Out on a jaunt
I’m glad to report that the Road Trip reserve supplies are holding up well here in Killarney. The huge bag of assorted mint humbugs are is steadily emptying, the bag of wires and cables has so far proved totally useless in connecting Ellis’ ipod to either of the cars though. The Benylin was replenished today, which hopefully means my presence won’t be heard from quite so much of a distance. Yes, my “holiday cough” is proving pretty resistant to all efforts right now.
For this, our “bonus day” here, we’d sought the advice of Padraig, the concierge for the best way to see some of the area. He laid out a framework for the day which we followed almost to the letter, starting at Ross Castle, just up the lake from our hotel.
Now, Padraig had recommended we hire a boat for ourselves rather than take one of the larger, scheduled services but looking at the motley assortment of leaky tubs moored along the riverside, we began to question his judgement. Surely not?
Thankfully, as soon as we turned the corner our fears were dispelled. Charlie, avid Liverpool FC supporter and owner of The Otter introduced himself and offered to take us up the lake taking exactly the route Padraig had suggested. It could all have been planned!
In a short time, having donned life jackets and settled ourselves into the spacious Otter, we were passing by our hotel, sending positive and appreciative vibes to Padraig for such a brilliant suggestion. Another overcast day, but no matter, we were out in the open and enjoying the brisk lake breezes.
Here and there, we spotted folks out and about around the lake too. We’re in the Killarney National Park and there are pathways and tracks all over.
Enjoying Charlie’s lively chatter about life, Liverpool and the Lake Leane, we were soon approaching the Bricin Bridge.
Through the other side, we spotted Dinis Cottage and we were glad that Charlie steered The Otter to the jetty so that we could go and take a closer look.
Whilst he enjoyed “a coffee and a valium”, we went inside and spent a delightful ten minutes chatting to the three women running the coffee shop there. They pointed out the window panes, autographed by generations of visitors to the cottage since the 18th century and sent us off again armed with hot drinks and a smile on our faces.
“The Meeting of the Waters” is a small network of water channels which join the three lakes. Rather shallower than the lake itself, we needed to spread ourselves about a bit in order to get through. Though I noticed a pole in the bottom of the boat, I hardly thought Charlie would be quite so eager to get out and push as our boatman in Burma had been a few months ago!
The water was so still, the air so peaceful as we chugged our way though, past another heritage bridge and a heron standing so still, it would have been easy to mistake it for a garden ornament.
Our cameras were working hard!
Back out on the lake, though, things were getting a little squally. We were glad that we were nearly back at Ross Castle and not just setting out on our adventure! We were also glad we’d had the boat (and Charlie) to ourselves, to do exactly as we wished.
Back at the Castle, Charlie probably needed to go and have a lie down and having thanked him for a great trip, we thought we’d take a look inside. Sadly, we’d just missed a tour and with the next one not scheduled for almost an hour, we decided to give it a miss and continue straight on to our next venue.
We’d seen Muckross House from the lake and Charlie had told us the story of the owners and their troubles, following a visit from Queen Victoria. No expense had been spared in planning and preparation for her visit in the six years preceding her arrival though Prince Albert’s untimely death shortly afterwards meant that the poor Herbert Family were soon forgotten and all their efforts to curry favour with the Royal family came to nought. Bankruptcy soon followed.
We learned more about the house as we toured inside with Horatio, our eloquent and very energetic guide. No photos allowed, unfortunately, and sadly, none on the website either, so you will simply have to imagine the Victorian country house interiors until you can visit to see for yourself!
After a quick cuppa, we thought we’d make our way to the Jaunting Cars to sort out the last part of our adventure. As we walked in front of the house, though, a soft Irish voice asked “Would you be interested in a ride to the falls?” Patrick led us to his Jaunting Car and introduced us to the second Charlie of the day – his horse – before helping us into the car and offering us warm, woollen knee blankets. So comfortable and cosy!
Off we set, through the woods towards the waterfall, along a well travelled path which was thankfully smooth and comfortable to ride. We chatted to Patrick as we travelled, enjoying his gentle Irish humour in the same way as we had enjoyed Charlie’s this morning.
When there was a clearing in the trees, something worth noting or photographing, Patrick would bring the car to a stop and give us chance to get the cameras going. The lake was looking particularly lovely in the late afternoon.
A little further, we joined another jaunting car and passengers to snap this red deer enjoying an afternoon snack.
We stopped for long enough to spot the female deer (and sing the song) too.
But it was himself who captured the attention, needless to say.
Arriving at the falls, Patrick suggested we go and take a closer look, issuing the Irish advice of “Take your time…but don’t be long”!!
On the return journey, we looked for the deer once more but they were gone.
We simply sat back and enjoyed the ride. What fun!
We were soon back at Muckross and once Charlie had had a drink, Patrick jumped down and took photos for us. As he did, a small boy came along to ask about “this stinky horse” (!) and we smiled as we listened to the conversation between the two of them.
Last stop of the day then was Killarney town centre, where we pottered around a little.
The streets are clogged with traffic
and souvenir shops…
so we went and ate ice cream. Gin flavoured ice cream, to be exact! Delish.
This evening, we ate in the Brasserie again before returning to our room to watch the Rose of Tralee competition on the TV.
The view from our room this evening is lovely and I hope that it bodes well for tomorrow, when we’ll leave Killarney and County Kerry to drive to Cork, our next stop.
See you there!