Killarney is a town right on the edge of Killarney National Park, famous for its huge lakes and the tallest mountain in Ireland: Carrantoohil. We couch surfed with a gentleman named Ray, who works for the Ministry of Tourism, and thus were treated to wonderfully informative dinner conversation on the history, geography, and culture of Ireland. In the morning he gave us a ride into town in his BMW convertible (“please excuse my mid-life crisis car,” he said, but we didn’t excuse it, we enjoyed it) and we walked around town while he was at work.
Killarney was gearing up for a busy weekend, double busy, in fact, for the Ring of Kerry charity bike race was to be hosted back to back with a Gaelic football match between the region’s two biggest rivals, whom I’ve forgotten. The streets were hung with hundreds of flags, including American ones for all of the U.S. tourists. It was a charming, touristy downtown area, summed up by another fitting quote from Ray: “They take your money, and they make you feel good about it.”
The weather was beautiful – the sun actually came out again! Ray’s radio called it an “Irish heat wave.” We thought perhaps we’d brought the weather with us from Colorado, and he asked us to stay forever. Killarney is a place where we wouldn’t mind staying forever, but alas we must spread good weather further across the Emerald Isle.
Eventually we walked out to Ross Castle, a lord’s tower house from the 1400s.
It was a constant battle refusing carriage rides, which were very pricey, but I was able to get a nice photo for free.
Back in town, we watched some real Irish step dancing, walked around, refused more carriage rides, and reveled in the warm sun. Hopefully someday we’ll make it back to Killarney and further into the National Park, but for now: next stop, Dingle!