Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Killarney is the best tourist town ever!

Last Thursday we were in Killarney, and we loved it so much, we went back on Saturday. Killarney is a bit of a tourist town (as this post's title suggests), but why shouldn't it be? It's a great place to visit! It is home to Lough Leane, Ross Castle, Mucros House, and the Killarney National Park, Ireland’s first national park.

Lough Leane is not like the lakes you see in Lakeland, Florida (sorry, Lake Hollingsworth). This thing is huge. It even has its own islands! One of which, Innisfallen, houses the abbey that gives the lake its name: Lake of Learning.

Here is a pretty good picture followed by a video of just one part of this massive body of water. Seriously, I didn't know they made lakes this big!


video

Should one choose to visit Innisfallen, she would catch a boat just outside Ross Castle. I did not take said boat ride, but I did get a lovely tour of the castle.

Here is a video of more of Lough Leane and the outside of the castle.

video

On another bank of the river you will find the enormous, beautiful Mucros (alternately spelled Muckross) Estate. Mucros House and Estate have a very interesting history. The house was designed by the Scottish architect William Burn and was built in 1843 for Henry Herbert, an English politician living in Ireland. One of the most important events of the house’s history was when the Herberts hosted Queen Victoria for two nights, an event they spent six years planning. Sadly, the visit cost them an outrageous amount of money and is part of the reason they went bankrupt a few years later.

The house was eventually bought by Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn of San Francisco as a wedding present for their daughter, Maud Bourn, when she married an Irishman named Arthur Vincent. When she died, her family gave the house and the estate to the Irish government to be made into a national park. Photographs aren’t allowed inside the house, but true me when I tell you that it is amazing. I could take pictures on the grounds, however. These pictures don’t really do it justice because the Mucros Estate is one of the most magnificent places I’ve ever been.





How big's Kimber?


Not as big as that tree!

Oh, we also visited Mucros Abbey. It was pretty cool. They are doing some kind of restoration on it right now, hence the scaffolding, but we still got to look around at bit. The graveyard was one of the nicest I've seen.


When we returned to Killarney on Saturday, we spent a lot of time walking through the National Park, even trekking the 2 kilometers up to Torc Waterfall.

All-in-all, I probably walked 10 km that day. I felt very sporty. It was fantastic!

We also took a jaunting car, which is a major tourist attraction in Killarney. Catherine, Dorothy, Sarah, and I paid 10 euro each to be driven less than four miles, which sounds like a major rip-off, but you’re paying for an experience. Our experience was being told a series of slightly-incorrect stories by our jarvey* Martin.



*A jarvey is a jaunting car driver.

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