Friday, July 18, 2008


As promised, here is the second half of the Ireland trip report. From Dublin, on July 5, we took the train to Killarney, in County Kerry on the southwestern end of the island. It's a peninsula with a lot of small towns hugging the coastline and the island's tallest mountains in the middle.

Killarney is a very touristy town next to a national park which contains a few lakes, including Lough Leane, where I'm standing below. We also explored the ruins of Muckross Abbey that evening. It's nice having such long days to see things. It didn't get dark until well after 10pm.

After a night camping in Killarney, we head out on the Kerry Way, a walking path that circles the peninsula.

We stopped briefly at the Muckross mansion gardens, then hiked on up to Torc Waterfall (pictured below). All of the streams here are a funny brownish color, not unlike Guinness. This is due to the extreme acidity of the peat and heather lands on the tops of the hills and mountains.
The next photo is Black Valley, where we spent the night after enjoying some hot soup at a nearby tearoom. According to the trail guide, we walked 22km that day.

You asked for sheep... you get sheep... A lot of the hike was through sheep grazing territory. They seemed to prefer the cold, wet weather. When it was sunny, they'd all huddle close to their stone walls to get a piece of shade.

Hiking out of the Black Valley was rather miserable and wet at we went up and over two separate ridges. Then, fortunately we had a sunny afternoon (pictured below) as we trotted on down to Glencar. Glencar isn't much of a town, it simply has a few very scattered bed and breakfasts, and the Climber's Inn (a hostel). We enjoyed toasted sandwiches at the Climber's Inn, played a game of cards, and then headed out to pitch the tent in a nearby woods. A 20km day.
The third day of walking was great... a mere 15km with lovely weather. We took the shortcut through Windy Gap which took us over a low saddle. Looking back, we had this view:

Looking forward through the gap, we could see the fields outside of Glenbeigh, a bit of the ocean, and Dingle peninsula in the distance.
We spent an extra day at Glenbeigh, so that we could enjoy the beach at nearby Rossbeigh. The strand at Rossbeigh is quite long, but naturally, rather chilly to jump in the water. We sat on the beach, ate sandwiches, and read books until it started raining.

On Thursday, we took the long walk (28km) to Cahersiveen. This area was a bit more populated than the last few stretches. The day started nicely, and we left plenty early so that we could take some long breaks.
The photo below is looking back at the beach at Rossbeigh, it's the long strand of sand sticking out into the water.

After a while, the day got a bit long. Then it also started to rain, which made it a bit unpleasant. As we went through more and more pastures, we had to climb up and over these ladders (pictured below) to get across fences. I can't even count how many of these we did... in addition to all the miles walked, this really tired out the legs. By the time we got to Cahersiveen, we were so tired, wet and smelly that we decided to stay at the hostel rather than put up the tent. After freshening up, we had some excellent seafood chowder and crab at a pub. We toured the town a bit the next morning before hopping on a bus to get back to Killarney.Below is a quiet street in Killarney, which is not easy to find. The town is really crowded with shops, pubs and people.
On Saturday, in Killarney, we toured Ross Castle, walked along the lake, and then hopped on a train back to Dublin. And then flew home the next day.


  1. It sounds like it was a lot of fun, and your pictures are great! I'm still a little jealous. Hey- you didn't say anything about yarn yet!! Where's vacation yarn pics?

  2. AWESOME!!! That's about all I can say. Except, thanks for the sheep:)