Killarney - Day 1

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October 9th 2014
Published: November 10th 2017
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Geo: 52.0597, -9.50962

Another quiet one today. I was up and packed reasonably early. I went down to breakfast, Patrick, the B&B owner cooks a traditional Irish breakfast. Toast, bacon, eggs and sausage. I've yet to make it all the way through it. Every morning here I've had different breakfast companions. I guess I'm the only one interested in seeing more than the Rock of Cashel. This morning there was a young German couple and and older american couple and me. We were quite the chatty bunch today. We sat and talked about our home countries, our travels, where we have been in Ireland and where we were going to. It was after 10 before we made a move and to be honest I don't think anyone wanted to move. We were quite settled.

All good things must come to an end and it was time to hit the road and head to Killarney. It was quite a drive and the rain was off and on the whole way. The scenery just as pretty as always. The leaves are turning yellow here and mixed in with the evergreens it really is so pretty. Killarney itself is nestled in against the mountains and it is really beautiful. Not spectacular like Norway, but still really beautiful. By the time I got here I needed two things, the tourist office and a toilet. I found the tourist office first (unfortunately) I was hoping to find a good map for the ring of Kerry and maybe some pointers on things to see and so in Killarney. They had lots of tours but very little else and as I have a car now I don't really need to book a bus.

I walked down the street and found a nice cafe to have lunch in, not that I was that hungry, but I really needed to pee and they had a loo. After lunch and absolutely vile argument with the Sat Nav, I found my B&B. I must say I'm quite impressed. Its pretty swish and the host Eileen, is just lovely. She gave me a map and pointed out the highlights of Kerry. Who needs a tourist office? By this stage I was a bit tired so I chilled at the B&B for a bit and did some research. I've come here to do the ring of Kerry on the advice of several Irishmen, but as it wasn't on the itinerary to begin with I know almost nothing about it except that it is supposed to be beautiful. I need more intel.

Atfer I had rested for a bit I headed for Ross Castle. I thought I should take in at least one historical site today. All that is left of the castle is the keep and lucky me, I got there just in time for the last tour of the day. Lucky me I got to climb four stories on one of those spiral stone stairs cases. And this one was the real deal, none of those modern steps in place to keep the tourists safe, noooo most of the steps were original. Which means they were at uneven heights, which I now know was a defensive feature. The idea being that if an enemy did breach the gates and storm the castle, the uneven steps would slow their pace getting up the keep. It might be good at slowing down a knight, it is excellent in slowing down a Tracie. Additionally the caretakers have not installed a nice handrail for us scaredy cats, all I had to hold onto was a metal rod that ran up the center and use the wall on the left to keep myself steady. Which was fine going up, going down,not so much. However I think I have found a new coping technique. Follow a big guy down the steps. On the way down the gent in front of me was quite tall and broad. I spent the decline focused on his back rather than the massive drop to the ground. I made it down without freaking out.....much. Very pleased with myself.

So about the castle itself. The setting was awesome. As I walked up from the carpark I see a castle, then a huge lake, then mountains. Absolutely stunning! The first part of the castle was built in the 15th century for the O'Donohue family who ruled Killarney at the time. Over the next three centuries it was expanded and altered as it changed hands from lords to earls to english lords and then finally it was a military garrison. Finally it was abandoned in the 1800's and fell into disrepair. In the 1900's it was donated to the state under the agreement it would be restored. It was the last Irish stronghold to hold out against Cromwell. There was a prophesy that the castle would only fall if it was taken from the lake side. General Ludlow had ships built which could be sailed up the river to Lough Leane. When the soldiers saw the fleet of ships they were filled with feared the prophesy would come true and surrendered. I believe they call that self fulfilling prophesy.

After my adventure on those stairs I was a little shaky so I dropped the car at the B&B and headed into to town for a quiet drink. Its a 25 minute walk from my B&B to the town center so I had well and truly got my nerves back by the time I got there. But I had a drink or two anyway. By the time I come home it was dark and there was a full moon, spooky. But I didn't get attacked by werewolves so, winning!


12th October 2014

just need to stay off the moors to avoid the weewolves

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