Started the day with a swim in the heated pool at Killarney Park Hotel. Did 10 laps, but passed on the hottub, cause while it was bubbling away – it wasn’t hot!! We were having none of that!
We had a bit of a nasty scare this morning – the macbook charger had stopped charging, and for no apparent reason. We tried it in different plugholes and adapters, and it still didn’t want to come to the party! Went to breakfast and the staff went into battle mode to source us another one. They found one in Tralee and we planned to go there after eating. So we tried to enjoy a cholesterol free vegetarian omelette, while going over the logistics of the huge diversion in our day. Got back to our room and the bloody charger was working again! Sodding thing!!
We drove to Muckross House – which made many a horse carriage driver annoyed cause we weren’t interested in doing the jaunty ride around the estate or to the house. Not because we didn’t like the idea, but neither of us wanted to be stuck for 45minutes in a jaunty cart while the rains tumbled down (and, of course, they did!) What we saw (on foot) of the gardens and grounds of Muckross House were very impressive. The estate is nestled in 25,000 hectares of national park (donated to the state by the last family), with many walking trails that, in finer weather, would’ve been most inviting, but the constant on again/off again nature of the rain did put us off.
Muckross House is a splendid Victorian/Gothic mansion that still brags about the fact that Queen Victoria once came for a 2 night visit – which may very well have been what bankrupted the owners! She gave them 6 YEARS notice of her visit, and pretty much every item with a hefty price tag or of particular beauty was bought, made, imported for this 2 day visit. Insane – the royals certainly knew how to milk the cash cow – set up a whole season of visits to the minor peerage homes and it doesn’t impact on the royal coffers one jot! (Elizabeth I was renowned for doing this, too!)
We had an excellent guide in a strong voiced and stylishly dressed woman named Patsy – close cropped bleached blonde hair, nice bling, all black, white and grey clothes. She had a no-nonsense attitude and dealt firmly, but patiently, with the older visitors who needed reminding that they were not to touch anything or take photographs (John only had to be told the once!). While waiting for the slower walkers to catch up, she enjoyed chatting about Australia with Nic, and the nephew who has recently moved to Adelaide.
After the tour of the house, we headed along the road towards Kenmare through some gorgeous geography to reach Ladies View – a stunning vista along the valley that got it’s name from Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting who said in 1861 that it was, “the finest view in the land.” Supped on some fine mushroom soup in the café while soaking up the view and waiting for the perfect light (and lack of rain) for a pic.
We didn’t have any need or desire to go further towards Kenmare, and so turned around and headed off on the next leg of our journey. The rain stopped at just the right time for us to park the car and take the 5 minute walk to Torc Waterfall. The foliage here was so ridiculously lush and such a vibrant green that it looked like a second grader had coloured it all in with a fluro green highlighter! Very special colour in nature!!
Our drive to Dingle Town was leisurely, with plenty of stops for John to take pics. We both much prefer Dingle Peninsula to Kerry – much more lush and green and gorgeous. And Dingle Town itself has a lot to offer its visitors – especially in the food and music departments. But more of that anon. We checked into Heaton’s Guesthouse, which is about 1km walk from the centre of town, but it’s right on the water – lovely views. Our original plan was to walk into town for dinners, but the rain and cold really has put us off, so we caved and drove instead!
We took ourselves off to Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant for a ridiculously early dinner (5pm!) – but having only had a tiny bowl of soup for lunch made us both a bit empty by then! Indulged in some very fine garlic chilli prawns pil pil, baked monkfish with ginger stir-fried vegetables. Just the way to ward off the chills of this, apparently, unusually cold and wet weather we’re experiencing.
After dinner we went back to our digs for some blogging and then out again to the pub for some local music at An Droichead Beag (The Small Bridge Bar) as well as some cool ‘in pub blogging’ (so desperately trying to catch up!). A guy called Damien Mullane was playing some sort of Celtic accordion, with a mate working the guitar. Excellent musicians, both of them. It seems the more we travel, the better the music! Dingle does have an excellent reputation in the music scene, and it’s easy to see why. We stomped and hit our knees and whooped along with the best of them, and headed home very tired, but very happy travellers.