After a nice 30 minute run up the lane from the castle, passing stone walls, an ancient church, a graveyard, and plenty of cows, we head into Killarney and the nearby Killarney National Park for the day.
First stop is Ross castle, which dates from the days of the Irish chieftains, and was used primarily for defense. We go on a short tour, climbing the narrow stairs, peering down through arrow holes and trap doors, admiring the stone floors and massive oak ceiling.
Then its on to Muckrose house on the shores of Muckrose Lake. Instead of another tour or a ride in a pony cart we opt to hike around the lake, a distance of about 10k. Its a lovely hike, but I find myself thinking about Sherry Ott, hiking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, 20k every day, blisters and now the flu. Get well soon Sherry! (she did)
We pass over an old stone bridge, past rhododendrons, moss, flowers, lake vistas, and general beauty. It takes us about 2 hours with multiple photo op stops.
We walk through the gorgeous gardens back at Muckrose House at the end, then sit outside and drink coffee. Once revived we take a short drive up the mountain to the spectacular vista at Ladies' View, so named because one of Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting exclaimed "this is the prettiest view in all the realm!" when she saw it, and she may very well be right. This part of Ireland is SO PRETTY! It's not the Rocky Mountains; it's small, and green, and exquisite. I love it!
We end the day at a quiet pub in Killarney. I have Irish Stew, and a beer. Ah.