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Friday, April 29, 2022

Our Trip to Ireland Part Two: The Town of Killarney and Killarney National Park

 Hello again friends and happy Friday! Today I am back to recap more of our trip to Ireland, starting with our days in County Kerry and the town of Killarney. In order to get from Dublin to Killarney, we rented a car. We had brought both of our car seats with us and had rented a car prior to leaving the US, only to find out there was a tiny little problem with our reservation. We had requested an automatic transmission, but the car rental place did not have any. They only had stick shift cars available. 😳 Cue Devin and I looking at each other like, "uhhh... do you know how to drive a stick shift??" Devin and I have both driven stick shift cars before, but not since high school--- and I don't need to tell you it has been a long time since high school! We decided Devin had enough experience and it was worth giving it a shot. It turns out it's like riding a bike, he got back into the groove very quickly and said it was actually fun. 
This is Devin's "driving stick shift, on the "wrong" side of the car, on the "wrong" side of the road" face. He's being silly for the picture, but in reality it worked out perfectly fine. We were very happy to be able to drive to and from our destinations when it worked best for our family. The whole drive we kept commenting on how beautiful the Irish countryside was. I knew it was called "The Emerald Isle" but I couldn't get over just how green everything was! And such a vibrant green at that. 

I kept saying to Devin "It's so green it doesn't even look real!" We also decided there may be more sheep and cows than people in Ireland. πŸ˜† If you've been, you know! There are SO. MANY. SHEEP!
We would be driving along some winding back roads and randomly stumble across things like this:
Just right outside our window, right along the road. Casually driving alongside castles is most definitely not something we can do at home. 😊

We made our way to the town of Killarney, in County Kerry. It was raining pretty hard when we first got to the town, so the following few pictures are from Google:

As you can see, it is a picturesque, perfect quaint little town. We loved the bright colored shops lining the streets.
Devin and I both said we could've easily spent an entire week in Killarney. We LOVED it! The town was the perfect size: big enough to have everything we wanted, but small enough to not feel overwhelming. The people were wonderful. Very outgoing, friendly, and helpful. The whole town had a relaxed feel to it, which was exactly what we wanted after the busyness of Dublin. Not to knock Dublin-- we loved that too, we were just ready for a change of pace. 

We stayed at the Fairview Hotel and I cannot recommend it enough! It is a small, family owned boutique hotel and it was absolutely precious. The dad was working behind the front desk, the mom served us breakfast in the dining room, the son helped all over the hotel. By the time we left we felt like we knew the whole family. Apparently they are a big Disney family and fly from Ireland to Disney World every single year! I told them I was impressed-- we technically live within driving distance and we don't even make it every year!

On Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast, and walked around the town for a bit. Our plan for the day was to rent bikes, but the bike rental place didn't open until 10. So we gave ourselves a self-guided tour of Killarney:
The beautiful Franciscan Friary was right around the corner from our hotel.

St. Mary's Cathedral was breathtaking. I love history and architecture and I swear I just stared at this building for a solid 15 minutes just taking it all in haha. Across the street from St. Mary's there was a cute playground:


The kids loved getting to run around and play for a bit before we went to go pick up our bikes. 

Then, we got our bikes rented and set off on one of our favorite days of the whole trip. 
So as you can see in the map above, the cycling path (white) starts at the top right (where the edge of the town is). We started cycling and stumbled across Muckross Abbey:
To this day Lily Grace still says that the abbey was her favorite part of the whole trip. I think it might've been mine too!
The abbey was safe to explore, wide open, and you went at your own pace (as opposed to a guided castle tour). Where some castle tours had areas that were off limits, or you had to be quiet and listen to someone give a tour, the kids were able to explore freely here (with Dev or I with them of course). 
There was a beautiful courtyard area with an old tree. 
Lily Grace loved "the dark room" the most because it was a little bit spooky but not too spooky. 😊

Then we hopped back on our bikes, rode past the Muckross House (we came back later), and headed to Torc Waterfall. 
Since it was raining that day and had been the day before as well, the waterfall was really gushing. It was incredible to see. 
We had to get off our bikes and hike a bit to the waterfall, which was perfect. It let the kids stretch their legs, and we got a break from biking. 
Then we hopped back on our bikes, biked around the lake...

... until we ended up at Muckross House. 

Now we did not go inside the house for a tour, but instead toured the gardens and went to the restaurant around the back for lunch. Then the sun came out and the kids ran around for a bit:

By this point it was almost time to return the bikes at the end of the day, but there was a castle on our way back into the town so we made one last stop:
Sweet itty bitty Liam with that giant castle. 😍
After a very active day in the rain, the kids were happy to come home, take a nice warm bath and climb into their pajamas. We got some takeout food and snuggled up while the kids watched Netflix on Dev's phone. 
Oh gosh, looking at the pictures of this day actually makes me teary eyed! It was the BEST day. Even if the rest of the trip had been a disaster (which it wasn't), everything would've been worth it just to have had this day. We had some great quality time together, outside, doing the things we love (biking, hiking, exploring). I wish I could relive this day over and over again. 

Killarney Ireland, WE LOVE YOU!! I really hope we get to go back again one day. Come back on Monday for the last little bit of our trip to Ireland: Dromoland Castle and the Cliffs of Moher. 

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a wonderful weekend!! 


7 comments :

  1. I haven't driven a stick shift since college; my first car was a tiny Toyota Tercel and while I had such anxiety about stalling I did love that little car! That does sound like a fabulous day. I can not get over just how green all that green is. I felt like it was blinding in that sunny photo!

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    1. Stick shifts just aren't common here anymore! I'm happy he felt comfortable driving it because it worked out really well. The green was so vibrant we both kept commenting on it over and over!

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  2. We, too, LOVED Killarney! I am enjoying your posts!!

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  3. I love love love this post!! I love Ireland, being active while on holiday, and coming across random castle! My husband drove the stick shift car when we were there too. Not only was everything opposite, the (non-highway) roads were so narrow!! Getting through those hedgerows, eek!!

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    1. Oh my gosh, yes!! There were a couple moments when I had to close my eyes and hope we made it through on some of those winding roads.

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  4. Getting caught up on your trip! These photos are stunning. Devin driving ...haha I learned to drive on a stick shift and had one for years....but it's been a minute since I've driven one. The bike tour sounds amazing. So. many. stunning. pictures!

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