Friday, April 19, 2019

Ireland - Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe

Handy Quick Links to our Blog Highlights

How We Got Started | How We Do It | Countries and Territories Visited | USA Adventure | Iceland The UK Adventure | Our Travel Club Arrives in Paris | Capitols of N. Europe and Scandinavia | Russia and the Trans-Siberian Railway | South Korea | Japan | Australia | Bali & Indonesia | Malaysia | Singapore | Macau-Hong Kong | Southern China |  Zhangjiaije National Park | Central China | Terracotta Warriors | Pandas | Tibet | Nepal | India | Uzbekistan | Kazakhstan | Georgia | The Balkans | Eastern Europe | Italy | Ireland

We planned our trip to Killarney for two reasons.  The first was to visit Ross Castle and the second was to walk the Gap of Dunloe.  Our drive to the central region of County Kerry was lovely...more green upon green, farms, and small villages.  We arrived in Killarney and easily found our really nice two bedroom apartment in the center of the city.  A Tesco Supermarket was across the street and that made stocking up easier than usual.  We booked a full day package for for the next day at $30 each that included transportation to the start of the trail, ending at Ross Castle where we would stage our car.  We enjoyed a quiet evening and a good night's rest.

In the morning we drove to the castle and wandered around a bit.  It was early and not open, but the day was promising to be splendid.  "Ross" is Carol's surname so she was stoked for the visit.  Her enthusiasm would have to wait until later in the day.  Our transport picked us up and took us to the trailhead, a few miles outside of town.

 At the trailhead there was a restaurant and a bar, and several carrriage vendors offering rides over the Gap.  Carol opted not to walk...and for good reason-it would be an eight mile hike over the top and down to the lake on the other side.  She purchased a ticket and shared a "trap" with two other riders.  Bobbie and I headed out on foot and the hike - over the next three hours - was beautiful.

 Carol and her fellow riders passed us about 30 minutes after we set off.

 The hike followed a one lane road up and over the pass...past many small ponds and waterfalls.  The climb to the top was gradual.  We were passed by a few vehicles and many horse and carriage riders along the way.

At the top we crossed into Black Valley and it was another 90 minutes downhill to the boat landing Upper Lake.  We met Carol, who had been waiting about an hour, had our picnic lunch, and then boarded our lake board for the ride back to the castle.

The boat held twelve and some bikes.  The weather was turning at that point but no rain and the ride through the three upper lakes and their connecting rivers was grand. 
Our captain was comical and kept us laughing as he described the sights.

 At one of the bridges, we had to get off because the water was low.  We hiked along the river for about 500 meters before boarding the boat again.

We reached the castle late in the day.  The boat ride was almost two hours long.  At the castle we enjoyed a tour of the restored 12th century tower home.  We climbed the winding stairwells to each level.  Our guide was informative.  Cameras were not allowed but I did sneak one photo of one of the castle rooms.

No comments: