Nature > City
That’s how I feel towards any trip or activity. I always love nature vs. city. The serenity and fresh air is everything. Every city has the similar hustle bustle vibes but every time I step into nature, I’m awaken and refreshed. It sure has a way bring me back to neutral and reminds me to relax, enjoy, take it easy.
Killarney was my second stop in Ireland and it was lovely. I’m so happy to start off in the countryside then proceed to the capital, Dublin. Killarney NP is the first national park in Ireland and is part of the Ring of Kerry.
To make the most of my time, I had evaluate how much can I see/do in a timely fashion and also on my travel budget. It was a toss up between a few things…
1) guided tour of the Ring of Kerry (full day)
2) 7km hike of Gap of Dunloe, followed with possible boat ride to Ross Castle
3) shuttle bus around Killarney NP (Muckross Route)
I was fighting many urges to do #2 but I knew it definitely was not wise to beat up my legs when I’m barely a week into my journey. #1 gave me the opportunity to see the most sights but it meant sitting in a bus for 5+ hours. #3 gave me the most sights with flexibility to hop on/off whichever stops I desired but limited time to spend at each sight.
So I picked #3, €10 for an all day round trip Killarney Shuttle Bus around the Muckross Route. The stops were Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey, Muckross House & Garden, Torc Waterfall and Ladies View. Luckily 3 out of the 5 stops are walkable distance from each other so I wasn’t a prisoner to the timetable.
With the help of the driver, Jack, I was able to work around the confusing shuttle schedule to see all the sights. I had to go 2 rounds around the park but it was nice. I took the extra time to have a power nap for my last 2 sights – Ross Castle & Muckross Abbey. Below is the Killarney Shuttle bus schedule.
Ross Castle is the first stop. It is an old defensive watch tower back in the day right by Leagh Loune. There are boat tours available across the lake for a nominal price. Some include bus tour to other parts of the Ring of Kerry and/or jaunting car rides. Access to the ground is free. Tours are €4 and are 45m long.
Muckross Abbey is a sweet little spot, just a few minutes walk from the park lot/bus dropoff location. The Abbey is no longer active with the exception of the graveyard. There are endless arches, pathways and quarters to explore. The middle of the quarters grows a yew tree. Some say it’s older than the infrastructure. I could have spent a whole day here taking pictures and pitching a picnic. It was magical.
Torc Waterfall was the highlight of my visit to the park. It was everything I love and look forward to when I travel – scenic view, amble hiking trails and open space. There were 3 different trails with varying difficult and duration length. There was easy, moderate and strenuous hikes that lasted 25m to 2.5h. I was only able to do 10 minutes up some stone steps and the dirt path. There was scenic overlooks along the way to Lough Leane. That short hike got me out of breath. It was quite steep! The trail was so green and mossy. It reminded me so much of Seattle.
Ladies’ View is a special stop that is only made once a day but you must make it back to bus before 13:10. The drive down is nice and scenic though a bit bumpy. It was said that this view was fit for a queen. It was quite picturesque but there have some places I’ve seen which were stunning. The view was still very relaxing and there was a foot path along the road bit beyond the café that gave access to the rocks (the area where I’m sitting in the picture below). The view was nice there since it was away from the road, parking lot and people. I had my lunch there in peace and quiet.
I really missed going to a park and seeing the sights and getting my feet on the grounds. This was such a nice treat. If you don’t have time to see the park, you get lovely views of Torc Mountain from the town. There are also lovely walkways near the entrance of the park such as Killarney Garden. Other options are a short jaunting car ride around the park. Overall, this was definitely one of the top highlights for me on the trip to Ireland.
Live, Learn, Love soulfully!
Angela in wonderland // Follow me on IG @jelloooh #jellooohexploration