Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Killarney and the Ring of Kerry

Ireland is beautiful.  I think Paul and I both have questioned whether book-ending our trip with Ireland was wise.  It was the cheapest round-trip flight but we ended up flying between Ireland and mainland Europe both times.  However, it has been the perfect way to end this trip, and we are both very glad we included it.

We flew from Amsterdam to Dublin, stayed the night in a hostel, and headed out to Killarney via train to visit the Killarney National Park and tour the Ring of Kerry.  It's obvious that Ireland is really best done by car, since so many sites are inaccessible or inconvenient by public transportation.  However, we wanted to use our rail pass and didn't want to drive.

Our first night, we wandered around Killarney National Park and saw some amazing views:

The second day, we took the Ring of Kerry bus tour.  Not my favorite way to see an area, but our only option without a car.  The first stop was a bog village for an extra fee, so we opted not to participate.  It didn't look very interesting.  Then, we stopped to take some pictures here:

We also stopped at a sheep-herding demonstration.  We both weren't super-excited about it, but it ended up being really neat.  There were three dogs who all knew the same commands but had different signals for them.  There was a full set of whistles and a full-set of spoken commands for each dog.  These included left, right, forward, back, and stop, I think.  A dog's hearing is incredible!  The shepherd spoke pretty quietly, and the dogs could hear him way up the hill.  Here's a movie of the dogs in action [visit the blog website to see the movie]:
More views:

Ireland makes up for its (usually) drab weather with colorful buildings.
Unfortunately, scenery photos with mountains in the distance just don't turn out well, so most of our other photos of the Ring of Kerry aren't super-exciting.

After the tour, we rented bikes and toured more of Killarney National Park.  We saw some deer:
And took more pretty photos:

Ross Castle

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