Also note to self: Before you spend 10 minutes searching for your Oakleys check the top of your head.
So today I went out on a boat. But before I get to the boat, let me tell you how I GOT TO the boat.
I went to a beautiful place in the mountains called the Gap of Dunloe. It is just what it sounds like - a gap in the mountains just near Killarney. The boat I needed to get to was on the OTHER side of the gap, which is a 10 kilometer winding path through the mountains. I had three choices - I could ride in a pony cart, walk... OR I could ride a horse. No brainer. I used to ride horses fairly regularly as a kid, so what the heck.
|This was at the end of the ride...didn't want it to end.|
|Michael our guide. Nice Irish guy with a VERY thick accent - spoke gaelic to the horses, it was very cool.|
|Have no idea what this flower is???|
The boat that took us through the chain of 14 lakes back to Killarney was a small wooden boat - not totally uncomfortable except for the fact that I had just ridden a horse for 2 hours.
The water appeared almost black - that may have been due to the cloud coverage. It didn't rain, but the wind was brisk enough that I put my hood up. It was probably around 50 degrees with the wind chill factor - and to this Florida girl that felt freezing.
It was relatively quiet but for the soft hum of the boats motor. Once in a while our boat captain would stop and point out a ruin or talk about the lake. Loch Lein was the largest lake we went through, and at one point he said it was 450 ft. deep, which may have accounted for the color of the water. There are eagles that nest along the cliffs of the river but we were not lucky enough to see them.
|Our boat guide..he was funnier than he looks in this picture|
At one point he stopped the boat and pointed out the thick rhododendron that hugs the bank of the river - he said that these plants are choking out the oak trees. To which one Irish passenger said "they were brought over by the Americans, weren't they?".."yes" said the guide "and they are killing the trees"...there was a moment of silence in the boat when everyone looked at me (the only American)...so I smiled and said "well... I apologize"....it was pretty funny. But I did learn yesterday on the Ring of Kerry that in recent years there was a forest fire that could have been much worse but for the rhodedendrum that stopped the fire. So take that.
We landed on shore at Ross Castle - a 15th century castle from the O'Donahue family.
I'll miss Killarney tomorrow when I leave. This is a wonderful town. Today I met an artist, Deborah O'Keefe, who actually gave me one of her small greeting cards as gift, because I admired her pastel of sheep. She was charming.
I will be on a train to Dublin early tomorrow so I leave you with the signs of Killarney...
Slainte! Off to find some good craic.