03 Jul

Ireland: The Highlights (part 2)

From Dingle, we made our way toward Killarney, where I got Bing Crosby’s rendition of “Christmas in Killarney” stuck in my head for two days, but first we stopped at Inch Strand, which is a long and wide beach, still in the Dingle peninsula. (I’ve read that Inch strand is 3 ½ miles long. We didn’t walk the entire length of it.)

In Killarney, we rented bikes once again, but they were much more expensive than the Dingle bikes, and not made for efficiency. At the rental office, they asked for a driver’s license to ensure we returned the bikes, and they also gave us a bike lock, proving that we were in a bigger town (in Dingle, they had done none of the above). Unfortunately, they didn’t prepare us well with directions. The map they gave us was A-trocious. Still, we mostly found our way; we rode to Killarney National Park, which is full of gravel paths and nice views of a lake called Lough Leane (“lough” is the Irish word for lake, kinda like the Scottish “loch” and pronounced pretty similarly). But the hilly ride kinda destroyed Eileen’s knees.

The following day, having learned that our best times were when we got out of the car and explored on foot or bike, we stopped at another park near Glengarriff and embarked on a light hike. It had been raining pretty steadily all morning, but it let up just in time for our arrival at the park (it was a nature reserve, I think). By now, the Bing Crosby song in my head had been replaced by “Cracklin Rosie” by Neil Diamond, which I heard in some store in Killarney. Why is she “crackling,” by the way?

The nature reserve was nice. We took a 1-km loop, which we just about completed before encountering a huge puddle obstructing the path. We could see the lot where we’d parked our car, but this puddle was not the kind you just sidestep. It was a shoes-submersed puddle. So we turned around and hiked a different path to a waterfall, where we were able to join up with the park road that would take us back to the parking lot. By the time we got to our car, though, the river had overrun its banks to the extent that water was just a foot or two away from the front tires of our car, which was parked about 30-40 feet from the river’s original bank.
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