Hiking in Killarney National Park

Killarney Travel Blog

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Just inside the park entry

Now I had promised my self 2 hikes while in Ireland, and time was running out. I had not intended to do 2 hikes back to back...but you take what you can get. After a long (but interesting) bus ride from Kinsale to Killarney I decided I needed to stretch my legs a bit.  We arrived at the hotel in Killarney, and while waiting for my bag to be delivered to my room I fell into a conversation with the very nice young woman that was working the front desk at the hotel. She was hit pretty hard by all 100 of us checking in, but she took the time to talk to me. I told her that I was interested in hiking somewhere nearby and she directed me to the National Park that started just across the street.

In the park like setting of the park
  Sweet!!!  So I went up to my room, and once my bag was delivered, changed into something comfortible, grabbed my pack filled it with a water, and off I went.

As I crossed the street, I noticed the jaunting carts that would be taking us for a tour the next morning (in the same park I was now headed to). Cute was the word that came to mind when I saw them.  I dodged the traffic and crossed the street and found the entry to the park. Now this is called a National Park, but for us Americans it is more like Central Park in New York.  I entered the park thru a large wall, and walked past some sort of building.  The path was hardtop at first and then a hard packed gravel. The path ran along side a roadway for the first few hundred yards and then merged with the roadway.

It was obvious (from the road apples) that the jaunting carts shared this part of the path with the walkers, hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, small animals, who ever decided to head in this direction.  It was getting late in the day and while I saw a few carts ahead of me, I did not have to dodge any as I walked.

The park was created by the donation of the Muckross Estate in 1932. It was the first national park created in Ireland and has been expanded as other estates donated land. It currently covers approx 25,500 acres. As I found on my hike, there is a great variety of different types of terrain in the park. The park is also the home to the only native herd of Red Deer in Ireland.  (I did not see any deer on my hike, but I did see some of them the next day).

  As I said earlier, the park has a lot of different ecosystems. My hike started in a park like setting, that quickly changed to a large meadow.  I was still next to a large wall with the streets of Killarney just the other side of the wall. But, as I walked further into the park, the sounds of traffic quickly disapeared. I soon came to an intersection and had to make a choice. Continue forward towards a cool looking thatched house, or turn and hike beside a medium sized stream that was running between some low hanging branches of trees that were growing along the stream and path. Gee, guess which way I turned. My friend back at the hotel had told me to hike out to Ross Castle, and by the signs I passed, I saw I was still headed in the right direction.

I hiked along the stream for a while, and then the trail took another turn and headed into a combination of bog and woodlands.

The stream
I was now pretty much alone on the path, and the stillness and sounds of little critters was very peaceful. There were many small birds flitting around and in the trees and the hedgerows and some unseen ground critters also in the hedgerows. There were several times when I was tempted to try to get closer and get a better look....but it was bog land. I did not want to end up as a display as Bog David sometime in the far future.  I continued my hike and started to spot water thru the trees. And it was not just the standing water in the boggy portion of the part. It appeared to be a lake. I kept going and soon saw the castle on the shore of Lough Leane.  As has been par for the course on this trip....the castle was closed by the time I finally got there. I was reduced to taking pictures of the exterior and shots of the Lake/Lough.
Ross Castle
  As i walked around I found some colorfully painted little boats tied up in a stream near the castle. I think they are available for rental to go out on the lake when the castle is open. 

I finished my exploration of the castle grounds as the sun was slowly setting. There was a bit of a breeze kicking up, and all I had on was a fleece sweater, so I decided it was time to start back.  The hike back through the woodlands was just as enjoyable.  But this is were drinking water when you are hiking is a bad thing. Suddenly I had to pee like a race horse (or would that be a jaunting cart pony). And would you know it, now there were people on the trails jogging. I thought I would bust a kidney before I would get back to the hotel. Luckily there was a short time when I had the forest all to myself lone enough to warm up the bog with a bit of San Diego sunshine :)

I was headed back and decided I would check out the thatched cottage I had spied earlier.

Pups just want to have fun.
As I approached the bridge over the stream, I could hear dogs barking...but could see not dogs. I could not see anyplace where the little mongrels might be. Then I found them frolicking in the shallow stream. All in all it was an enjoyable experience.

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Just inside the park entry
Just inside the park entry
In the park like setting of the pa…
In the park like setting of the p…
The stream
The stream
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Pups just want to have fun.
Pups just want to have fun.
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Lough Leane
Lough Leane
Lough Leane
Lough Leane
Lough Leane
Lough Leane
Ross Castle
Ross Castle
Approaching the meadow area
Approaching the meadow area
Meadows overlooking mountains in t…
Meadows overlooking mountains in …
Leaving the meadow
Leaving the meadow
Another meadow
Another meadow
Entering one of the forests
Entering one of the forests
Getting fancy with the angles agai…
Getting fancy with the angles aga…
It took some barking, but the blac…
It took some barking, but the bla…
Cannon shot for Brian.  Good Dad!
Cannon shot for Brian. Good Dad!
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
Could hear lots of little crittes …
Could hear lots of little crittes…
Killarney
photo by: Paulovic