A camera is a must at Killarney and surroundings. Have a drive around the scenic route Ring of Kerry and take alot of photos.
For more information about the route, please have a look on my Ring of Kerry travelogue to the upper right.
A nice place, not too big. You get 10% off if you eat there early enough. Nice waitstaff, and on top of having good food, it's presented nicely too. I got the surf and turf. If you visit Killarney and forgo trying any salmon, shame on you. This place had the best salmon I've ever had.
The gap of Dunloe
About 7 miles from Killarney, the main road will take you as far as Kate Kearny’s cottage a very well known and historic pub, which is also a shop, restaurant. I will take this opportunity to tell you They make the best Irish stew I have ever tasted, (not including my mother’s of course). now its a mighty fine establishment, but Don’t make the mistake of ending your journey here, the best bit is beyond this place and most people tend not to the trip up for a closer look , You can take a jaunting car or go on horseback, but if you walk, you can take your time and explore the little streams and mountain walks. there are plenty of them, I have been here many times and each time I find new hidden treasures (on the purple mountain in particular.) During the first half a mile there are couple of steep hills but after that it levels gets easier. If you do take the option to explore be careful the mist can fall pretty quickly.
If you stay on the main route you will still see some of the best scenery in Ireland, go as far as the first bridge at least, ( pic 1 was taken from here.) If you go on a further 1/2 mile you will see a couple of houses one is a little tea house that serves tea and hot homemade scones (they’re still warm from the oven), the house is really homely like a trip back in time, and the lady of the house (maureen) is indeed a lady.
On further about another 3 - 4 miles and you come to the Gap itself, where the two mountains meet, if you don’t believe in god, your beliefs may be questioned here, logically I know this is a valley created by a glacier, but the after experiencing this place, I wonder if this beauty is really an accident of nature or is it the work of a sacred artist?
one things for sure, if there is a heaven on earth, its not too far away from here.
Now this is getting a bit far to really qualify under Killarney. Even so, it's quite possible to make a quick drive over from Killarnaye and see Ladies View where you have a splendid view over the lakes of Killarney and the meeting of the waters.
If you'll be driving around the Ring of Kerry you will be driving past this spot anyway.
Dingle to Bantry
"It Can't Get Any Greener!"
Day 4 - We last left our heroine dangling in Dingle (I just really wanted to say that.) It was still raining when I woke that day, but road trips wait for no one! After a quick B&B breakfast (with a lovely couple from Atlanta) I drove the beautiful Slea Head Drive around the peninsula which overlooks the Skellig and Blasket Islands. Along the way I saw 800-year old "fairy" forts and beehive huts, designed to protect the inhabitants not only from the elements but from the Vikings, as well. I could have easily gotten off track against my agenda there in Dingle, but the rain made it that much easier to stay in the car.
It seemed like a quick hour traveling southeast to Killarney, and I immediately fell in love with the town. It's a large university town, but also is the gateway to Killarney National Park. (If ever I would get married, this would be a great place to do honeymoon.) I spent several hours touring one of the large castle-homes in the park, Muckross House, along with it's clever gardens and grand lake walk. I bought some gifts and eventually had to leave as it was nearing park closing time.
As I drove away from Killarney, every corner I turned was just breathtaking! The Lakes of Killarney are stunning down below the drive, and the waterfalls alongside the road just as beautiful. This constant oohing and ahhhing made me very late indeed. It was dark o'clock and I still had nearly 100 kilometers to go.
And then our heroine missed a turn for the highway in Kenmare, a city at the head of the Ring of Kerry (aka the Iveragh Peninsula). I was darn near to Macroom (where Michael Collins was murdered) about 30 kilometers away before I realized what had happened. I tried to take an alternate route south which would have dumped me into the seaside town of Bantry. This route became too perilous (i.e., no pavement) to attempt crossing the mountains in the dark, so I had to double back all the way to Kenmare to catch my original route.
This didn't mean I arrived in Bantry at midnight; just later than I wanted. It did mean, however, that I didn't get to descend into Bantry Bay from the Ring of Kerry during the daylight. Something I'll want to do when I next village the beauty of Killarney.
Since the GSM phone had no service, I had to learn how to operate the Irish payphone in order secure my B&B for the evening. I must have been living right, though, because the B&B I chose was less than a minute by car from the payphone. And the sweetest little old lady owned the place. She showed me to my room, and then told me where to find a nice dinner. (Bantry was a whole lot easier to navigate than Galway, for sure!) I enjoyed a bit of the mad cow at a place called O'Connell's, then headed back to the B&B where I watched a movie on what passes for cable TV. (Though I must admit I became hooked on a Irish soap opera that came on every evening at 6:30 called "Home and Away." I do wonder what happened to Declan and his cancer prognosis...)