A Bit of a Gap

It was beautiful weather today – sunny, just a few puffy clouds, a bit of a breeze. Seeing as I was spending most of the day outside, this was wonderful. Except, of course, that I forgot to put on any sunscreen. Yep, I got some pretty good sunburn on my arms and a bit on my face.

I was up fairly early because I needed to go down to the Deros Tours to find out which tour I was on today – I had booked both the Gap of Dunloe tour and the Dingle Peninsula tour, but I had lost the e-mail that told me which day was which. So, I had to go down early and find out which tour I was taking.

And then I walked around the High Street for a while, waiting for the tour to start.

The town centre of Killarney is very pretty. Killarney is pretty focused on tourism, and everyone is very friendly.
The town centre of Killarney is very pretty. Killarney is pretty focused on tourism, and everyone is very friendly.

The time came, and we got on the bus, and went up to Aghadoe to take a look at where we’re going today.

These are the lakes we're going to be boating on later.
These are the lakes we’re going to be boating on later.
The lakes are very beautiful from above.
The lakes are very beautiful from above.
There's no wonder that Killarney area is a popular tourist destination.
There’s no wonder that Killarney area is a popular tourist destination.

Then we were on to Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

This is the start of the trail up through the Gap of Dunloe. There are a number of men with horses and traps there to drive you through the gap if you don't want to walk the seven miles through the mountains.
This is the start of the trail up through the Gap of Dunloe. There are a number of men with horses and traps there to drive you through the gap if you don’t want to walk the seven miles through the mountains.
So we started up the gap, me and two charming Irish ladies, and the driver.
So we started up the gap, me and two charming Irish ladies, and the driver.
The steep walls lining the gap are studded with limestone outcroppings, looking both forbidding and picturesque.
The steep walls lining the gap are studded with limestone outcroppings, looking both forbidding and picturesque.
The first and deepest of the lakes in the gap, this is Black Lake.
The first and deepest of the lakes in the gap, this is Black Lake.
The road crosses and recrosses the chain of tiny lakes and rivers on similar rustic bridges as it switchbacks up the gap.
The road crosses and recrosses the chain of tiny lakes and rivers on similar rustic bridges as it switchbacks up the gap.
Looking back down the Gap of Dunloe towards Kate Kearney's Cottage.
Looking back down the Gap of Dunloe towards Kate Kearney’s Cottage.
The last lake in the gap is Serpent Lake, said to the be the place where St. Patrick eliminated the last snake in Ireland.
The last lake in the gap is Serpent Lake, said to the be the place where St. Patrick eliminated the last snake in Ireland.
At the top of the gap, looking down the other side into Black Valley. One of the most remote places in Ireland, with about thirty families living there. They just got electricity there in 1976.
At the top of the gap, looking down the other side into Black Valley. One of the most remote places in Ireland, with about thirty families living there. They just got electricity there in 1976.
The road down is a little less steep and far greener than the road up.
The road down is a little less steep and far greener than the road up.
And the horses get a well-deserved rest at the end of the trail.
And the horses get a well-deserved rest at the end of the trail.
The bridge to Brandon's Cottage, where we got to have lunch and board the boats.
The bridge to Brandon’s Cottage, where we got to have lunch and board the boats.
This tower is the original Lord Brandon's Cottage. It's not open to the public, because it's not safe. But it is cool.
This tower is the original Lord Brandon’s Cottage. It’s not open to the public, because it’s not safe. But it is cool.
This is just an awesome tree.
This is just an awesome tree.

I don’t have an interesting picture of the current Lord Brandon’s Cottage, simply because it’s not that interesting a building. It’s a little cafeteria, with a lot of picnic tables.

Down at the boats, pulling away from the docks at Lord Brandon's Cottage.
Down at the boats, pulling away from the docks at Lord Brandon’s Cottage.
The boats pass through three different lakes and a river as you circle Purple Mountain.
The boats pass through three different lakes and a river as you circle Purple Mountain.

 

This is Purple Mountain. On our trip, we brought along someone who lives in the valley, who wanted a lift to check on some sheep. Apparently, his family owns a couple thousand scattered over this mountainside.
This is Purple Mountain. On our trip, we brought along someone who lives in the valley, who wanted a lift to check on some sheep. Apparently, his family owns a couple thousand scattered over this mountainside.
The scenery is just gorgeous.
The scenery is just gorgeous.
The only channel out of the lake is through Coleman's Eye, a gap in the rocks about twelve feet wide.
The only channel out of the lake is through Coleman’s Eye, a gap in the rocks about twelve feet wide.
The river winds around the mountain.
The river winds around the mountain.
We saw a couple of swans, a couple of eagles, and a few herons along the way. According to the boatman, there would usually be more birds and other wildlife, but several years ago, someone in Waterville imported a bunch of minks to farm. When they inevitably escaped, they started breeding in the Kerry Mountains, and are a real problem for wildlife and sheep.
We saw a couple of swans, a couple of eagles, and a few herons along the way. According to the boatman, there would usually be more birds and other wildlife, but several years ago, someone in Waterville imported a bunch of minks to farm. When they inevitably escaped, they started breeding in the Kerry Mountains, and are a real problem for wildlife and sheep.
Looking back as we enter the next lake.
Looking back as we enter the next lake.
This bridge can apparently sometimes be underwater if the lakes rise too high, as they can if the rain is high.
This bridge can apparently sometimes be underwater if the lakes rise too high, as they can if the rain is high.
This bridge, leading into the big lake, doesn't get covered by water.
This bridge, leading into the big lake, doesn’t get covered by water.
Inisfallen is an island in the big lake that has the remains of an abbey/university from the sixth century on it. It was, apparently, one of the great centres for learning in Ireland.
Inisfallen is an island in the big lake that has the remains of an abbey/university from the sixth century on it. It was, apparently, one of the great centres for learning in Ireland.
We dock at Ross Castle, about a mile from the town of Killarney.
We dock at Ross Castle, about a mile from the town of Killarney.
Ross Castle is a 14th century castle. Ross is the Irish word for promontory, so this is the castle on the promontory.
Ross Castle is a 14th century castle. Ross is the Irish word for promontory, so this is the castle on the promontory.

Then it was back on the bus and back to Killarney. I wandered around for a bit, had a nice dinner at Quinlan’s – a fish place that catches its own fish. I had the special, which was John Dory with chips and salad – I’d never had John Dory, or even heard it, but it was tasty.

Walking back to the B&B, I grabbed a homemade honeycomb caramel ice cream cone. I had a lot of pictures to process at the B&B, many of which were not very good, as taking pictures in the back of a bouncing horse trap is not conducive to getting unblurred pictures.

Now, bedtime. Tomorrow, the tour of the Dingle Peninsula.

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