Thursday, 26 February 2015

Killarny, Ireland

As we stepped off our hour and a half flight from Stansted London, and stepped onto the tarmac at Kerry Airport in Ireland, I took a big breath of fresh air.  It was beautifully calm and peaceful.  We had landed in what seemed to be a patchwork of green hills and there was a light fog that hung in the air- exactly what I had envisioned for the Irish countryside.  As we stepped inside the extremely small airport (seriously, it was one room and had only one toilet), it was as if there were multiple small family gatherings waiting in arrivals.  This may seem strange, but as we made our way to the exit, I scanned the crowd, secretly studying the pale faces of these Irish people.  I still can't put my finger on it, but something was different about these people.  They just looked so... Irish.  Whatever that means.  Whatever it was, there was something about landing in Kerry that made me feel very welcome and at home. Already, I knew this was going to a good trip.

On our first night in Killarny, we were welcomed with rain.  The next day, we found ourselves in the midst of 3 hail storms, rain, snow, and even a bit of sunshine.  That's Ireland!  Though the weather was all over the place, we were constantly amazed by the scenery around us.  With it being off season for tourists as well, the fog also added to the "eery" feeling of the countryside.  We spent the first night listening to some live Irish Folk music in one of the local pubs, and the rest of our time we spent in Killarny National Park.  We rented a car for the duration of our stay, so we were able to easily get around and went to some pretty amazing mountainous areas of the park.  We hiked one of the tallest peaks in the park (Purple Mountain) and walked the Gap of Dunloe- probably the most beautiful winding road I've ever been on.  I really feel that these photos speak for themselves.  

Here are some shots of the colourful town of Killarny.  These were taken in the morning before we set out for our 6 hour hike!  Who would have thought it would be hailing in just under two hours?

Below is from the previous night out:

Our rental car was a gift to us from Zack's parents.  This made our trip!! We cannot thank them enough!

We ended our hike with a walk through the Gap of Dunloe.  The views were so beautiful that we retraced our steps later with our car.  In the summer, they don't encourage driving through here because of how narrow and windy the road is (there are a lot of cyclists and hikers to look out for), but because we were here off season, it was not a problem.  It was probably the most beautiful drive I've ever experienced.

This sheep was hogging the road!  Do you not love Ireland already?  And this was only the first day and a half.  There's more to come.... the adventure continues.

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