Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Ireland - Killarney National Park and the Dingle Peninsula

The final leg of our trip took us to near the Dingle Peninsula, and within easy reach of Killarney National Park. The park is much more mountainous than what we'd seen in Ireland, and we were keen to explore. Dodging the spring weather we managed two good day hikes in the park along with poking around when the weather didn't cooperate.

Our first big hike took us from the famous Muckross House, a large mansion built in 1843, now part of the national park. After passing through the gardens we made it up to Torc Waterfall then over a ridge with amazing views of the many lakes of the park. 

Torc Waterfall

Rhododendron, originally planted in the gardens, it has escaped into the mountains

Cuckoo Flower

Yellow Flag Iris

The Muckross House

Our other big hike was the Gap of Dunloe. The walk up a narrow road took us to the "Gap," a mountain pass that separates the MacGillycuddy Reeks mountains from the Purple Mountain Range. Not satisfied with just a simple walk up the road to the Gap, we added a climb up on the high mountain ridge above, where we nearly got blown off the top in what I estimate was 60+ mph wind gusts. We quickly scampered back down to a lower and safer elevation to finish our hike. Too much fun.

The farmers spray paint their sheep with unique colors so they know who's is who's

Large Flowered Butterwort

Common Lousewort

Common Spotted Orchid

Just a little windy

Grey-leaved Cistus

We visit Ross Castle on a rainy day

Common Bluebell


Our final destination in the area was a drive around the Dingle Peninsula. We had a perfect weather day for the beautiful sights.

Chandler finally got to hold a lamb 

Returning to Dublin the following day, we made a stop at the Rock of Cashel, which dates back to 5th century. St. Patrick himself was reputed to have been there. 

Castle at Rock of Cashel

On our last day we visited Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library, which we highly recommend if you are in Dublin.

Dublin Castle

Friday, June 17, 2022

Ireland - The Burren and Cliffs of Moher

At the Cliffs of Moher
The next leg of our trip took us to a couple of the iconic places in Ireland - the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. The Cliffs are on the west coast between the villages of Doolin and Liscannor. There is a 8 mile trail along the top of the 400-500 foot tall cliffs affording incredible views. We started in the south on the part of trail with fewer tourists. We walked north until we got too close to where all the tourist buses go. When the sea of humanity got too much for us we turned around. Not a problem though as the best part of the trail is the part we did.

Marsh Orchid

The Burren, including Burren National Park, takes some time to explore. In this glaciated karst (limestone) landscape are grasslands, limestone pavement, cliffs, scrub woodlands, ponds, and more. The scenery is incredible, and because we went in the spring the wildflowers were amazing. We did several hikes in The Burren and could easily have spent more time if we had it. 

Bloody Crane's-Bill

Mountain Avens


Early Marsh-Orchid

Carpet Bugle

Spring Gentian

Poulnabrone Dolmen, a 5000+ year old neolithic portal tomb in The Burren

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Spring Gentian

Mountain Avens

Bird's-foot Tefoil

The Irish have been building rock fences for over 5000 years

Bloody Crane's-Bill

Marsh Marigold


As we drove south to our next destination, we just had to stop for one more cliff walk at Kilkee.

The little pink flower is Sea Thrift