Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ireland Adventures, Part 3

So, we continue in the beautiful town of Killarney.  Killarney, based on its location at the start of the famous Ring of Kerry, is a tourist town.  From the streets lined with souvenir shops, the multitude of Irish bars playing traditional Irish music (which I love), the menu boards advertising early bird specials, to the horse and buggies throughout the town, Killarney screams touristy.  But, I don’t always think that is a bad thing and after our evening in Cork it was much welcomed.

view down the high street

We spent our first afternoon exploring the town and settling into our apartment, which I LOVED.  We stayed at the Killarney Self-Catering Apartments, Rookery Mews.  It was about a 2 minutes drive from the center of town and it was perfect for families.  We had a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment which came equipped with everything you will need for your stay.  It even had a fenced in playground on the grounds along with a basketball hoop and pails filled with balls for the kids to play with.  The playground was suitable for all ages with a swing set for the bigger kids and Little Tykes house and swing for the youngins.  Unfortunately, after the heavy rains from the morning, Ava was not able to enjoy the underwater playground.

Killarney (4)
there were 4 units in each building, 2 up and 2 down

Killarney (6)
future basketball player?

loving time with Grandma
Grandma and Grandpa went out for an early dinner and came back to watch Ava so Dan, Brian and I could go out too.  We went downtown to Bricin Boxty House. I really enjoyed this restaurant for the great food and fantastic service.  We arrived and were greeted at the door by the owner who asked if we had a reservation.  When we told him we didn’t, he was immediately apologetic that we would have to wait 15 minutes for a table.  The way he acted you would have thought he was telling us that we would never get a table. He then entertained us with stories about the area. Aside from the hospitality, the food was fantastic.  We shared crab claws and deep fried cambaberet.  Then, I had their famous Boxty.  The Boxty is an Irish potato pancake that is folded and filled like a crepe.  Mine was stuffed with a curried Irish lamb stew.  I am still thinking about that meal.  If you are ever in Killarney, you MUST eat here.

The next morning we started our day with the Ring Of Kerry.  Everything I read said that this gets loaded with tour buses and can be quite crazy.  I learned that the buses begin at around 9:30 and travel in an anti-clockwise (as they say in Ireland) direction.  So, we decided to get an early start and stay ahead of the tour buses.  This worked out perfectly as we saw only one bus the entire trip.  The entire ring is 179 KM (or 111 miles to us Americans), but the distance flew by as you admire the amazing scenery.  Plus there are several quaint towns and villages to stop and explore along the way.  These pictures don’t even serve justice to the beauty of this area.

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry (2) 
Ring of Kerry (6) 
Ring of Kerry (10) 
Ring of Kerry (20)
Luckily Ava took a nice nap in the car, so there was no need to stop.  After lunch back in Killarney, we headed back out to the Killarney National Park.  You can spend several days just exploring this park.  The Ring begins and ends at the National Park.  So, this first part, The Lady’s View, we saw at the end of the Ring of Kerry drive.  The views were amazing and there were a few families there enjoying a picnic.

Ladies View Killarney National Park
Ladies View Killarney National Park  (10)
Ladies View Killarney National Park  (9)
Ladies View Killarney National Park  (7)
We had plans to visit the Muckross House in the park, but we would have to wait too long for the next tour.  So, instead we decided to take the hike to the Torc Waterfall.  We got stuck in a little rain along the way, but it was well worth the hike.

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (3)
The Muckross House- There are also traditional farms on the grounds, which would have been fun for Ava to see, but we never made it.

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (2)
Ava is all ready for her hike.  Dan was very excited the uncle Brian volunteered to take the backpack this time.

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (4)
Yes, that is the rain we got stuck in.  Of course it came while we were out in the clearing.

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (17) 

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (16)
I loved all the moss

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (23) 
Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (24) 

Kilarney National Park and Torc Waterfall (27)

After a low-key evening of frozen pizza and card playing we headed to Dublin in the morning.  I will write all about Dublin in the the last part of our adventure.

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