Monday, August 8, 2011

Horsing Around in Killarney

Today, Monday, we decided to have a low key day. While we haven't been running around like chickens with their heads cut off, we've been doing something that required some amount of driving every single day since we arrived last Saturday. So after a leisurely morning where the kids slept in and then swam while Josh and I caught up on some more work, we headed in to town.

We had lunch at an Italian place and it was decent - not Italian like Italy for sure but for lunch it was just fine. While at lunch we were discussing what to do and we came to the conclusion that we really didn't want to drive anywhere today (beyond in to and out of town) and that since the sun seemed to be coming out, perhaps it was a good day for the horse and buggy ride thru the Killarney National Park.

The buggy drivers will approach you on the street like in any other tourist town to offer you a ride. However, most are usually very quick and very expensive. Not so here. For an hour ride along the lakes and up to Ross Castle, it was only 40 euro. A bargain I say!!

So we hopped into our buggy and Murray our horse led the way! Both boys (as well as Josh and I) loved the ride and it was incredibly scenic. The Killarney National Park has the largest oak forest in all of Ireland (he may have said Europe too but I can't remember but definitely in Ireland) and given that Ireland is devoid of trees in many areas (hence all the farming), that's definitely a big deal!

It was beautiful and there were times when you came upon the lakes and there would be mountains in the background. Absolutely amazing!! Finally we came up to the castle. We couldn't go in beyond the entry way as we only had 15 minutes. The boys loved the small creek that went out into the bay that was filled with ducks and at one point a swan.

Liam enjoying his candy necklace on the way to the horse and buggy

Josh and Aidan as we set off on our ride!

The beginning of the park - beautiful!

One of many creeks that run thru the park

A church and Josh's head :)

If it just hadn't rained I could totally see the kids running wild on this nicely mowed park area!!

Church in the background now

Field with cows (in the way back)

Horse moving along...and no, he did not use that whip, it was just sitting in it's holder thankfully!

Another horse and buggy behind us stops at the "wishing" bridge... I asked why it was called the wishing bridge (he had told us to make a wish) and he couldn't really answer that one...hmmmm

Wild deer

Just beautiful!

You can see a mansion and the church in the background

Liam decided to take a nap (though he never actually slept I don't think)

Old monestary on the island (last inhabited in the 1400s)

The guide told the kids that this is where the leprechauns live!

Ross castle ahead!

Tons of ducks!!

I liked the canoes with this old bridge

Ross Castle

Aidan took this picture of the swan

Aidan with the swan

The boys got a little closer to the swan than I would have liked!

As always, boys with their toys!

What the castle looked like when it was built in the 1400s.  The castle itself doesn't look that far off but there is no longer a wall around it.

Liam has recently learned the joys of rolling down hills

The boys and Murray the horse

We came back to the hotel shortly thereafter and the boys have proceeded to meltdown.  It's annoying but I'm thankful that it's the first time they've really done it this badly in the week + that we've been away.  I expected it a whole lot more.  We'll head out to dinner soon and then early bed for all.  We're heading to Dublin tomorrow for our last day in Ireland before taking off for Greece early on Wed.  It's at least a 4-5 hour drive so I need to make sure Josh is well rested before tackling those corners!!!


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