Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo Friday // Ireland: Day Four - Killarney

Welcome back to Photo Friday! I am continuing my journey through Ireland. If you missed the first few days of my trip, you can get caught up by clicking here.

On day four we visited Killarney, which felt like a fairy-tale town. We stayed in a quaint little cottage B&B just a few minutes from town center where we were able to set up a jaunting car (horse & buggy) ride to Killarney National Park.
Our jarvey (driver), Michael, took us on a wonderful one-hour tour of parts of Killarney National Park with amazing views of the mirrored lakes, Ross Castle and hints of leprechauns about. Michael told story after story, rich in Irish history and folklore. The tour was a highlight of our trip for sure!

Ross Castle was a mid-point stop for the tour, which allowed us to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery. There were many tourists and buggies about, yet it was still a very peaceful place to rest. We got to walk around the castle grounds and inside it a bit. The castle was mostly ruins but still quite a fortress.

After the jaunting car ride, we drove ourselves to another part of the National Park so we could see Torc Waterfall. The waterfall is not a big one, but it was beautiful and so was the hike up to see it. The forest was made of tall, straight, skinny trees with brilliantly colored leaves. Rocks of all shapes and sizes covered the forest floor and were blanketed with bright green moss. I could have spent all day in this place!

Our next stop in Killarney was Muckross House and Gardens. The house has some incredible history that I don’t really remember. J We took an hour tour inside the house then wandered around part of the gardens. I loved soaking in the rich landscape – a delight for all my senses.

Inside the house was a gift shop, of course, but this one was special because many of the products sold were made on site. We got to view the weavers and their loom while browsing scarves and sweaters. In another section, we were able to see the ceramics being made.

Later in the week my dad purchased a scarf for me as a souvenir and it was actually made by the Mucros Weavers at the Muckross House. I love it!

We ended our day in our castle for the evening. Yes, a castle! We were blessed to find a castle room to rent that wasn’t too expensive. It was such a fun place to stay with many rooms to explore and a huge lawn with miniature ponies.

Our rooms were not extravagant - comparable to a really nice hotel. But it was a refreshing break from the tiny spaces we’d been stuffed in at the B&B’s. Plus, I can say I’ve woken up in a castle, which according to one Irish travel website, is something everyone should do every couple of years. (Sounds good to me!) J