We really enjoyed our time in Cork. The hotel gave us a full Irish Breakfast. Irish breakfast is nothing like English breakfast. Black pudding, white pudding and Irish bacon are three important items in any Irish breakfast. Black pudding consists of pieces of sausages made from blood, meat, fat, oatmeal, bread or potato fillers. White pudding is the same without blood. Irish bacon is made from the back of the pig instead of the belly. I managed to eat the whole breakfast, just to taste it, but I may not do it again. I found the bacon to be unusually salty. Black pudding and White pudding are fine, but needs getting used to.
Killrney in a very popular tourist resort in Ireland. There are many tourist hotels and countless Bed and Breakfast places in the city. We stayed in a hotel that is known as Loch Lein Country House.
It is a very highly rated, small luxury hotel in Killarney. It is about seven kilometres from the city centre of Killarney. The hotel is privately owned and run by a couple Annette and Paul Corridan. We have read the raving reviews of this hotel in Trip Advisor and booked it on line. We fully agree with those good reviews and like to add that it is one of the best hotels in Killarney.
We left Cork after breakfast and took less than two hours to arrive in Killarney. It was only 11:30 AM when we arrived at the hotel. Paul came up to us and shook hands with us giving us a warm welcome. We knew it was too early to check in and the normal checking in time was 2:00PM. We said we just came in to see the hotel, but we can go to the city centre and come back at 2:00PM. Paul said there was no need, the room would be made ready immediately if it is not already made and we could have a coffee while he checks with the staff. We found the room was ready and one of the bell boys took our bags into the room. Paul instructed staff to arrange coffee for us. We sat in the garden facing the great lakes of Killarney and had coffee with cakes. It was a great start for the best two days of our trip.
We found our hotel room to be bigger than other hotel rooms having windows facing the lake. The room was elegantly decorated with a large comfortable king size bed in the centre. The bathroom was very clean and roomy. We were going to spend two nights in this hotel. We decided to drive back to the city and see the Muckross house on the first day. That would allow us to spend the second day doing the ring of Kerry.
Muckross house is a nineteenth century Victorian mansion. It was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour Herbert. William Burn the well known Scottish architect was responsible for its design. During the 1850s, Herbert family undertook to do extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria’s visit. This gardening tradition has been maintained to this date. There are three main gardens known as the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and the Stream Garden.
The house itself has been maintained as a showpiece by the families who owned it. You have to pay and take the guided tour to have access to all the main rooms. Unfortunately the tour guide informed us that we are not allowed take photographs inside the house. We have no photographs to show the furniture and decorations of the internal areas in the house. The owners have travelled extensively and bought some expensive items to decorate the house. There were two small triangular tables with their legs in the shape of standing elephants. The owners have brought them from Sri Lanka. The tables have been painted to look like ebony, but the guide told us the wood was not ebony.
According to the tour guide, there were some twenty odd servants to attend to various errands in the house. There was a system of bells all connected to strings and the house owners could ring them any time during the day to summon the servants. Each bell emanated a different sound and the servants knew what each sound meant and obeyed the summons immediately.
We had dinner in a pub called Murphy’s pub in the city. We were planning to taste Irish pub food for a long time and this was our chance. Mala ordered an Irish Lamb stew and I ordered an Irish Guiness beef casserole.
On our second day in Killarney we had our breakfast in the hotel and started early to do the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a very well known scenic route that covers a total distance of nearly 180 kilometres. It takes you through some beautiful beaches, mountain areas, lakes and pretty Irish villages.
While driving along the Ring of Kerry, we came to a small village called Cahersiveen and saw a name board showing a French Patisserie. We stopped the car in a parking lot in the main street and looked for it. It was hidden among other buildings,but after asking from other shops on the road, we finally found it. It was an authentic French patisserie run by a French couple. We sat there and had two almond croissants and coffee. We bought more stuff to take back with us to the hotel.
Adjoining the ring of Kerry, there is another ring called Skellig Ring. Halfway through the Ring of Kerry, after passing the village Cahersiveen, you take a small ferry and enter the island called Valentia Island.
You can spend a few days exploring the island. We could only afford to spend a couple of hours in the island. We opted to visit Glanleam House and gardens in the island. These gardens have been created and maintained by a family for many years. There are walking tracks, paths leading to the beach, very rare tropical trees and many different flowering shrubs in this garden. In one place, there is a healing well and a healing energy slate. Both the well and the slate are supposed to have healing powers. You can stand on the slate or sit keeping your bare foot on the slate for thirty minutes to absorb energy and get rid of any sicknesses.
We drove out of the island using a long bridge at the other end. After passing a small village called The Glen, we came across a chocolate factory. Every tourist who passes this way stops at the chocolate factory to taste chocolates. We stopped at the factory and tasted all the different types of chocolates that are manufactured in the factory.
We ended up buying a few packets of chocolates. and managed to complete both the Ring of Kerry and Skellig Ring in one day. If you want to properly cover everything in Killarney, you need one week or more.
Tomorrow we would be leaving Killarney and planning to visit Sligo and then Belfast in Northern Ireland.