Our trip to Ireland was booked on such a whim that it didn’t even seem real – that is, until we were driving down an Irish highway in a manual hatchback on the left side of the road. That was very real. I can’t remember what it was that made us all say “Sure, let’s travel together. Internationally. For the first time.” But the trip was promptly booked and we went about our lives until we all met at the airport on a Friday night, bags packed, ready to go. However it happened, I’m glad it did. It led us to Killarney and the Dingle peninsula.
Killarney sits on the Ring of Kerry in Southwestern Ireland, and butting right up to the town is Killarney National Park. This is where we explored Muckross Abbey and the Torc Waterfall.
I went absolutely bananas over the moss forest inside the park – and lest you think this is Photoshop trickery, here is a very un-staged and careless picture of us walking through the forest:
It REALLY is that green.
Killarney itself is a gorgeous town, and we were lucky the weather held out for us as we explored the shops and restaurants for a few days.
While my mother was digging into her ancestry before the trip, she happened to come across the actual name of the Townland where her great-great-great grandmother was born. She came to the US when she was just 8 years old. The Townland, as it turns out, is 10 minutes north of beautiful Killarney, so we stopped by for a visit.
Then we drove out to Dingle for an afternoon horseback ride.
Our plans to, ahem, “gallop on the beach” were halted immediately when it became clear that none of us were properly equipped to handle a walking horse, nevermind a galloping one. Well I shouldn’t say that – Susan at Dingle Horse Riding was kind enough to compliment my riding skills and allowed me to ride on a different trail than the group. It was there, on top of the mountain overlooking the entire Dingle peninsula, where I galloped for the very first time. It was, by far, one of the most beautiful and thrilling moments of my entire life. I wish I had pictures, but even if I did they wouldn’t compare to the ones in my memory. Anyway, my mom said I looked really cool.
Next time I go back, rest assured I’ll be riding horses on Dingle Beach.
Up next: Galway, Cliffs of Moher and Dublin