|Fisherman Painting in the|
Dromhall Hotel Killarney
|Fisherman Needlepoint |
in my spare bedroom
Killarney charmed me - our stroll through the drizzle in the late afternoon didn't dampen my enthusiasm for this lovely little jewel. A few trinkets purchased and then back to the hotel for dinner and a spell in the adjoining pub later. With a short sleep we were up early with the usual routine of luggage out and then breakfast. Then we met in the front of the hotel for a Jaunting Cart ride to the Killarney National Park. Yes, it's a completely touristy thing but we just HAD to do it! We met our Jarveys (drivers whose families go back in the business for generations) and boarded our carts. Thankfully Favorite Youngest Aunt and I got into one with a cover as the drizzle had picked up into a steady rain. Favorite Daughters were in another cart and braved the open air. We trotted through the streets of Killarney to the entrance to the Park - the mist and the rain adding to the experience. The Jarveys are pure Irish humor, it's definitely part of the job description! Quips and jokes along the way, totally natural banter, kept us entertained.
"Can you see the mountains up ahead?" asked our Jarvey?
"No", we said.
Said he,"Neither can I!"
The Killarney National Park is 23 square miles of lakes and forest, a place for walks, bicycling, and horseback riding as well as the jaunting carts. It is a botanist's haven with virgin oak and multiple species of plants, flowers, lichen, trees, and mosses. We were surprised to be told that one species that is considered an invasive pest plant is rhododendron and a lot of time and effort is spent controlling it. Here in the US, rhodos are sought-after flowering shrubs! In the park, it takes over much like the dreaded kudzu vines in our American South.
|250 Year Old Melting Furnace|
|The Mountains not seen|
|Oh, the daydreams....|
Our turn-around destination was Ross Castle on the banks of the Lower Lake. Dating from 1500 it was "probably" built by local Chieftain, O'Donoghue Ross and later abandoned in 1649 at the approach of Cromwellian General Ludlow (those guys again!).
As we turned around and headed to the exit the views continued to impress.
|Another peaceful lake view|
It was a lovely hour, peacefully punctuated by the rhythmic clip-clopping of the horse's trotting along the lane and the gentle humor of the driver. The sites of times ancient and merely old in the misty rain inspired thoughts and wonderings about the daily lives of those who inhabited this land in each preceding generation. As in other places along our way this week, I made another small deposit into my pocket of hope for a return to see more of this almost ethereal land- and water-scape.
|Charming Thatched Gate House|
We arrived back at the hotel and traded our Jarvey and Cart for our Guide and Bus and headed off for our next, and the most anticipated, adventure of our trip. Would Favorite Youngest Aunt, at nearly 86, make it up Blarney Castle to kiss the stone? Watch this space...
There are three Lakes in the Killarney National Park: the Upper, the Middle, and the Lower. One of the Park's hidden treasures is the 15th century Muckross Abbey, ruins of a Francsican Monastery that was destroyed in 1562, I wonder who could have done that...