This weekend also is the launch of Summerfest, with loads on. Not a bad excuse to head to Kerry!
Now, I’m not saying this has anything to do with the power of ice cream, but Tripadvisor has announced its Traveller’s Choice Destination Awards, and both Dingle and Killarney rate in the top 100, based upon reviews and ratings by Tripadvisor’s 15 million members.
Dingle comes in an amazing 18th in the worldwide list of best places to visit, and Killarney comes in 85th, ahead of Rome, Barcelona, and Machu Picchu!
Galway is the only other Irish town listed, coming 42nd, and, in case you were wondering, Milford Sound in New Zealand comes first.
And, thanks to the Kerry News Blog, I’ve found out that Ryanair is going to be offering three daily services between Dublin and Kerry starting in July, so it’s just become easier to come to Dingle or Killarney!
Today, I found myself in Killarney to do some bits and pieces for the shop. This last week has been such a whirlwind with the book coming out and lots of other things going on with the business (including a visit by a Japenese TV crew). So I took the opportunity to sneak off for a walk in the National Park.
Each time I go, it is balm to the soul. There is so much peace and beauty in the place, that even when it’s packed with tourists it’s a haven.
Today, however, there weren’t many people about, especially for a dry Saturday. The mood was gentle and lazy. Boatmen chatted or read the paper. Jarveys snoozed on their jaunting cars as their horses grazed away.
The lake rippled, the leaves rustled, and the ducks and swans paddled around aimlessly, even when a dog jumped in beside them to cool down. He emerged quite happy and shook himself. The ducks paid no attention.
A couple of Italian tourists walked ahead of me on the path, then stopped to kiss. I kept on walking. Soon I was alone except for the spectacular abundance of nature.
After an endless winter, spring is finally here on over-drive. The trees are sprouting leaves in record time, and the meadows have blanketed themselves with flowers in the past two weeks.
The scent of them is overwhelming, and as I walked I thought about the week-long trip I booked to Barcelona. It suddenly seemed to be a bit of a mistake.
Who needs Spain with weather like this? Although I’ll be happy enough with the buzz of the city, with the museums, sights, and tapas, perhaps a better vacation would be to simply grab my hiking boots and keep going in the park.
I’ve always wanted to walk the Kerry Way, stopping at bed and breakfasts each night. I have never done it, instead just dipping in and out from time to time. The mountains, however, looked so inviting today and the paths so soft that it was hard to turn away.
Sometime quite soon I’m going to do it. I’ll head to Killarney to take an hour walk and not come home for several days.
One of the things about living in Co. Kerry is that you’re constantly overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and sea. Even after 13 years in residence, I find myself in awe.
We have had both shops open, which is rare for this time of year, and we will close up after the weekend for a little break. In the meantime, with my brother visiting the inlaws in Germany, I’ve been running back and forth between the two shops, trying to keep them in ice cream and baked goods.
The wind was blowing back spray from the huge, rolling waves, the sun had started to set beside the mountains on the Iveragh Peninsula, and a lone surfer tried to battle the sea.
It might have been very cold, but I took a walk on the beach for almost an hour before driving on, soaking it all in. I wasn’t the only one. Quite a few cars pulled over, as their occupants clearly couldn’t resist a stroll or simply a long look.
What a blessing it is to live in such a place!
Later, I ate again at Cucina Italiana in Killarney. Another wonderful, comforting meal, especially on such a cold night. If you find yourself hungry in Killarney, don’t miss it!
This is always a hectic but fun time of year for me, since yesterday is my Aunt Carol’s birthday, today is my mother’s birthday, tomorrow, of course, is Christmas, and then there is the wren on the 26th.
Today, despite dire weather forcasts, the sun shone brightly, the wind was slack, and the afternoon was much more like May than December.
With the shops closed and the deliveries done, we all went for a stroll on Ventry beach, including Ivan the ice cream dog (above).
What an absolute delight. I might have ice cream and chocolate on the brain for most of the year, but for these few days it’s great to relax and spend time with family. I hope this day was as enjoyable for you!
Instead of the usual, we decided to do a 5 star Christmas breakfast this year for our staff party. We went to the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Killarney for a great feed and lovely views.
Afterwards, we went skating. Well, at least we tried!
This morning in Dingle, we had the Radio Kerry mobile broadcast unit in town to highlight Dingle’s Christmas shopping options.
Good as this was, it was amazing to go to Killarney this afternoon to visit our shop and see Christmas in Killarney in operation. That town operates on a totally different level, and it’s very impressive.
Not only are there numerous events including markets, dancing competitions and a skating rink, but I came across a fire juggler (photo above) and other entertainments. They know how to throw a party.
In the national park, the committee had set up a Santa’s grotto, with a twist. Kids could go in and visit Santa, but instead of receiving gifts from the man in red, they BROUGHT gifts for children less well off than themselves. There was a huge line of people waiting their turn to deliver presents – quite a heart-warming spectacle.
I spent today in Killarney, where “Christmas in Killarney” is in full swing. I really have to hand it to the South Kerry town – everyone pulls together on such events and the community spirit is immense.
They blocked off Main Street and had food markets and other traders (on again tomorrow and in two weeks time), and there was quite a buzz, in spite of the gales. The festival committee had also set up a charity kitchen/service area, and that’s where I was – giving away ice cream and hot chocolates for charity. And before you say anything – yes, people do eat ice cream in such cold conditions!
A day well spent, and I think I have a new dark hot chocolate (might appeal to Markham), and it certainly was a hit with the crowds, but more on that later…