Packing for rainy with a chance of sunny spells
These are general tips for Ireland, we had a lovely sunny day in Killarney but not every day is like that
An umbrella or waterproof jacket are essential, I used mine most of the days I was in Ireland
Lightweight pants are a good idea, they dry quickly if you happen to get caught in a sudden downpour
Even in July, I needed a fleece pullover for a lot of the time we were in Ireland, other days I got by with long sleeves and others I wore short sleeves so bring layers.
Good walking shoes, ones that can handle a hill or two and mud are a good idea, I wore hiking sandals most of the trip but brought a long a pair of Merrell slipons with good traction A good map, like the one issued by Michelin, is a bonus when driving around the Ring of Kerry
A Rival for the Seafood Crown
As an adult my fleeting trips through Killarney were all business related, with meals confined to whatever hotel was chosen for the conference or meeting.
Last year and this year I got to choose my restaurants, and I am so happy to be introduced to such a delight of food.
Gaby's comes highly recommended, and when you are inside and see the wealth of awards displayed throughout the premises then you will begin to understand why. The food is the proof.
The decor is upmarket country kitchen type with plenty of stone walls and fireplaces, copper pans hanging from the walls, etc.
Service is both pleasant and prompt - though they will let you linger for hours if that's what you want. I started with the duo of mussels and crab claws - served in a twin platter with the first "nest" filled with mussels in basil cream sauce and the other filled with crab claws in garlic butter.
After that I could not resist the shellfish platter. I saw a neighbour at the next table indulge and so I just had to have one. The centrepiece was a lobster, halved, and presented with a half dozen oysters, a dozen crab claws, a dozen mussels, a pair of giant langoustines, a pair of giant crab claws, assorted salads.....I don't recall the rest. My eyes were way too big for my tummy. It would be hard for any one person to devour this platter.
Dessert was served at reception, at our request. I devoured a perfect pavlova.
As I dined, one of the head waiters introduced my sisters children to Larry the Lobster - there wasn't a sound out of them for the duration of the meal.
Oh yes, I'll be back.
Try a Jaunting Car Ride
In practically all of the touristic areas of Kerry you will find that the jaunting car is the mode of transport that is most practical. A jaunting car is, essentially, a horse pulling an open cart in which up to five passengers plus that driver ride.
The reason it's most practical is that it is the only mode of transport that is allowed open access through the grounds of Killarney National Park, daytime access through the Gap of Dunloe, etc. As these can be long walks and only for the brave and ernest hiker, the jaunting car is to be recommended.
Apart altogether from being practical, it's great fun. Generally you will get a potted history of the area from your "driver". You can agree both a price and a desired route with them in advance. I found the younger drivers to be both least expensive and most informative - many of them are tourism students and all are from the immediate area. The carts are all locally owned.
Ilnacullin & Garinish Gardens in Glengarriff
Glengarriff makes a perfect daytrip from Killarney and there you may see one of the most beautiful artificial gardens in Ireland :
Ilnacullin is a small island of 15 hectares (37 acres) in a distance of just a few hundred meters off the village of Glengarriff.
Annan Bryce, a rich merchant from Belfast had this garden built for his private use in 1910 with several buildings around the island and the so-called Italian garden in the centre of it - it reminds a lot of the gardens of places like Pompeji.
Ilnacullin is the old name of the island and all of the island is an artificial garden, called Garinish (sometimes also Garnish) Gardens, well known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all over the world. The island is open for visitors between
March 1st and October 31st
the rest of the year upon appointement !
Regular ships-trafic according to the opening-times !
When you are lucky you may watch the seals in the bay,
when cruising to the island !
Most probably you will need the whole day to explore the whole island !!
The Ring of Kerry
"A wonderful drive in scenic countryside."
This is certainly a memorable drive in beautiful scenery, but be aware of the narrow roads and blind bends. There are places wher tourists can "pull over" to let local drivers pass and this is advisable.
"The Red Fox Inn at The Kerry Bog Museum"
The Inn is situated next door to the Museum and is full of old world charm.
Visitors to the museum get a discount of 50c off an Irish Coffee.
The home of Paddy Brown, the local thatcher, a finer house than the rest in the village. Here there is an upstairs room with two beds and the cottage has two lights
"On the road on THe Ring of Kerry"
This gent was seated at the roadside with his menagerie of animals - note the cat on the sheep's back.
He was a real character and certainly deserved a small donation for his trouble.
"A Bridge with a view"
The town of Sneem on the N 70 road between Kenmare and Castlecove. This was certainly one of the most pituresque views on the trip. The village is a magnet for tourists and is a must stop for touring coaches, so would probably be very crowded in the peak holiday season.