When we woke up in the morning to find that the rain had never stopped and that nothing we owned was dry (but rather more wet than last night), we made the executive decision to go downhill towards a hotel and phone for a vehicle of sorts. I could tell Dan was miserable and I was afraid he’d get pneumonia. My tendonitis was stating to ache in my knees. We reached a hotel and were welcomed with hot drinks and food, then someone called a friend named Patrick to bring his van over and drive us back to Killarney. We were fed up with the Ring of Kerry. We had concluded it’s a touristy junction and the only pretty parts were at the beginning; we had literally done the best things in the first few hours hiking and biking in the mountains at the National Park. We were glad to make it back the long, long, long car ride to Killarney. We grabbed our bags at the hotel and said “screw this place” and bought the first tickets out of there. We much prefer Dublin.
There were definitely more beautiful places to hike on our trip than the Ring of Kerry. Even the Ring of Aran was more enjoyable, and I’ve been given other recommendations to avoid the throngs of tourists that flood Killarney each summer. Nothing compared to the mountains we saw in Scotland, and I’d say Scotland also takes the cake for its vast multitudes of sheep, lakes, and scenery. The Burren was probably the most beautiful scenery I had seen in Ireland, matched by the Cliffs of Moher along its edge. And nothing compares to the awe we felt while walking Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Our train ride was long back to Dublin; we transferred in Mallow. I used the wi-fi for most of the trip and Dan rested some. We got Guinness in cans and reconfirmed that nothing compares to Guinness on tap. Back in Dublin, we walked from the Heuston station to the Phoenix Park to sit for a few minutes, then we headed back to Heuston and caught the LUAS for Connolly. From Connolly, our hostel was a short walk – literally a block or so closer than the Gresham. We checked in and found that we had an enormous room to ourselves. We left the hostel to walk along the river towards the Dublin Castle, debating where to go next. I decided that, rather than trying to go windsurfing or see the shore or Dundrum, maybe we should just find a nice place to eat and then go to Temple Bar at night.
I had a friend in Ireland at the time, but we never managed to meet up. Instead, Dan and I dressed nicely and walked to Chapter One. Oh, just kidding, they’re serious about needed reservations…like three weeks in advance! A couple saw us outside and suggested The Hot Stove. We were taken in at this new place, just down the street, and seated in the basement area with the other guests. Here, we splurged. Or should I say Dan splurged. He bought us appetizers, main courses, desserts, and wine. It was extremely delicious, but it takes four hours to eat anywhere in Europe. After we were done, we walked to Temple Bar to Oliver St. John Bogarty’s where we had a few Guinnesses – our last in Dublin – and listened to some great live Irish music in a packed bar with soccer on the screen. It was a great night. We came back late to our room for a mere four hours of sleep before needing to pack and leave.
A flower on the Kerry Way.
Kerry Way trail in the park.