4.1.09 Ring of Kerry to Killarney

Killarney Travel Blog

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4.1.09 Ring of Kerry to Killarney


Happy April Fools Day!  In Ireland, after 12 noon, if anyone plays a prank on you, they are the Fools.  I was SO happy to inform the kids of that- they were insufferable today.


We enjoyed a twisty, bumpy ride around the northern part of the Ring of Kerry.  The touristy towns along here are just delightful and I could see where people would plan their vacation weeks around the quaint towns and gorgeous scenery of cliffs and beaches along the sea.  Quintessential Ireland!


We arrived in Killarney and stopped at the Fossa Caravan Park that true to printed word, opened for the season today.  Derry and his wife were extremely nice and helpful.  We checked in before heading off to the National Park.


Ireland only has 6 National Parks, so we were excited to be right at the Killarney National Park, just south of town.  It took just a few minutes to work around the southern ring of Killarney and we parked at the Jaunty Carpark.  A car park is a parking lot.  Typically, because of gypses taking over the car park, they have a metal bar about 2.1 meters above the ground to keep out higher vehicles, such as campervans. That is very inconvenient and inhospitable to non-gypsy campervaners and I’ve been less than intrigued with the idea.  These height bars are found at a majority of car parks for stores and outdoor parking lots, overlook locations, etc.  It does not make Ireland rank high on the caravan-friendly location hotspots around the world. 


Fortunately, the jaunty entrance car park had their metal bar opened and we were able to park for the National Park.  A jaunty is a Killarney tradition of a horse-drawn carriage ride, which was difficult to decline, but the banter with the NY Yankees’ hat-wearing jaunty driver about the Irish prices and the pauperism of the American tourists, versus the support for the horses, allowed us to win and to walk the 2 km to the main attraction.


The main attraction and the beginning of the Killarney National Park was thanks to the gift of 11,000 acres and the castle-like 1843 Muckross House.  More land was purchased (to about 25,000 acres total) and we enjoyed the lovely nature hike along one of the three enormous lakes in the park.   The tour of the house (16E for the 4 of us) was interesting, especially since so much of it corresponded with the ancient Kilkenny Castle.  Our tour guide, Patsy (I believe) was very nice and intrigued with our trip, offering other suggestions for places we would enjoy. 


It is interesting that Patsy would ask, “Wasn’t there any place you were afraid?”  Why do people think we wouldn’t be afraid?  Of course there were many places we were afraid, confused, frustrated, scared.  We just kept going.  I think that is the only key.  Sum up the situation, do what you think is the prudent thing to do, and keep going if that is your direction.


Anyway, we were tired by the end of the long walk back down the lane.  There was a car park just beside the Muckross House (assuming the metal caravan bar was moved), but we’d stopped too far north).  We enjoyed at our campground some foods that we got at the all-inclusive gas station:  a tall loaf of local bread, Kerry Gold butter (Patsy travels with her Kerry Gold Butter!), some smoked salmon, crackers, a wonderful Merlot (for me), and finally a dinner of scrambled eggs.  The kids already enjoyed their required daily baguette.  Doesn’t that sound healthy?


Jazy and I reviewed more travel info this evening- should we see lots more of the northern coast of Ireland and skip Spain?  Should we hit just the highlights of counties?  We do know from experience that moving too far and too fast = No Fun.  So I’m tempted to continue to dabble, sleep late, eat well from the local produce, meet the fine people along the way, and enjoy the sights.  This pattern seems far more rewarding than goal setting and tourist sight checking.


Speaking of tourist sights- we sort of get credit for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skelling Michael.  It is an island off the coast of the Kerry Penninsula, where monks lived in exclusion for a thousand years.  A boat ride is required to get there, where climbing the 200 foot mountain is the main activity, and which I did not see offered at all on our Ring of Kerry Tour (though we did see 5 tour buses today). 


Let me add one more item to Sugar’s long list of wonderful attributes:  Great gas mileage.  I haven’t measured, but was told that she gets about 22 miles to the gallon, which is so nice!  Ciao get about 8-10, so this reduction in gas costs, even if it is about .92 E a liter (x 3.8 = gallon), is terrific!


Must go, battery getting low. Saved 4 E tonight by not getting electric (21 E for the night).  Using 110 Inverter on 12 V plug in front to charge while driving when needed- works great!

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photo by: Paulovic