During my stay in Cork, it was warm out. “The kind of warm that comes before a big storm back home!” I said to the taxi driver. “Not surprising, then, that they’re calling for a big storm tonight. Storm Doris they’re calling it here. They give all big storms a name” he jovially responded.
I asked whether or not he thought I would feel the effects of the storm in Killarney that night. I was headed there at the end of my day in Cork. “Not sure” he said, raising his shoulders up much like a small child would if you asked him where his younger sister was.
I was staying in a hostel in Killarney. Nothing fancy. It wasn’t busy seeing as it was a weekday during the off-season. The lady at the front desk offered me an upgrade to a room where I would be alone (seeing as there was room anyway). The room had a bunk bed and a single. I opted for the single which was right under the window. I had, by then, put the storm out of my mind. I took a shower and went to bed.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced the sound an older window makes when it is being stressed by the wind pushing relentlessly onto it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced the thundering sound that rain makes when it is being hammered onto the glass by the wind. If you have… you have an idea of how I slept that night. I was very tired when I went to sleep, and I think I was more tired when I woke up.
I had no idea, though, that the storm had left about 4000 people without power around the country. The wind had uprooted trees, broken others. It had lifted roof tiles and the wind that had made the waves crash onto the shore had caused a little bit of flooding. Snow had flown (and it laid for a while, as the Irish would say.) I would find all of this out later that day on my way back to Galway.
Until then, I took my tired body down to the reception desk to see what my options were for the day. The weather was calling for quite a bit of rain, and I wondered if I could stick to mostly indoor activities around Killarney. I was told of a tour heading down to the Ring of Kerry for the day. I would be on the bus the bulk of the day, taking in beautiful scenery and listening to a tour guide tell me stories and explain what I was looking at. Sold.
Left at 10:30 to be back around 4:30, around ten of us piled into a small coach bus. My first official tour of the trip, I had no idea what to expect. Barth (short for Bartholomew) was our tour guide for Deros Sightseeing Tours. Born and raised in the Killarney area, and doing tours for many years, he had so many stories, interesting facts, and even a couple songs to offer during the tour. I’ve heard of many not-so-wonderful guides on tours, but I was very pleased by the way the tour went.
The tour heads west from Killarney towards the coast, south towards Waterville and Caherdaniel, back up towards Sneem, and through Killarney National Park back to your starting point.
Puck Fair is one of Europe’s best fairs (apparently). It happens in Killorglin the 10-12th of August every year. Tradition is to catch a goat and actually put it up on an elevated scaffold above the fair. They basically worship this goat during the fair (which marks the start of the harvest season.) Don’t worry. The goat is fed and cared for during the fair, and released back into the wild after the fair. This specific goat statue stands at the Kerry Bog Village, a museum type place that shows the process of gathering peat, a deposit of dead plant material used to heat homes in the past. While it is still being done in some parts of the country, burning peat is being phased out in favour of smokeless coal and wood. Peat takes a very very long time to develop so the government is protecting peat bog land to preserve that part of Irish history.
A small thatched roof cottage at the Kerry Bog Village with piles of peat stacked up along its front wall.
A close-up of a thatched roof. We’ll get back to thatched roofs another time… but this is what they look like from the bottom.
The Kerry Bog Pony. It is a native breed of pony from Ireland. It almost went extinct at one point but John Mulvihill and the Kerry Bog Pony Co-Op Society made sure that didn’t happen so now the breed is back to healthy numbers. These ponies were important because they worked very hard on the bog lands. They were favoured over full-size horses because they were lighter and didn’t sink into the land as much. They also fed on little food, and didn’t require shelter because they’re badass. Basically. They were therefore popular for the less wealthy.
Cahersiveen’s bronze statue is a tribute to a Kerryman whose missionary and naval adventures inspired men to holiness.
Waterville was home to none other than Charlie Chaplin. His statue stands proudly along the shores of Waterville.
The wind series continues.
The “Little Houe on the Prairie”… Not the show, but the Irish reality.
One of the lakes at Killarney National Park.
The trail towards the Torc Waterfall at Killarney National Park.
Moss is prominent all over Ireland. I’ve taken a fascination to it. More on that another time.
At the end of the trail, and the end of the tour. I did not regret taking this tour. I missed out on a day of exploration day in Killarney, but hey. A reason to come back! So beautiful.
By the way, Storm Ewan hit Ireland (mostly the southern parts of the country) a couple days after Doris made her way through.