Ireland Holiday 5 - Kerry

Ballydesmond is just on the border between Cork and Kerry, and it is closer to Killarney than it is to Cork itself, so it was no surprise that Kathleen wanted to show us some of the sights of the Ring of Kerry.

Ladies' View

First stop was Ladies' View, from where you can see part of the Killarney National Park and the Upper Lake. Apparently the name originates from the fact that the view was particularly admired by Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting, on her visit in 1861. It is certainly a wonderful view, whether you are a lady or a gentleman.

Wild Fuschias - they grow like weeds!

We found a space in the car park of the conveniently situated tea room, although there were a fair few cars apparently abandoned at the side of the road. Despite the number of cars there didn't seem to be terribly many people around. Perhaps they were all in the tea room.

We had a good wander around, especially Dylan and Bridie - in Dylan's case he seemed to be looking for the best spot to take a photo, while Bridie was doing her best to make sure that she wasn't in any photos. Eventually we decided that we had earned a trip to the tea room - and we needed to use their facilities! I had spotted the Killarney brewery as we drove through the city earlier in the morning so I was very pleased to see that the tea room was serving Killarney beers.

Killarney beer

The Scarlet Pimpernel has the piney hop flavour of an American IPA but with the malty character of a good old English IPA, definitely combining the best of both worlds. The Rutting Red Ale, named after the rutting of the only red deer herd in Ireland, was another very good beer.

Next stop was Torc Waterfall. There are a variety of circular walks from the car park but we didn't take any of these. Instead we just had a wander up to the waterfall itself, which was quite picturesque. Dylan and Bridie decided to do their goat impressions and disappeared up the fall and into the foliage! I was starting to worry that I would have to go looking for them when they eventually re-emerged.
Our last touristy stop of the day was at Muckross House. By now the weather had well and truly turned, it was damp, chilly and overcast. On a bright sunny day I am sure that a walk, or a ride in a jaunting car, around the gardens would be lovely. Instead we popped into the gift shop before wandering down to the shore of Muckross Lake. The House itself looked rather grand, if a little austere in the gloom of this overcast day, but we decided against the expense of a guided tour.

Next we went into Killarney itself for a little mooch around the shops until I earned a pub stop at Mac's Bar. I dismissed it at first as an unlikely choice but, after looking at a couple of other pubs I decided to give it a try and I was glad that I did. It is quite a small bar and was quiet when we visited mid-afternoon. There were a few local beers to choose from and I went for Stag Rua from 9 White Deer, just half an hour down the road, and Spailpin Saison - named after the itinerant farm labourers of the 17th - 19th centuries, another Killarney beer. The Stag Rua was a solid Irish red ale but the Spailpin was rather special; it had a little spice from the Belgian yeast giving an edge to an otherwise light and fruity beer with flavours of apple and melon. 


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