”May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam. And may you find sweet peace of mind, wherever you may roam.” -
We started the day with a good breakfast at our B&B in Annascaul. Susan had the mini Irish and I had the vegetarian Irish (fried eggs, beans, and toast). We also had coffee, juice and yogurt. I was very happy because the rain had stopped, and there were even breaks of blue sky. We left Annascaul about 8:30 and began our drive in the beautiful Dingle peninsula. The scenery was really lovely, with green fields alongside the Atlantic Ocean, mostly with small herds of cows.
We first stopped at the Torc waterfall, because it gets quite busy in the afternoon and Alex didn’t know if there would be room to park our bus later. That is definitely one disadvantage of these big bus tours, where to park the monster bus. The waterfall was nice, but quite small. The prettiest part of the waterfall were the many purple rhododendrons that grow alongside the waterfall. They grow wild here all over the place and are very colourful.
a few optional activities today in Killarney National Park. We could go horseback riding in the park, go for a horse drawn carriage ride in the park, or stay in the town of Killarney. Susan and I chose horseback riding. We drove into Killarney, to drop off the people staying in town, then dropped off the ones taking carriage rides (they call them “jaunting cars” here), and then we headed to the stables. We picked up boots and helmets, and were assigned our horses. I was on Joey, and Susan was on Ben. We got some basic instruction about how to get the horse to theoretically do what you want. I haven’t been on a horse in many years and that was Western, quite different from today. Joey liked to grab some vegetation now and then and once he walked me right into low hanging tree branches (he clearly knew I had no idea what I was doing).
The ride was so much fun, we both had a blast, and the scenery in the park was really beautiful. I just couldn’t manage to take photos during the ride, I was too busy trying to remember how to hold the
reins correctly, and I was worried I’d drop my phone, plus it‘s hard to take photos on the phone using one hand. If I had thought about it beforehand I would have had the camera with me because I would’ve been easier to take photos. We saw herds of deer (Ireland’s only wild herd of native red deer), and Lough Leane (meaning lake of learning, so named because there was a 6th C monastery on an island in the lake where the monks taught). The lakes are surrounded by natural oak and yew woodland, and ringed by the Purple and Knockrower mountains. A truly beautiful place.
We trotted several times during the ride, which was spine-jarring! I‘m sure we all were a sight, bouncing up and down on our saddles 😀. I was glad I had left my bag in the stable office, because it would have been flying up and down if I was carrying it, even cross body. We rode for about an hour, and I could feel it when I got off Joey. I was so glad we went riding, because it was such a great experience. It was another highlight of our trip for me.
And we were lucky with the weather, it was mostly sunny during the ride.
We drove back to Killarney for lunch, and we were quite late at this point because of the traffic (there is a biker convention in Killarney right now and traffic in and out of the town is extremely slow). Susan and I weren’t too hungry but we felt like an ice cream so we stopped at Murphy’s for a cone (I had Dingle salt and chocolate chip, and Susan had Dingle salt and Irish cream). It was really good. We wandered around the shops for a bit, then popped into a pub for a glass of Killarney ale. (One of our group told us they have an Irish friend who said a half pint is referred to a glass here, not a half). We also picked up a sandwich to have later on the bus.
We drove through the town of Kilgarven on the way to Kenmare, which was the start of our drive along a portion of the Ring of Kerry. We went through the mountain pass of Moll’s Gap, with views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, though it was quite misty at
this point so the view was somewhat obstructed. Moll’s Gap is named after Moll Kissane, who ran a unlicensed public house called a shebeen in the 1820s when the road was under construction. We then stopped at Ladies View, which despite the gale force winds and driving rain that suddenly developed, was quite a spectacular view of the Lakes of Killarney. The name comes from the admiration of the view by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during the Queen’s 1861 visit.
The scenery here was different from this morning, a little more stark, with sheep grazing in the rocky fields. We spotted a few rock walls here too. We drove for a couple of hours, through changeable weather (rain, then sun, back to rain) and made a bathroom/coffee stop at Moneygall. This is the town where Barack Obama visited in 2011 as his mother’s ancestors are from this area. The service area is called Barack Obama plaza, and there is a cheesy exhibition on the second floor (above the large food court) called “From Moneygall to the Whitehouse”. They are clearly really capitalizing on this link with Obama - Moneygall’s claim to fame.
It was a few more hours drive
Torc waterfall area
See the wild purple rhododendrons
back to Paddy’s Palace in Dublin, which is conveniently located next to our B&B, Anchor House. The bus actually parked right in front. It was about 8:15 pm by this time. We said goodbye to the group, and settled into our room. We went out a bit later to the Celt, a nearby pub, and enjoyed a pint of Dublin Blue and a Hop House, and fish chowder with a really good Guinness black bread. Susan had an Irish whiskey and I had a gin and tonic, and we heard live music coming from another section of the pub, so we found standing room to listen to the two musicians, who played traditional Irish music. I had really wanted to hear some “trad“ music so I was really happy we had come across this place without even planning it, and we really enjoyed the music.
We walked a few minutes back to our B&B, and I finished yesterday’s blog, and finally turned off the ipad after midnight.
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