The weather today was a little rainy from time to time, but nothing like yesterday. Plus, we spent the bulk of the day on the bus, on our tour of the Dingle Peninsula. After yesterday’s fun-but-somewhat-grueling tour, it was a welcome respite.

The tour started with a quick photo stop at Aghadoe, which has a great view of the lakes of Killarney.

From there, we drove on to Inch Beach, which is a sandbar in the bay. Even with the scattered rain and the cool temperatures and the wind, it was fairly busy, even if there aren’t many people in my picture.

We stopped at a farm along the way where, for four Euros, you could go see the beehive hits in the field and/or hold a baby lamb. My parents raised sheep for a while, so the lamb held no real appeal for me. But prehistoric stone buildings?

From there, it was onto the Slea Head drive. Here’s a photodump of spectacular scenery.

Then it was back to Dingle town for lunch and a little bit of looking around the town. I learned that Fungie, the famous friendly dolphin who liked to meet with people in boats in the harbour, is gone, now. Last seen early in the pandemic. He’d be over forty years old by now, which is not that old for a dolphin, but he’s stopped meeting his fishermen friends.

Apparently, he used to toss pollock onto the boats. Not salmon, though. Those he ate.

Anyway, there’s still a statue near the harbour of him.

And now, we’re back in Killarney, thinking about dinner. It was a late lunch, so we’re not in a terrible rush.

Tomorrow is another travel day, on the trains from Killarney to Kilkenny. It looks like we have to go back through Dublin to make the connection, which is not ideal, but what can you do.

A Gap in the Weather

Today, in Killarney, it is rainy and somewhat windy.

Also today, in Killarney, Penny and I took a trip up through the Gap of Dunloe and down the lakes of Killarney.

I’d done the tour six years ago, and came back badly sunburned. Looking at the weather forecast, I figured there was almost no chance of that happening again. The lovely Toni, who owns the place we’re staying and who had booked the tour for us (at our request) kept checking with us to make sure we had seen the forecast and still wanted to go.

Our thinking was that, sure, good weather for the tour is better than rain, but rain on the tour is better than not going at all.

Reader, there was rain.

The bus took us to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which is the start of the road up the Gap. I believe it’s named for a woman who used to brew and sell poitín – Irish moonshine – there. From there, you can take a horse buggy ride up through the Gap, or you can walk. Penny, having done the Camino last year and tramped over the Pyrenees, decided to walk.

I took a cart ride.

The horse for our cart, on the left, was somewhat… willful when it came time to put him in harness. The dialect of the drivers here in the mountains of Kerry is pretty thick, and it’s hard to follow what they say when they don’t deliberately slow it down to speak to tourists, but I discovered that certain short words of Anglo-Saxon origin came through quite clearly as these two gentlemen were working with the fractious horse.

Once he was in harness, he was all business, and eager to show off. We passed another of the other buggies going up, and made the trip pretty quickly.

Not many pictures of the trip, because it was cold and rainy and really, really windy. But here’s a few:

So, I made it through the Gap to Lord Brandon’s Cottage about an hour before Penny did on foot. I had a sandwich and rested a bit – at the steepest part of the Gap, we had to get off the cart and walk, to give the horse a bit of a break. According to my smart watch, I climbed 62 flights of stairs on that little walk.

And then it was down to the boars and back to Ross Castle. No pictures of that leg, because it was raining even harder by then, and the wind was a little vicious, and my camera was under three layers of wet clothes by then.

But we made it back alive, if somewhat chilled. Right now, we are in our room, having changed into dry clothes and warmed up some, and will be thinking about going to find some dinner in a little bit.

Tomorrow, we have a tour of the Dingle Peninsula. It’s also supposed to be rainy tomorrow, but not as much. Also, more bus, less boat on this tour.

Cill Airne

I didn’t post on the blog yesterday, because we spent the day taking the train from Galway to Killarney.It all looked kinda liked this:

We got into Killarney in the mid-afternoon, and went to my favourite place to stay in all of Ireland – Larkinley Guest Accommodations. We got a warm greeting from Toni, and she took us to a laundromat to get the laundry done that we completely failed to do in Galway.

She also made some recommendations for tours and restaurants, and offered to book us on the tours we wanted to take. After we settled into the room, we walked down to the town centre to scout it out, get some dinner, and pick up some groceries. Then, back to Larkinley for the night.

This morning, we got on the Red Bus, which gives a hop-on-hop-off tour of some of the main sites in the Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle is a favourite of mine. We got off here, and took a boat out to Innisfallen, another of my favourite spots, where there’s the ruins of a twelfth-century monastery.

Here’s a view off the back of Innisfallen, looking out across Lough Leanne at the mountains.

This is a section of the monastery wall with a big ol’ yew tree beside it.

A cool looking doorway in the wall, looking out at a different yew tree.

After we got back to the castle, we got back on the bus and went to see Torc Waterfall. It drains the water from a spring, called The Devil’s Punchbowl. The story is that the devil was so angry with the Abbott building an abbey in the area, he bit a piece out of the mountain and spat it at the Abbott, who was fishing in Lough Leane. The devil missed him, of course, but the piece of the mountain landed in the lake and became The Deviul’s Island. And the bite mark in the mountain filled up with water which flows down through the Torc Waterfall.

It’s not a huge waterfall, but it is very photogenic.

After that, we crossed the road and took a ride in a horse cart along the lakes to Muckross Abbey.

A view of Muckross Lake. Muck is Irish for pig, and Ross is Irish for peninsula. Apparently, the area used to have a lot of wild pigs there.

After the abbey, the cart took us back to Muckross House, which was closed for renovations. So, we walked around the gardens, had a bite to eat in the tea room, and caught the bus back to Killarney.

Now, we’ve had dinner, heard a little bit of live music, and are settled in for the night. Tomorrow is our tour up the Gap of Dunloe.

Apparently, there’s going to be rain.