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Poor old Arney :(
Killarney in general
Killarney in general
Date: 24/06/01, updated on 18/11/02 (55 review reads)
Advantages: Pubs, Scenery, and, err, pubs.
I think the best way to go about this opinion is just to give you a run down of what we done and then try to add in any additional info that I can think of, so here goes!
The first thing that caught my eye as we approached Killarney on the N22 from Cork was the way that the road corridor had been developed. Driving on dual carriageways is never my idea of fun, but the placement of many weird and wonderful sculptures along the route certainly added a bit of interest. More than anything else, this gave me the impression that the local authorities were really trying to make an effort, and gave me confidence that my visit to Killarney would be worthwhile.
My next observation, however, was not so positive - gridlock!! Like just about every town I have ever visited in Ireland gridlock is a big problem in Killarney. Don't be surprised if you spend at least an hour travelling from one end of the town to the other at peak times. If you do hit Killarney at peak time then I would heartily advise that you know exactly where you are going by studying a map first - believe me when I say you do not want to be going round in circles here!
So after fighting our way through traffic hell we eventually got to our B&B. If this opinion does anything I hope it is to convince anyone who is visiting Killarney to stay in the Northwood House B&B. This was without doubt the best B&B I have ever stayed in. The whole place was immaculate, the breakfast was excellent and our room had a balcony with spectacular views over the lakes and mountains of the Killarney National Park. You can have a look at http://www.northwoodhouse.com/ but the site doesn't real
ly do the B&B the justice it deserves.
For our first night we decided to go and see a show in the famous Gleneagle Hotel, one of the most popular cabaret venues outside of Dublin. We looked up the local "what's on" brochure and seen that Brendan Grace was appearing that night. Excellent, he is one of my favourite comedians! Not wanting to trail around looking for somewhere to eat we decided to splash out and have dinner in the hotel restaurant. Well, we thought it would be splashing out, but it turned out to be very reasonably priced and a really excellent meal. The night was only dampened by the fact that Johnny McEvoy was the support act (if you have ever heard Johnny McEvoy you will know how torturous that was!!). A great night out and a great start to our time in Killarney.
Next morning we were up bright and early to drive round the 'Ring of Kerry'. The Ring of Kerry can truly boast scenery to match anything I have ever seen before. I will write a full opinion on the Ring of Kerry in due course, so I will just give a basic run down here.
'The Ring of Kerry' is the term used to describe the route round the Killarney National Park, around the coast of County Kerry, and back into Killarney Town. My tip is to get up early and start off well before the coach trips do! The best way to drive is in an anti-clockwise direction because a) the best views are that way, and b) the roads are quite narrow and driving in the opposite direction from the bulk of the traffic is not recommended!! If you don't stop, the drive will take three to four hours - but you will stop frequently so give yourself lots of time.
When we eventually got back to Killarney we didn't have a lot of time to get shifted and out again - we had decided to go back to the Gleneagle to see 'The Wolfe Tones'. On our way to the Gleneagle we stopped in for dinner at the Whitegates Hotel (Muckross Road). If you are in Killarney
and looking for a bite to eat you really should go here! The meals are fabulous and far more food is served that you could possibly eat (a bit of a waste, but excellent value). Added to great food in abundance and at a reasonable (cheap) price is the fact that there is always a live act on. When we visited the group was belting out some Irish ballads and they were very good indeed.
That night seeing the Wolfe Tones at the Gleneagle was one of the best nights out that I have ever had (well, it was his turn to drive next day so I had more than my fair share of the black beer!).
Next day we took a drive round the Dingle Peninsula in the morning. Had the weather been better we would have spent more time doing the Dingle thing, but as it happened it was rather overcast and a bit foggy in places so we decided to head back and explore Killarney Town in the afternoon.
The town itself is a wonderful place and well worth taking the time to explore. If you have read my opinion on Ennis, Co Clare, you will know that I love the narrow cobbled lanes there, and similar are to be found in Killarney Town. Numerous unusual shops can be found dotted around the town, and as much as I dislike shopping I have to say I did enjoy wandering in and out of them. In the lanes in particular you will find little craft shops and artists studios, small pubs and eateries. Did I mention pubs? Stop, rewind, yes pubs - there are loads of them! They range from modern bars like you would find in any town, through to traditional pubs. One peculiarity of this area of Ireland is that snugs can often be found at the rear of shops, which actually makes shopping more enjoyable since you can have a swift half while you are waiting on your purchases being bagged! As well as many pubs there are also loads of restaurants and cafes which cater for every taste and budget.
As for attractions in Killarney itself there isn't really anything of great note. We did take a walk u
p to the Cathedral where there is a massive tree which marks a mass grave of children who died during the great famine. While I say there isn't anything of note, the town itself, and in particular the architecture could well be described of being of note. Some of the buildings date back a couple of centuries and the whole town really has an 'olden days' feel to it.
I think that is really about all I can say about Killarney town (we stayed in the town all evening but to be honest some of my memories are rather sketchy - I wonder why that would be!!). The real beauty of staying in Killarney is that it makes an excellent base for visiting the surrounding areas.
If you are the outdoor type I would seriously recommend Killarney as being unmissable. There are many activities on offer including fishing, walking, boating, cycling and a few nearby golf courses. Me, I will be returning to stay in Killarney as a base for a hillwalking holiday at some point. The MacGillycuddy's Reeks are among the highest peaks in Ireland (one of the mountains, Carrauntuohil, is actually *the* highest in Ireland) and after viewing them from our balcony for a few days I just have to get out there and clamber up them at some point.
Even if you aren't the outdoor type it is definitely a place which is well worth a visit - I can heartily recommend it.
[Footnote: I have posted a few scenic photographs from our trip on the site which is listed on my profile as my homepage. There are a few pics from the Ring of Kerry in there in case you fancy having a look!]