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Published: July 18th 2017
Geo: 52.0579, -9.50747
Woke up this morning at 6:30 to the pitter patter of rain hitting our skylite. We dressed for the weather and went to breakfast which was toast and cereal, juice, coffee and tea. The hostel offers this breakfast and it's a good thing since it appears nothing else is open at this hour. The restaurants advertise full breakfasts but they don't open until 11:00 a.m. To us that's almost lunch time
After breakfast we set out to locate an ATM since some restaurants and pubs don't accept credit cards. The search was on since several of the ones we had been directed to were out of service. Finally we were successful and moved on to the bike shop to rent bikes for the day. Dermot O'Sullivan took care of us well. He provided us with new bikes, helmets, a lock, and a map. But before we took off there was a lot of conversation. Dermot showed us pictures of his grandchildren and explained what their interests are. He joked with us about being married for 45 years because when he was trying to give us change he was pulling money out of every pocket saying this way his wife has
trouble finding it all. Rich asked for a pump and a spare tube and Dermot commented that it was not necessary because we could just flag down any Irishman and they'd me willing to help. If they couldn't help they would call himand he'd come and get us. It's the Irish way!
Our first destinations were Aghadoe, Fossa, and Beaufort areas and a hill overlooking Kilarney. We were also searching for Bing Crosby's historic marker which designated his "Christmas in Kilarney" song. We didn't find any marker but we did find the Kilarney Christmas Tree Farm. Of course we got caught in the rain and also lost our map. After backtracking it was recovered but soggy and torn. We then returned to Kilarney for a short drying out and some hot tea.
At the hostel the receptionist told us in Ireland you can experience all four seasons in one day. Last night the entertainer at one of the pubs told us we had experienced summer in Ireland between 11:30 and 11:45 and now it's done!
Soon the sun reappeared and we were back on the road to tour Kilarney National Park. In the park we explored Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and it's
gardens. The gardens are filled with blooming rhododendrons in pinks, reds and oranges. There are over 50 acres of gardens with flowers all year. All of this is surrounded by a mountain setting.
Torc Falls was our next point of interest. Instead of biking we decided to experience a jaunty. the jaunty ride was like something out of a movie. We were driven through the park in a horse drawn carriage, only after our driver had carefully covered out legs with a woolen blanket. He was an authentic Irishman with blue eyes, red hair, a strong brogue, and a cap set on his head. He explained to us that he's been doing this for 45 years. He was quite talkative and shared stories about the park, the mountain climbers he meets daily, the park's history, the visitors he meets and his home which overlooks Muckross Lake.
We eventually made it to Torc Falls. He let us out of the carriage for a short hike through a narrow pathway amid conifer, sycamore and spruce trees. The terrain was covered with outcropping of rocks covered with heavy green moss. The overhead trees shadowed the entire path. The falls were dramatic and loud as
they cascaded down the mountain side. We returned to the jaunty and completed our tour. We were truly thankful we were able to do the second portion of our riding and exploration in the sunshine.
It was time for us to return to Kilarney in order to return our bikes to the shop before 6:00 p.m. Dermot welcomed us back and invited us to return again and asked us to pass on his good name in America.
All the riding made us ready for a relaxing dinner. Our choice tonight was O'Donoghue's , a lively pub in the center of Kilarney. The meal was exquisitly prepared and the portions were more than we could finish. We chose chicken stuffed with spinach and cream cheese and roast beef. Both were served with mashed and boiled potatoes, green beans, and mashed turnips. That's a vegetable dish we'd like to make when we return home. Everything was delicious.
The evening was spent in another Irish pub enjoying the local musicians.
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