, you hit Castleisland, and that’s when you get the first flavour of the west of Ireland. If you stick with it, you’re rewarded with the view of the Kerry coastline.

skellig Daisy Ridley on Skellig Michael in the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer Source: YouTube

Is there a view or moment that sums it up?

After passing Castleisland and getting hit with the green of Kerry, there’s the run from Glenbeigh to Cahirsiveen along the twisty N70. It’s the final leg of the journey to Ballinskelligs, and as you’re looking over Kells Bay, you can see right across to Inch Beach, all along the Dingle Peninsula, and out as far as the Blasket Islands. The road surface on the N70 is quite good – well, until you leave Cahirciveen – so it’s a fairly pleasant drive. If we can get out of Dublin around lunchtime, we’ll usually hit that stretch around 6pm.

What makes it special?

I think it’s a mix of visual and emotional impact. Kerry is there, all laid out in front of you, and you know the sea is close by. That final stretch of the drive brings down the curtain on a long journey, and the end destination is in sight. Plus, we know we’re getting away from the pressures of work and home, and going somewhere we can switch off. It’s special because of what you’re looking at but also because of what you’re feeling.

More My Favourite Drive: Keith Elliott takes the scenic route to Wexford’s Hook Lighthouse

More My Favourite Drive: Colm Leahy takes a Mustang through Yosemite and onto Vegas

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