April 29: Showered and typed up my notes from previous day. Got my things gathered and packed for check out later in the morning. Breakfast downstairs with the Fosters. After calling and making reservations for the next two nights at the Abbey House B&B in Killarney, we checked out, went into a couple stores, and we’re on our way. Drive to Killarney went well with minimal rain and traffic. Stopped at pottery place out in the country; the owner was raised in Virginia, met her Irish husband of 37 years at a craft show, and moved to Ireland.
After making some purchases, we were on our way. Found our B&B, checked in, unloaded luggage, and headed toward Killarney National Park which is the second oldest and largest in Ireland. Our hostess at the B&B recommended we make reservations for lodging to cover the upcoming week end since the next Monday is considered a banking holiday so, during lunch, calls were made and reservations firmed up. We wanted to tour Muckross House and Gardens but, at the entrance, decided to take carriage ride to the Torc Waterfall, Killarney Lake plus others, and the Muckross Friary which is in ruin.
Upon returning, we toured the Muckross House which is a stately Victorian home built in 1843 and set at the edge of the park. Walked the walled in gardens with beautiful flowers, plants, and shrubs. Spent some money in the gift shop purchasing gift items.
Drove back to our lodging, parked our car, and walked into town where we found a pub for liquid refreshments, place for fish/chips, and more shops to look at stuff. At the lodging, lights out around 11:00.
April 30: Had breakfast at our lodging; best scrambled eggs I have had in awhile. Walked down to town center and checked in with Deros Coach Tours whose bus will take us around the Ring of Kerry. We shopped in a few stores and then it was time to get going. The ring is approximately 112 mile long circular tourist route which runs, clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin – passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh – before returning to Killarney via the N72. As we started around the ring, our driver pointed out the St. Mary Cathedral in town. Outside of town we circled around the MacGillycuddy Rocks mountain range. There were many picturesque villages; we stopped at Red Fox Inn around Killoglin for coffee, tea, and restroom stop. Entered the bog areas and saw the “soil” used in fireplaces for heat. There was a great stop where a sheep herder had different types of sheep and two dogs who demonstrated how to herd the flock.
At Catherdaniel, we stopped for lunch; while everyone ate in a pre-chosen restaurant, we sat at a picnic table and ate the food we brought with us. On the road again, we traveled over Coomakesta Pass and stopped for pictures. Waterville was another stop where we saw a sculpture of Charlie Chaplin in the town’s park with great views of a lake and surrounding countryside (there was also a man with his goat sitting by the hotel so Sarah and I petted it and felt its horns). On to Ladies View which was another stop; man there with baby reindeer and another playing the accordion. Back to Killarney through the oak woods of the National Park.
Got off the bus close to our hotel and, while walking, came across Killarney Brewing Company where we went inside only to find it was still under construction and not open. The gentleman we were talking to was one of the owners so he offered each of us a sample glass of their beer which was very tasty. At the lodging, I got rid of unnecessary items and then a walk to downtown to find Murphy’s Bar. It was located and we had liquid refreshments plus dinner; I had Irish stew which was quite tasty. Tom went back to B&B while Sarah and I shopped at Aran Woolen Mill store; I purchased a couple Christmas presents. Had delicious Rum and Raisin ice cream cone and returned to our lodging. Tomorrow we leave for Dingle Peninsula with overnight stop at Ennis.