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April 18th 2017
Published: October 26th 2018
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We arrived in Killarney around 7pm, tired and starving after our busy day. We couldn't find parking at the hotel so parked a couple of blocks away. We headed into the hotel carrying as much of our stuff as we could and left the rest in the car to be picked up later. We checked in to the hotel and headed up to our room, discovering that we had to go up 2 small sets of steps to get to our room, which is grand if you're just walking but a bit of a pain if you have a stroller! We chilled out and unpacked and then got showered and dressed and headed down to the hotel bar for some dinner around 9:30. The bar was hopping, with crowds of tourists and a live band. We ordered our food. I ordered lasagne after checking first with the waitress if there were mushrooms in it. She assured me the lasagne was mushroom-free. Out came the dinner and I took a spoonful of lasagne and what did I find? Mushrooms. Loads of them. I tried to eat it but couldn't so I called a waitress over and explained what happened. I asked for a different meal instead and she was so apologetic. Next of all, the supervisor comes over apologising profusely, saying she would give me a free glass of wine. I just wanted my dinner! Then the original waitress came over to apologise, explaining that the usual chef doesn't put mushrooms in, but there was a stand-in chef tonight. She was very sorry. I didn't care. I just wanted some dinner! Next of all, they brought out my complimentary glass of wine and a plate of small desserts on the house. I was mortified! We had a couple more drinks but didn't stay late as we really wanted to get to the Skelligs the following day.

Our boat trip was scheduled to leave Portmagee at 3pm. Portmagee was a 1.5 hour drive away. We knew we'd need to stop for lunch and give Grace a bottle so we left in what we thought was plenty of time. We stopped about half way at a viewing point, had our sambos in the car and gave Grace her bottle. We rushed to Portmagee and arrived just in time to get on the boat to the islands. We put Grace in the baby sling so we could carry her on board, and she wasn't a bit impressed. She slept for most of the trip which was great, because whenever she woke she would cry! The weather was fantastic, the sea was calm and the views were amazing. We headed along the penninsula towards the open sea and to the Skelligs. The Skellig Islands are massive chunks of rock sticking out of the sea. The Small Skellig is home to many bird colonies. The larger island, Skellig Michael, was home to monks in the 6th century. According to our guide, they moved out here so they could pray and reflect. It looked like a mad place to live to me. We didn't get to go on the island as landing tours don't take place until May. Since the making of the Star Wars films there has increased the popularity of the Skelligs, the government are set to make restrictions on the number of tourists who can set foot on the islands. So we stayed on the boat and our guide took us around the island so we could see it from all sides. We saw the two lighthouses, one which is still working today. The journey back was beautiful, and we all snoozed on the boat after a busy couple of hours. When we docked at Portmagee we went for a coffee, and then we got back on the road to Killarney. It was late by the time we got back and showered and changed, so we went strolling around the town and found a nice Italian restaurant.

The following day we had breakfast and chilled for half an hour and then headed to Kate Kearney's cottage to walk to the Gap of Dunloe. We packed sandwiches and took them with us. At the cottage we had a coffee and a snack before starting the walk to the Gap of Dunloe. On the walk we met lots of people, some local, some tourists, and chatted to a few of them. The wildlife and views were beautiful; there were loads of insects, birds and plants to look at. We got to a spot on the walk where you can shout really loud and your voice echoes off the opposite mountain in the valley. Dave couldn't resist shouting "Oasis". We actually didn't get to the Gap! We stopped about three quarters of the way and had our lunch, we could see the Gap from which were we were sitting. That was enough for us. We turned around, conscious of timing and Grace's next bottle, and headed back towards Kate Kearney's. At the cottage, Dave had a pint of Bulmers and I had a creamy pint of Guinness. The sun was shining and Grace was fast asleep. It was bliss. That evening we found a small Indian restaurant which looked like it had just opened. The staff were very attentive and the owner kept asking us if we liked the food, if it was spicy enough or too spicy, if there was enough food there etc. We really enjoyed the meal but couldn't get out quick enough.

The next day our plan was to make our way up to Ballyvolane in Cork to see Sinead, Dineen and Bobbi. Before heading up we decided to visit Muckross gardens. It was another fine day, so we bought some lunch in the cafe and sat outside. Afterwards we took a stroll around the formal gardens but didn't get very far; we plonked ourselves under the shade of a tree and read our books until it was time to leave! Then we started our journey to Cork.

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