Monday, August 11, 2014

Killarney, Ireland. . .

Linda with our tour guide Pat, Killarney.
August 11, 2014 -- With the help of the alarm clock on the iPhone, we were up early this morning and made our way to the rail station by 8:30 a.m. We bought our tickets for Killarney and boarded the train at 8:55 for the 1 hour trip. So far, and this is true with all the European cities I've had the privilege to visit, the train stations are near the city center. Killarney was no exception. Once there, we left the station, turned left and within 5 minutes we were in the center of the city. Our first stop was a cute little food market where we picked up some fresh fruit. It made for a good, but not filling, breakfast.

Ross Castle, Killarney, Ireland.
As was the case with Cobh yesterday, Killarney is a city full of stores. Shops, eateries, pubs and more pubs doted the landscape as far as one could see. Killarney is larger than Cobh with 12,500 residents and thousands of visitors from all over -- including Ireland. We were told that Killarney had 1.2 million visitors last year.

Killarney Waterfall in t
he National Park.
We walked the streets, enjoying the many shopping opportunities and meeting people here and there. After about an hour or so we spotted a "tourist information center" and went in to see what else the city had to offer. We learned that a locally owned tour bus was leaving in 20 minutes. The bus route included a variety of sites we would not otherwise see. We boarded at around 1 p.m. and took the 2 hour tour of the city and countryside. Along the way we saw some of the many lakes in and around Killarney.  One attraction the "Muckross House" is a beautiful "home" built by the architect William Burn in 1843. Its 11,000 acre estate has now become a tourist attraction within the National Park.

Killarney, Ireland.
Later on our tour, we stopped at Ross Castle. Built in the 15th Century as a Tower House and Keep -- it stands as a reminder to the "what was" the magnificent structures of centuries past. It is also part of the greater Killarney National Park in County Kerry. I'm not sure if the entire structure was still in place -- but if it was, the castle is an example of the smaller but imposing structures that seem to dot the Irish countryside. It's beauty is offset by the surrounding river and lake to the side.

We made our way "home" at around 7:30 and enjoyed another outstanding meal at Market Lane in Cork. Tomorrow, the plan is to go to Limerick -- we're not sure whether we'll take the train or bus -- so, as always.......

Stay tuned.