We set our alarm and headed to breakfast early this morning. We parked on the street last night and as overnight parking is free, the morning fee starts at 8:30am. We finally found a cafe open in Killarney called Jam. To our surprise most of the cafes accepted cash only (my husband didn’t get enough Euro) or they didn’t open until 9am. Breakfast was delicious and cost us 17.95 Euro. We wanted to have a picnic for lunch while hiking so we stopped by Tesco and spent 9.61 Euro on lunch meat and bread.
Torc Waterfall – Ring of Kerry in Killarney
Now, the Ring of Kerry is a popular destination for tourists and I found lots of Pinterest information on the best spots and routes. I had it all planned out where we would go to all the major towns and see the castles and sights. My husband on the other hand thought we had decided to hike the mountains and climb the tallest peak. Since we had seen a lot of castles already, I gave in and went with my husband’s plan. We started at the Torc Waterfall is South West of Killarney. It was a half mile hike up to the waterfall and then we hiked up an additional 3/4 mile exploring the Killarney National Park.
Gap of Dunloe – Ring of Kerry in Killarney
We didn’t know exactly where the path led, and we had parked our car at the bottom of the waterfall, so we headed back the way we came and drove the car to the next spot. Derek and I were trying to determine the best way to make it to the next locale we wanted to visit. I kept telling Derek we should take the marked paths to the Gap of Dunloe, but he was determined that he needed to go another path to the Purple Mountain. On the path our Garmin took us we came upon an incident where a car had run into the side of the mountain. We were at a standstill for about 20 minutes.
So we drove to the place where he thought we could get to the Purple Mountain path and parked near Lord Brandon’s Cottage. There were lots of horse and buggy waiting to be booked to take people to the Gap of Dunloe (Where I told my husband we needed to drive in the first place). My daughter wanted to ride the horse and buggy so bad, but we didn’t have enough Euro. They were charging anywhere from 40-50 Euro for a family of 4 (we only have 15 left). So we hiked up the path to the Gap of Dunloe. The 1-1/2 hour hike was HARD…up a lot of steep hills and was a 568 meters climb (or 1,863 feet). In addition to the steep climb, we had to deal with cars, sheep, and jaunting cars (those horse and buggy systems). My daughter had to stop a few times to rest, and our backpack with water bladder really came in handy during this hike. We finally reached the top and stopped to have a picnic lunch.
Derek was still determined to climb to the top of the Purple Mountain, named so we presume because it looks purple from a distance. The mountain stands 830 meters (or 2,723 feet) tall. To make it more scary for me (helicopter mom) my 10 year old son wanted to climb it with him. So, my husband reassured me that they would re-evaluate as they climbed and would be safe. The climb and descent took an hour, which isn’t much…but I was scared and the sun had gone behind the mountains…so we were cold waiting for them. I was so relieved when I saw my husband’s bright green shirt again and they were starting to come down the mountain.
We decided to walk back down the path we walked up (as going to the other end would take 3 hours round-trip and then another 1.5 to our car). My husband was so sore and his knee was bothering him, so it took a long time. But we finally made it! We drove back over the path and took the whole Gap of Dunloe route in by car. We crossed the “wishing bridge.” Hope our wishes come true!
Driving Tour – Ring of Kerry in Killarney
After we finished our 4 hour hike, we drove more on the Ring of Kerry going counter-clockwise toward Killorglin and passed the ruins of Wynn Castle. Kells is the next county and we stopped to see the beach, but didn’t get out of the car since it was raining pretty hard. There were some families in the water…but they were wearing wet-suits. We continued on to Chersiveen to see the Ballycarbery Castle and 2 stone forts. The castle is in ruin, but looks neat as it is overgrown with ivy.
We were hungry and so stopped at a pub in Cahersiveen and spent 39.50 Euro on dinner. I decided to have the “exotic curry dish,” and I was happy I did. The best part was my meal came with chips (french fries)! How have I not known that french fries come will all the meals here in Ireland? I should have come here sooner! Once we finally got our very young waitress to finish up our tab it was raining much harder and was getting pretty dark. We wanted to finish driving on the Ring of Kerry, but decided it was too late and dark so headed back toward Killarney. We needed some rest, my fit bit counted a total of 136 floors climbed and 24,285 steps!!!
Tomorrow we leave for Cork.