|I hadn't planned on going to Killarney. From Caherdaniel I had planned on going to the Beara Peninsula, the next one down from where I was, but limited bus services and lack of time made it difficult for me to get there and spend any quality time, so I took the easier route and spent a day in Killarney instead.
Killarney is a fairly large city, quite pretty, but VERY touristy. But what makes it quite interesting is that it literally sits on the doorstep of a 25,000 acre national park with 3 lakes, some waterfalls, a large wooded area, and a mountain range ... well, they call them mountains but they're more like big hills compared to our good old Canadian Rockies! By boat, bus, foot, cycle or even pony cart, there are lots of ways to get into the park and leave the big city bustle behind.
Unfortunately I didn't have a whole lot of time to do any of that, having only 1/2 day in Killarney after travelling in from Caherdaniel. So I took a 1/2 day minibus tour which at least showed me the highlights of the area which, without boring you with tons of detail for a change, included:
1) The Gap of Dunloe - a 6 mile pass through one of the the mountain ranges (lots of people hike through the pass, but if you want to save your energy and legs you can hire a pony cart)
2) Kate Kearney's Cottage - Kate lived near the gap about 150 years ago, apparently was a bootlegger (rare for a woman), had 6 husbands (you go girl), and died in childbirth when she was 103 years old (Irish blarney perhaps?)
3) Lakes of Killarney - we took a scenic drive around all 3 lakes, lots of people enjoying the lakes by boat or canoe (sigh, wish I were on a boat instead of a bus)
4) Ross Castle - last Irish castle to surrender to Cromwell government in 1652 (I think I've now reached castle saturation point!)
5) Torc Waterfall - 80 foot falls (nothing exciting)
6) Muckross House & Gardens - built by Henry Herbert in 1841, includes 11,000 acres of gardens and woodlands which are now part of Killarney park. Henri was a well-liked politican (there's such a thing?) and land-owner who created lots of employment in the area (aha, that's why he was well-liked). Apparently they had a wake for him when he died that went on for 3 days & 3 nights; at the end Henry was the only one still standing (more Irish blarney?)
Anyway, Killarney National Park was very nice and would be well worth taking the time to explore by foot or bicycle. In my opinion, Killarney's charms are in the park ... leave the noisy city behind and hit the trails.