Day 1 - Off-Road Sidewalk Safari - Killarney National Park

There are two ways to get to County Kerry from Dublin - by land or by air.  We decided to forgo the 4+ hour drive each way in favor of flying to Kerry and renting a car there.  Our plan was foolproof except for one minor detail: Hertz at the Kerry Airport has a limited supply of vehicles with automatic transmissions and the one we were supposed to get was not returned on time (the previous renters bailed out on the flight they were supposed to be on).  Fortunately (Dr J to the rescue!), I know how to drive a stick shift (although I hate to drive and only do so if I absolutely have to).  Hertz gave us a zippy red Fiat which partially compensated for the fact that I had to drive.
I got behind the wheel (gulp!) and looked down at the controls.  Not only was I sitting on the 'wrong' side of the car, but I would be driving on the 'wrong' side as well while shifting with my left hand.  Good times.  At least the pedals are in the same position as in the US.  That could potentially be disastrous otherwise.
I managed to get us from the airport to Killarney where we parked and took a stroll through town.  My expectations weren't high when we wandered past The Smokehouse but they serve up some fantastic eggs on toast.
We continued on to Killarney National Park which is only a mile or two outside of town.  Once again, we parked and took a more extended hike centered around Muckross House.
Here's the view from the front porch.
I loved these lavender colored berries lining the hedge outside.
We hiked up to Torq Waterfall.
On our way back from the waterfall, something seemingly suspended in mid-air caught my eye.  I took a closer look and noticed this little centipede-like insect hanging by a thread.
The park is pretty damp and mossy so I wasn't surprised to see these mushrooms growing on the side of a tree.
Jaunting cars (horse drawn carriages) are a common way for tourists to get around the area.  As fun as it looks, we decided to remain on foot.
We walked along another trail into the forest and climbed up a hill where we ate lunch next to this moss covered wall.  I thought I could spy the moss equivalent of Big Foot sitting next to the fence -- can you see the outline?
It was already Fall when we visited, but there were still berries growing in places.
We continued our drive toward Kenmare -- our destination for the night.  We stopped at this pristine lake and listened to the small waves lap against the shore.
The fields surrounding the lake were dotted with yellow flowers.
This ruined castle by the side of the road was an incredible specimen.
I just had to pull over when I spotted these escaped sheep!  I noticed that farmers tended to put a spot of paint on their sheep.  I'm guessing it's to identify who belongs to who in just these sort of circumstances.
We arrived in Kenmare and enjoyed a fine dinner (complete with homemade ice cream) at the Lime Tree Restaurant.
Before dinner, we took a quick stroll around town and then popped in for a pint of Murphys at Crowley's Bar.  This pub definitely boasted some good craic but we were surrounded by Americans.  I guess when you're in a tourist town you should expect to see tourists.
We called it an early night in anticipation of the big drive around the Ring of Kerry the next day.

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Sidewalk Safari: Day 1 - Off-Road Sidewalk Safari - Killarney National Park
Day 1 - Off-Road Sidewalk Safari - Killarney National Park
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Sidewalk Safari
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