I slacked off on my rehash of Ireland. I’ve reached a point where I’m aching so badly to go back, I figured maybe if I toured my pictures and posted my memories then it might help me hang on. I’m planning on returning to Ireland next summer, which feels like forever from now.
Killarney was beautiful. My first day I spent wondering what was left of the afternoon through Killarney National Park. It was a cloudy, misty rainy day but it couldn’t conceal the natural beauty of the place. The lake spread from behind Ross Castle (right) beneath a low hanging sky, cradled on all sides by the mountains. The lone pier creaked restlessly on the rippling water, the last boat tour having gone only minutes before I arrived. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the Castle, for reasons unknown. It has been lovingly and painstakingly restored over time. The original structure, having been a financial burden on the landowners in an era gone by, had its roof burned. The laws back then (seventeen hundreds? I can’t remember) allowed families to own property but not have to pay taxes if the structure had no roof.
The mountains of Killarney are breathtaking. My second day in the Park was beautiful and sunny with a spattering of fluffy white clouds. The sun would peek through and light up the peaks of the mountains in various shades of ochre and green. The land could best be described as wild! Wildflowers were abundant, tall reeds and grasses growing from the water up to the pathways. The land was untouched here, the way it should be, and preserved for the enjoyment of visitors. There was so much to see and do, but so little time. The National Park is on my list to go back to my next trip.
Muckross Abbey was on the road to Muckross House (a grand estate). The Abbey was quiet, a time capsule of religion in Ireland. It was founded in the 14o0s as a Franciscan Friary and has a long history of violent raids and destruction, leading it to have been rebuilt many times.
Though there is no roof for the most part, the windows have largely survived the ravages of time. You can tell in the picture on the left how sunny they day was, the sunlight falling through the glassless chapel window and alighting the dusty floor. I loved taking pictures of ruined abbeys like Muckross. To the right is one of the many grave markers in the graveyard; I loved his face. He looks like he’s waiting for someone to descend from heaven so that he can play his horn.
Further down the road from the Abbey is Muckross House, a splendid Victorian mansion built in the mid-1800s for the Herbert family. It changed hands a couple times, at one point belonging to a Guinness heir. It’s strange to come upon it, because one
minute I was trekking along on my rented bike through the most gorgeous forest. I stopped at the abbey, I took my time enjoy being so surrounded by the beauty of nature, and then the fence started. Then the trees lining the fence, and then there was the house. It looks like it belongs on that meadow of unnatural green, nestled in the shadow of the mountain behind it. I did take the tour, but like many of the restored homes I visited, I was not allowed pictures inside.
The gardens were small, but grand. Asymmetrical flowers, a giant glass greenhouse, all behind the home and surrounded by the mountains and sky of Killarney National Park. It was such a beautiful day for the bike ride that took me there, and for wandering around the lands surrounding the house.
I just had to take a picture of this cat sleeping! It was the picture perfect country living type situation, lol. This little porch was on the shed that housed the office for the carriage rides. I didn’t take a carriage ride (why waste the money when I’ve got feet?) but I did love the cat.
It’s hard to pick pictures for this, because nothing can compare to the real, live beauty of Killarney. Though I took so many great pictures of the scenery, this post would be much, much longer were I to try to do justice to what I saw. I wasn’t able to do all I wanted to do, and see all I wanted to see. There was a pass you could walk through the mountains, and a famous cottage at the apex where you can stop and eat. I wanted to do that, but I only had so much time in Killarney. To the right here is a beautiful waterfall about a twenty minute walk through the woods beyond Muckross House. It’s not very large, but the different levels at which it hits the land gives it such a pretty shape. You could hear the pounding of the water long before you could see the waterfall.
To the left, a perfect example of how beautiful and different the Irish sky is from ours. It’s one of the things that really stood out in my time there.
I will be going back to see the rest of the magnificent land of Killarney.