Another warning (probably every day!) -- long post with lots of photos.
We loved staying at the Killarney Towers hotel.
Saturday morning found us boarding the bus after breakfast to do the Ring of Kerry – which is a long bus ride. Thank God for Dramamine, Ativan, and motion sickness patches. The leaders of the group were very kind to allow me to sit close to the front of the bus. As an aside, I thought the Ring of Kerry was "a place" - like one place. I had no idea that it was a big drive around the countryside.
The landscape and tiny towns along the route were beautiful, picturesque, and filled with stories. One of the very first villages sparked Mark's interest and he has decided that we need to buy a house in Glenbeigh. He is sort of serious. (these scenery pictures aren't in order the way we saw them - just so beautiful)
In Killorglin, County Kerry we heard all about Puck Fair. Every year a group of people gather up a mail goat and he is put on display for all to see. The town now has a statue of a goat, too! They actually crown the real goat as king at some point in the festival and there is a queen, too. She is a young school girl. For the animal lovers, don't worry -- they let the goat go back to his mountains after three days but the partying continues. The bars stay open until 3:00 a.m. I imagine there is a lot of partying going on during the Puck Fair. They know it dates back to at least 1613 but many think the roots of the Puck Fair go even further back.
Our first major stop was at Kerry Bog Village – 5 euros per person to see what a village might have looked like. They had Irish Wolfhounds and I love them!! I was sad to learn that due to their large size, their life span is only about 7 years. The Red Fox Bar was at this location and we did a small amount of shopping in their gift shop. There was a sign “Biddy and Molly Murphy Village Store and Gift Shop”. Once again, I'm loving the Murphys!!
The scenery actually grew more spectacular as the day progressed.
This is a monument to St. Brendan the Navigator. He was one of the early monastic Irish saints. The sculpture is of four monks in a sickle shaped boat with a cross. The boat is elevated on 8 hours.
In the small village of Waterville, there was a statue of Charlie Chaplan. Evidently his family vacationed in Waterville. The house is still standing on the shoreline. Alongside Charlie's statue, there was also a man playing an accordian.
We ate lunch at a roadside restaurant (Scariff Inn) – I had Irish stew – made with lamb. I’ve eaten a ton of soups on this trip. The restaurant was located on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is said to have the best view in Ireland. The restaurant also falls at the mid point of the Ring of Kerry. After lunch, we actually sat outside for a few minutes and soaked up some sun. Yes - Sun!!
We stopped in Sneem and walked around the shops. Dan Murphy’s Bar was in Sneem. The weather was spectacular today – sunshine and about 70 degrees.
One of the highlights of
the day was a visit to a sheep farm where we got to see a demonstration of a short
hair border collie (Kate!). She could round up 200 sheep on her own!! She
responded to simple soft voice commands and whistles from her master. This was one
of my favorite things of the whole trip.
|This is Des, our tour guide. He may|
have told us that he is a leprechaun.
He definitely looks Irish!
We stopped at Muckross House – This 19th century Victorian mansion is set against the beauty of Killarney National Park and is close to the banks of Muckross Lake. The house was built for the Herbert family. The house was completed in 1843 but extensive work was done to the garden when Queen Victoria was coming to visit in 1861. This is from the Killarney National Park website: However, by the late 19th century a series of financial problems heralded the end of over 200 years of the Herbert family at Muckross. In 1899, the Muckross Estate, encompassing approximately 1,300 acres of demesne lands was sold to Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness family. He then sold the property to a Californian, Mr. William Bowers Bourn in 1911, who gave the estate to his daughter Maud, on her marriage to Mr. Arthur Rose Vincent. They carried out a number of developments to the estate over the following 20 years.
estate, comprising about 13,000 acres, was presented to the Irish Free State in
1932 and became the Bourn-Vincent Memorial Park, in memory of Maud who died in
1929. The Muckross Estate became Ireland’s first National Park.
We made one more stop at Ross castle in Killarney National Park and saw fishermen and boats in addition to the castle. It was such a gorgeous day and families were out walking around. Once again, the scenery did not disappoint.
|boats to be used for fishing|
After a long and wonderful day of touring the Ring of Kerry, we returned to the hotel and did a little shopping before dinner. Dinner was lovely as usual.
|this was Mark's meal - I have|
no idea what I ate!!
Then a bunch of us went out to the pubs and listened to live music. The streets were full of people and we had so much fun.
Mark actually found a band playing songs by One Republic and U2 and he and I walked down to hear their music.
I hate to share this but I want to remember when this happened . . . we received news on this day that our friend, Don Dailey, had fallen in his home and was seriously injured. When we returned from touring, we found out that he had died. It was a freak accident involving their dog in the wee hours of the morning . . .and oh my goodness we were sad and stunned. When we texted with his sweet wife, Debbie, she encouraged us to have fun on our trip.
(I won't blog about the trip on Tuesday because I'll be participating in a blog hop of soup recipes!! -- check it out tomorrow)