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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Ring of Kerry

Enjoy the tradition and sights of Killarney National Park from the old mode of transport- The Jaunting

Car. Embrace the beautiful scenery of Killarney by taking a horse drawn ride through the grounds of the National Park to the majestic 15th century Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane.

Going through the different castles is fascinating. Learned that when they killed an animal, all of it was used. The meat was cooked and eaten; the hides were used for clothing or rugs and even the bladder of the animal could be stretched and used as a covering for the window before glass was used.

I forgot to include pictures of last night's meal.

Soft onion rings were served, too.

Smoked salmon

Caesar salad

Michael and I tried the full Irish breakfast which was delicious and quite filling. We started with orange juice, yoghurt, fresh fruit and toast. A hot pot of tea complimented the breakfast.

Full Irish breakfast

My mother would have enjoyed staying here. Our hosts, Eileen and Tim, love flowers,too. Floral tablecloths were placed over the table. Most figurines placed on tables sat on doilies. I find young people would rather use a place mat and what little figurines they have sit on bare tables.

The Ring of Kerry (Irish: Mórchuaird Chiarraí) is a 179-kilometer-long (111-mile) circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. 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.

Today, I found it difficult to describe the Ring of Kerry. Driving the route is like being on a roller coaster that is on a bouncy house. The roads are full of pot holes and ruts. There are twists and turns on the extremely narrow road. Just as you think you are climbing: you are descending. Before you know it, you are coming to a hairpin turn. All this happens while the speed limit is 100 KM per hour (60 miles per hour). The problem is that if you go much above 80 KM, you are in severe danger of launching yourself over a cliff. This isn't a road to travel on if you suffer from motion sickness either. I remarked I was terribly happy to be riding in the front seat instead of the back seat or on a tour bus. My tummy wouldn't be able to take it.

We had periods of downpours of rain, drizzle, snow off in the distance and short times when the sun would peek through.

There are few turnoffs along the winding stretches to stop and take pictures. I tried to take a picture as we zoomed by. More failures than successes. The towns you pass through are quaint, though. It is a place where you could catch your breath.

All the guides suggest you travel The Ring going clockwise while the large buses travel counterclockwise. It is easier to see the bus and try to squeeze by instead of having it in front of you. It certainly is not an adventure for the faint of heart. Even though this is not the season for the large tour buses, we still saw seven.

We lost count of the many bed and breakfast homes we passed along The Ring. If you counted to 45, you were almost guaranteed to spot a B& B.

The landscape is beautiful, amazing, desolate, barren, green, lush, unique, rocky, majestic, etc. And....also home to sheep clinging to hillsides. The sheep are easy to find as there is a spot of color (pink, blue, purple, etc.) on them.

It is also a land where leprechauns and fairies live. I'm almost positive!

Our first stop was Muckross House. Muckross House (Irish: Teach Mhucrois) is located on the small Muckross Peninsula between Muckross Lake and Lough Leane, two of the lakes of Killarney, 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) from the town of Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland. In 1932 it was presented by William Bowers Bourn and Arthur Rose Vincent to the Irish nation. It thus became the first National Park in the Irish Free State (now Republic of Ireland) and formed the basis of the present day Killarney National Park.

Muckross House is a mansion designed by the British architect, William Burn, built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the water colorist Mary Balfour Herbert.

With sixty-five rooms, it was built in the Tudor style. Extensive improvements were undertaken in the 1850s in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861. It is said that these improvements for the Queen's visit were a contributory factor in the financial difficulties suffered by the Herbert family which resulted in the sale of the estate. In 1899 it was bought by Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun who wanted to preserve the dramatic landscape. He did not live in the house himself, but rented it out to wealthy groups as a hunting lodge.

In August 1911, not long before the First World War, Muckross House and its demesne (the demesne (/dɪˈmeɪn/ di-MAYN) was all the land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants) were again sold to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian mining magnate. He and his wife passed it to their daughter Maud and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent as a wedding present. The couple lived there until Maud's death from pneumonia in 1929.

In 1932 her parents Mr and Mrs Bournes and their son-in-law Arthur Vincent decided to present Muckross House and its 11,000 acre estate to the Irish nation. Being called the ″Bourne-Vincent Memorial Park″, it thus became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland and formed the basis of present-day Killarney National Park. In later years the park was substantially expanded by the acquisition of land from the former Earl of Kenmare's estate.

You are only allowed to take pictures of the grounds and not inside the mansion. There are original furnishings from the time Queen Victoria visited. It is quite amazing!!!

Queen Victoria and Albert stayed at the mansion. Queen Victoria was afraid of being trapped inside in case of fire, so a fire escape was built outside her bedroom.

The rock garden area.

You could take a jaunting car around Muckross and the lake.

After passing Muckross, we came up an area thick with moss.

There were many babbling brooks.

Old crumbling ruins

Ladies View

Winding roads

Ivy winds its way up the trees

Stone bridges

Desolate areas and small ponds

Small patches of pine trees

Sheep clinging to the hillsides

Sheep in green pastures

The inlet waters of the Atlantic

Small quaint towns

The mighty Atlantic and the people and animals whom live beside it.

Had a wonderful meal back in Killarney. We both had the fish chowder and the fish and chips with a salad.

Salad with cold slaw, pineapple, spring mix lettuce, corn, carrots, pepper, tomato, cucumber and red onion. So fresh and delicious!

After the long ride, the bathroom signs were so appropriate

Before returning to the B&B, we went to the cathedral to pray the Stations of the Cross, light candles and write prayer intentions.

Another fantastic day comes to a close.

Will end with a little Irishman's Philosophy

There are only two things to worry about:

Either you are well or you are sick.

If you are well,

then there is nothing to worry about.

If you are sick, there are

two things to worry about:

Either you will get well or you will die.

If you are well,

then there is nothing to worry about.

If you die, then there are

only two things to worry about:

Either you will go to Heaven or Hell.

If you go to Heaven

then there is nothing to worry about

But if you go to Hell, you'll be so damn busy

shaking hands with friends that

you won't have time to worry!!

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