Killarney With the VIPs

After spending time around Slane with my parents, I met them in Killarney in Co. Kerry. I have been there before, taking in the Ring of Kerry tour (Read about that here). The day I met up with them, my parents had taken the Ring of Kerry tour as well. It was afternoon when I met up with them on the Friday and I was staying until Sunday to be back at work on Monday.

I should add a sidetone here to tell you that work was not going well. I was miserable, and looking to get out. I was a bit stuck, however, because my work papers hadn’t arrived in the mail yet, and it takes time to process a mail forwarding request. Plus, I technically didn’t have a forwarding address.

All that to say that I really appreciated being able to take the time away from work to see my parents and experience new things with them.

The Friday I got there also happened to be Good Friday. Prohibition Friday. No seriously. You cannot purchase alcohol on Good Friday in Ireland. 2017 is the final year that the ban will be in place, meaning that next year the alcohol will keep on flowing as usual. Perhaps there will even be a celebratory increase in sales on Good Friday in 2018! I’ll toast to that!

My parents and I enjoy drinking wine together, and none of us knew about this ban on alcohol sales. Of course, when you know you can’t have something, you instantly want it even more. -_-

Oh well. We had dinner, walked around a little bit and went to bed.

Early start the next day. We went to Killarney National Park and walked around one of the loops. It’s a great park.

Killarney National Park has a rhododendron problem though. For many years, they’ve been battling this invasive plant. It’s not as simple as chopping it down, unfortunately. The seeds spread like dust, and their size mean that seedling from other trees can’t survive in their shadows. Rhododendron is resistant to frost and fire too. It doesn’t get grazed away by animals either because the leaves are toxic. Yaaaaaayyyyyy…

So how do you get rid of it? Good question. Killarney National Park is really just trying to control it at this point, because getting rid of it seems like a goal that is entirely out of reach. Volunteers work tirelessly to try to kill the plants by injecting a herbicide into a freshly cut plant. New plants are also cut and sprayed with a herbicide substance. You have to understand though, that nearly 1/3 of the park is infested with this pant, so it’s an ongoing uphill battle.

On a more cheery and positive note, Killarney National Park is home to the last native herd of red deer in Ireland. They can be found elsewhere in the country, but the ones found elsewhere have been reintroduced from different countries. There are also Japanese sika deer, badgers, red squirrels and foxes in the park to name a few. Cute little woodland creatures and birds are surrounded by beautiful flora, of course.

Ross Castle stands in the park, and the public is welcome to walk the grounds, but paid entry is required if you want to tour the interior. We opted for checking out the outside:

After visiting the park and castle, we visited Muckross House and Gardens. Mom and I visited the interior of the house (in which photographs are not permitted) and Dad wandered the gardens. The property as a whole is stunning. The mansion was built in the 19th century. Queen Victoria was set to visit Muckross House in August of 1861, so the property was beautified for the royal visit. The house and gardens were personalised to suit the Queen and her husband.

With the visiting of the royal party, the owners of Muckross House, Henry and Mary Herbert expected to be given an honour by the Queen after her visit. Unfortunately, the Queen’s husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, died of typhoid in December of the same year, and the honouring of the Herbert family was forgotten in the Queen’s grief.

The mansion, however, remained beautiful and is today open for the public for guided tours. The gardens are immaculate and vast for picnics and long walks in the fresh air. Beside the house and gardens, you can explore the traditional farms. Think of Fort Edmonton Park or something along those lines. You can visit different buildings and learn about how homes were heated and see how families lived many moons ago.

There is also old farm equipment and animals everywhere. Mama and I purchased our tickets to check out the farm area not really realising how little time we had to actually go through the site. The farm loop is 2kms long, and there are many stops along the way. We prioritised which ones we absolutely wanted to see, and essentially ran from one to the other.

I wish I could have stopped laughing long enough to capture the moment involving my mom and her fear of birds when she was confronted by a large number of chickens and one imposing turkey. I actually can’t even think of this moment without laughing.

The turkey did not get a photo op. Too much laughing.

The building had three rooms, all accessible from outside. Room 1 had chickens, room 2 had chickens, and room 3 also had chickens. To get to the room, you had to go back into the yard where the turkey lived. Mom was yelling at turkey to stay put. “Don’t even look at me!’ she yelled. Meanwhile, I’m holding onto the wall, struggling to breathe through the laughter, and trying to control the urge to pee my pants all wilst trying to capture this moment with photos or videos. The moment when my mom was shuffling along the wall trying to get to the centre room (another room with chickens) while keeping an eye on and yelling at the turkey had me in utter convulsions, wiping tears away from my eyes.

No photos or videos because I couldn’t even hold the phone straight.

Once we had completed the loop around the farm and met up with dad, we headed back to the BnB to freshen up before dinner and the highlight of the weekend: Chris de Burgh


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