Beautiful Killarney, Ireland

We’ve had a most enjoyable visit in Dingle town and exploring the peninsula. And now it’s time to go. Leaving our Benners Hotel.

It’s been a nice place to rest our head. Moving along, loading up in the bus, driving out through town, we are heading south as we continue our tour of Ireland. We’re driving from Dingle down to Kinsale where we will spend the night and along the way we will stop off in Killarney for a little visit. It’s just over 100 miles away, normally takes about two and half hours but will take nearly twice that long, taking it easy, stopping a few times, a few detours here and there for the scenery. We are not in any rush. We’re in Ireland and you don’t want to be rushing when you’re visiting Ireland.

In fact, we’re starting out this morning driving in the opposite direction. It’s a little scenic detour driving up the hills of Dingle up to what’s called the Connor Pass that goes across of the north side of the peninsula. It often gets cloudy up here as it’s doing today so you really don’t see that much in these conditions, but it’s still rugged landscape to have a look at. It’s a narrow, winding road, not so good for a bus, especially at the top where it gets even narrower.

So we’re not going all the way over, just driving up most of the way to have a look, turning around and driving back down again. If you drive across to the north side of the peninsula you’d reach the little village of Cloghan, which is a wonderful peaceful spot. They have some bed-and-breakfast there, no hotels, but a nice place to stay, and there’s a pub that has some rooms too. The weather finally cleared up and the sun came out on the beautiful green rolling field, so we stopped the bus so we could get out and have a good look. This is really the best view that we’ve had so far of the famous green Irish rolling landscape. With sheep grazing on the sloping fields and the borders of the wild ragwort yellow flowers, and stone walls, and some houses off up on the hillside.

It’s quite a scene. We’re still on the Dingle Peninsula near the little village of Lispole. We’re on the main road of the peninsula and you can see it’s a little narrow. The paving is pretty good actually. They’ve improved the roads of Ireland a lot in recent decades.

So, you could drive a rental car if you want to get around on your own, no problem, but it’s a little easier to be sitting on the bus and let the driver do the work. Continuing along on the Dingle Peninsula, we stop at a 3-mile-long beach, ironically called Inch. It’s one of the longest beaches in Ireland so this is an excellent place to get out of the bus, take your shoes off and go take a walk along this very flat beach.

It’s tempting to walk in the water because it’s just so shallow and gives such a beautiful reflection. You want to get out there to get the best possible picture with the clouds reflected down on the wet sand. Didn’t see anybody swimming out there. It’s a nice sunny day and fairly warm.

We’re here in the middle of the month of May. Continuing on south now, our next stop will be Killarney, as we pass through the beautiful scenery of the southwest of Ireland. It’s one of the prettiest parts of the country. Killarney is most famous for its three lakes, and the town itself is quite attractive. Killarney is the nation’s most popular destination after Dublin. People are drawn here primarily for the natural beauties around in the National Park, but the town itself has developed into a major tourist magnet.

There are quite a few shops packed into a small area. Those main streets outlined in blue add up to only about 1/2 a mile so it’s quite easy to walk through the center up and down both sides of the street. One of the most popular activities here is riding in the horse carriage with some commentary by your local driver. Oh (carriage noise). You’re going for a trip around the lakes of Killarney, and back here, sir. (horse noise) I’ll be the third generation of my family doing this, guys.

This is a jaunting car, sir, a jaunting car. Right away the route takes you into the park away from the busy streets of the town. It’s all part of the Killarney national Park. You can take a short ride as were doing today for about 1/2 an hour and that gives you a little taste of the scenery.

Or you can go for several hours, or half a day with your guide. There’s a lot to see in the area. Classic view of the cart with St. Mary’s Cathedral in the background, the tallest building in town at 280 feet, a Gothic revival spire up there, and a tea room with traditional thatched roof. I’m looking for a wife, yeah.

And don’t worry if you’re married, because any man’s wife will do. (Laugh) Back in the nineteenth century, the jaunting car was the main type of passenger vehicle. That’s how people got around. But today Killarney is about the only place you’ll find them. There’s some wildlife in the park. We slowed down and spotted deer.

It’s a popular route for bicycles, which you can rent in town. And then we come up along the lower lake, the biggest in the park. Five miles long by three miles wide, guys, a freshwater glacier lake, Lough Leane, the largest of the three lakes of Killarney.

Some great salmon and trout fishing out on this lake. Need a permit to fish for salmon but you can fish for trout for free, guys. On the other side of the lake we get a view of Ross Castle built in the late 15th century. And destroyed in 1652 by Oliver Cromwell. It was the last stronghold in Munster to fall to the invading English armies. Considering we only had a couple of free hours in Killarney, this was time well-spent, about thirty-five, forty minutes on the horse carriage through the park, and then back into town with a bit more time to explore.

Killarney does have nice wide sidewalks in the downtown area with trees and some benches, and the shops each seem to be unique. It’s not like going to a big shopping mall. This place has a lot of character. The center of town, marked in the red circle is the crossroads of busy streets: High Street Main and New. Cars drive down the streets, so there’s no pedestrian zone as such, but the sidewalks are nice and wide, it’s easy to take a comfortable stroll. If you strike up a conversation with some Irish lads you’ll probably end up doing a lot of laughing.