Ireland Recap Day 6: The Pounding Drizzle of Killarney

We knew this day would come. We packed and prepared and understood that Ireland is green for a reason: rain. This actually gave us a good excuse to lounge around the castle, as one does in Ireland, before hitting the bricks for Killarney. Ballyseede Castle, like the Old Ground hotel, had a traditional Irish breakfast set in a very elegant dining room. We returned to our rooms and finished packing and getting ready to travel again. We spent a little time in the drawing room planning our trip to Killarney (a short drive by comparison to the day before) while Dave and Roger played chess and Stephanie gave us an impromptu recital on the castles piano. After the rain had let up a bit, we loaded up the cars and headed towards Killarney.

Killarney is a popular tourist town where some sections streets are lined with tour buses. The town has an abundance of hotels and restaurants and is a good jump point to areas like the Ring of Kerry and other area attractions. Like most towns in Ireland, we found our street map was woefully inadequate. After driving down High street a couple of times we finally managed to find our hotel, the Killarney International, which was only a minor victory. We needed to find a place to park next. The hotel is located near the town center and does not have it's own parking lot. The next best thing was a pay lot at the end of the block. Perhaps it was the drive down to Killarney and getting lost trying to find our hotel, maybe the lack of parking, or just the fact that we had to walk to hotel in what can only be described as "pounding drizzle", but Craig was not in the best of moods. That soon faded though, even if we did have to pay to park, it was only between 9am and 6pm, when we would be out driving somewhere, so it really wasn't that big of a deal. We left the luggage in the cars and hoofed it to the hotel lobby.

We were still a little early for check-in, but the rooms were all ready which was a welcome relief. We opted to go check out our rooms first before retrieving the luggage. The hotel is wedged in between several other buildings and we began to refer to it as the MC Escher hotel. The halls and staircases would twist and turn with no obvious structured floor plan...perhaps calling it the Winchester Mansion hotel would be more appropriate. At one point, there were two different hallways that both point to our room number but looked to be going in opposite directions. We finally found our room (really quite appropriate to not only get lost in Killarney, but lost in our own hotel) which was very modern in comparison to everywhere else we stayed (complete with hot tub and flat panel TV).

After freshening up a bit, Roger and I ran back to the van so I could pull it around and unload the luggage, (no need to haul it through the rain). We paid for the rest of the day at the lot and decided to explore a bit of Killarney despite the rain/drizzle. The first stop was to acquire some lunch. Right across the street from the hotel was a tiny pizzeria, just the thing for a rainy day. Feeling a bit refreshed, we stopped out to the Killarney Outlet Shops (not to be confused with the outlet shops we have here, it really is more of a shopping mall where things are a little more expensive). Anne and Roger were intending on climbing the highest mountain in Ireland and needed some outdoor supplies like a compass. Having acquired that, the next stop was the local TI (Tourist Information Office).

I like to think I had done a pretty good job of finding activities to do up until this point, but the only thing I really had for the Killarney area was the Ring of Kerry and a day trip to Waterford. The TI had some other brochures of area attractions as well as a pretty good gift shop. We all split up and decided to meet in the hotel lobby for dinner at a set time. Jen and I roamed the streets of Killarney in search of trinkets and gifts as well as a good place for dinner. Killarney is not lacking in gift shops which is good for bargain hunters or people on a budget. We made note of several restaurant ideas to pitch to the crew and returned to the hotel to relax for a bit.

Anne & Roger may have spent a bit too much time in the rain since they had lost their voices and wanted to spend the rest of the evening resting up. Dave, Stephanie, Jen and myself headed to the logical choice in restaurants when in Ireland: Chinese. I was very pleased to see some Irish inspired dishes. I've never had a garlic salmon dish before, at least not quite like that, but it was very tasty. We returned to the hotel to meet in the local pub and discuss Tuesdays adventure over a well deserved pint: the Ring of Kerry.

Some pics from the day can be found here (not too many though, I did not want to get the camera out in the rain)

Day 7 preview: The Ring of Kerry