After a good but short stay in Dublin, we took a taxi to the car rental at the airport (we recommend: Conn’s Ireland Car Rental). The line was a bit long, computers were up and down, and we decided to upgrade to a diesel rather than petrol car with a bit more space. We had a coupon for a free GPS (hmm, not so free after the car upgrade), and the attendant set up our location. Chris quickly familiarized himself with driving on the opposite side for the gear shift (it was his decision to drive a standard!), mirrors and turn signal and off we drove.
Quickly it seemed that the GPS program was not what was expected based on our Google maps. After a few extra turns, we drove onto the M50 southbound. Every little while, the GPS wanted us to leave the motorway for a different route. We held firm to the manual map we had, I checked the settings on the GPS, and eventually the GPS corrected itself and we felt more confident we were on the right route.
I was watching the time as we wanted to reach the apartment by 3:30 to meet the owner and gain access to and instructions for the apartment. The route was pretty clear and easy to navigate as we traveled along several different national roads. The last turn onto Ross Rd soon brought us to the apartment building across from the Killarney National Park. We were now home.
Paul greeted us, took us around his apartment, providing instructions on heating, appliances, wood-burning fireplace (not sure we’ll use this), and left for London where he lives part of the year. This is the first time we have stayed in an apartment that is occupied by the owner between rentals. I am still getting used to the difference this makes, as there are more knickknacks around, and I had to shuffle things in the kitchen cupboards to make room for our groceries. But there is a good set of condiments to use, and a reasonable set of dishes and cookware. We have a dishwasher, and the washer/dryer combination machine looks pretty easy to use.
The apartment is mostly under-floor heated, very nice for our feet, and we are staying warm and comfortable. The upstairs bedroom is very nice, with a comfortable bed and soft linens. The 2 dormer windows provide great light and views to the park. And there are shades to block the light, though it is nice to view the stars between the clouds. In the morning we can hear the jaunting cars; these are horse drawn carts used to drive people/tourists between the town and Ross Castle, and also along the Gap of Dunloe. We plan to enjoy this form of transport at some point.
On our first night, we enjoyed a good meal and conversation at a local restaurant/pub. Our walk back to the apartment was initially well lit by street lights but the final stretch was very dark until the lights of the apartment directed us for the final stretch. We shook off the evening’s cold and slept in our cozy warm bed.
We woke the next morning to the sound of the horses starting their day being led down to Ross Castle. We gathered our backpacks and shopping bags and walked through the national forest to the town. What a beautiful route! And such a change from our time in big cities, it is exactly what we were looking for during this year of travel. We found a nice little café, and enjoyed an Irish breakfast. After shopping at each of the 2 grocery stores in town, we returned home via the national park road (we also have a shorter though less scenic option), with provisions for the next day or so. As Chris has the symptoms of a cold starting, we bought a couple of soups for easy nourishment, and some hearty Irish bread.
It is now Wednesday, our second full day in Killarney, We’ve had some rain, lots of clouds, a bit of blue sky, and brief peek of the sun; think this will be the norm. Chris is feeling pretty low with his cold and will stay in today. I think it is about time for me to grab my coat, scarf, and gloves and take a walk before more showers arrive.
I don’t contribute to the blog often, and hope you enjoy my perspective of our early days in Killarney, Ireland. – Jeannie
(The image above is a big panorama, and will open in a new tab, loading may be slow.)
PS – This has been an eventful time too, as shortly after departing Dublin, I received word that my father passed away peacefully in the night. While this was very sad news, it was good to know he was at peace, and in his final sleep, joining my mom who left almost 8 years before. This added a somber note to our day, however with each new vista, I remembered our family travels during my dad’s service in the Navy. Each new location was exciting, and our stay in Japan imprinted me with the desire to travel and experience new places in the world. And I am fortunate to have a partner who shares my wanderlust. So we will travel on, and appreciate the inspiration and support from my father.