Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by lush green landscape all year long, I was skeptical about the idea that there could be anywhere more green, I mean just as green, sure, but MORE green, no way… Okay, I was wrong, Ireland has the PNW beat, because not only are there 50+ shades of the most intense green you’ve ever seen and then some, but there are castles too! You’ve got to have castles!!
Driving from Cork to Killarney we experienced not only all those beautiful shades of green, but its possible to have weather from all four seasons within one day, if not the hour, which made our drive, not only stunningly beautiful, but eventful as well! Rain, wind, sun, clouds you name it…
Planning to explore nearby areas we spent three nights in Killarney, the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and the perfect little Irish town! Quaint, friendly and picturesque, it was exactly what I had pictured an Irish town to look like!
After some difficulty deciding which pub to eat at (there were so many to choose from) we ended up at Danny Mann’s Lounge for dinner and traditional Irish Music! Super Fun! Tim had the best meal, cottage pie, and afterwards we stopped at our new favorite Irish ice cream shop, Murphy’s!
Only a few days into our Irish adventure we were still plagued by Jet lag and got a late start, what else is new? We had our “morning” coffee and pastries at this adorable and tasty little patisserie in town, before we hit the gas station to fill up for our drive to the Dingle Peninsula. By this time it was already 1:00 pm…
Then this happened:
We went to the nearest gas station and filled up… with gas… but we were renting a diesel!! Argh! Of course driving it wasn’t an option. Apparently this happens three or more times a week. Thankfully there was a service station right across the road… convenient, right?! The station attendant said he was busy but he could remove the gas later in the evening, or… we could just fill it the rest of the way and try to burn it off…I wan’t too keen on that!!! We weren’t taking that chance on narrow winding roads in unfamiliar territory and we can’t drive around this tiny town all day trying to burn off the fuel, we’ve just got to leave the car and find something else to do. After all mistakes do happen and it’s not our car!! We had to leave the car at the pump! The gas station attendant was so kind and assured us, “Don’t worry about your car, this happens every week.”
Having never driven a diesel it was news to me that American diesel cars and pump nozzles have different shapes preventing such a mistake from happening, I’m betting it’s mostly Americans who are pumping the wrong fuel! I will report that we received excellent service from and were only set back about 80 Euro.
Life Gave Us Lemons, So We Made Lemonade!
Killarney National Park!
Not having a car meant no trip to the Dingle Peninsula, which although disappointing, turned out to be more than okay as we spent a lovely day wandering in the Killarney National Park. Located just across the road from downtown Killarney and about one block from our hotel it was just steps away. No car needed! As I mentioned the weather can be quite unpredictable and we experienced just about every kind of weather during our walk in the park. We were well prepared with rain gear and the boys loved walking into the wind and rain! The park path twisted and turned through forest and meadow and along the way we saw cows, deer and ducks, and at the end a castle!
Ross Castle, a 15th century tower house, is open for tours. Keep in mind that Castle tours are limited to around 12 people and run about every 30 minutes. Consider getting your tickets upon arrival and then exploring the grounds while you wait for your tour to begin. Seriously, because the tours will fill up… You can also visit the nearby Ross Island, however the winds were very strong on the day of our visit and the boats to the island weren’t running. We learned that there are as many as 3500 tower houses still standing across Ireland today. If you keep an eye out you can see them from the road!
After our walk we decided to take a jaunting car back to town. In case like me, you have no idea what a jaunting car is: It’s basically a horse and cart! Our driver was a third generation jaunting car driver and much to Elliot’s delight he got to “drive” us back to town! We finished up our day with a lovely traditional dinner at Sceal Eile! I had the cottage pie!
Stay tuned for more of our amazing road trip through the Republic of Ireland… Next stop: The Ring of Kerry!
Just A Few (50) of the Many Shades of Green we saw along the way…
Apple, army, asparagus, basil, blue green, British racing green, celadon, chartreuse, chrome green, clover, dark green, electric, emerald, evergreen, fern, forest, grass, grass, grasshopper, green, green yellow, hunter, inchworm, jade, jungle, juniper, Kelly, leaf, light green, lime, meadow, mint, moss, neon green, olive, pea, pear, pickle, pine, pistachio, sage, sea green, sea foam, sea weed, shamrock, spring, tropical, turquoise green, viridian, & yellow green!