Day Four – The best scenery yet, a mishap, and lunch at an authentic pub.
When we left the hotel today, we didn’t have to rush and pack up, since we get to spend a second night in Killarney. Kevin drove us around the famously beautiful Ring of Kerry, a circular stretch of scenic highway, with peat bogs, sheep-dotted fields, mountains, lakes, and Atlantic inlets. Fuchsias grow as wild shrubs along these roads in the National Forest.The first human habitations appeared during Neolithic times, and copper mining and smelting was done during the Bronze Age. Kevin has family history here, and many celebrities have been associated with this area.
En route to our first garden of the day, we stopped for road construction, and a small construction van sideswiped our bus, leaving minor damage, and kept on going. Our driver called the police (Garda), and an officer interviewed all parties involved and tour members who were witnesses.
After this delay, we arrived at Glanleam Gardens to find that the access road was too narrow for the long drive down to the stately house. Many idyllic pathways led us among tropical plants and along the seashore. Some of the tree ferns are over 450 years old; originally they had been used as ships’ ballasts, were discarded, and rooted into the soil! One of the best aspects of this visit was being served scones and tea in the dining room.
Lunch was scheduled at the Blind Piper, an “authentic” pub. We were served a pint (if desired), a main dish such as fish & chips or Guiness stew, and dessert. Several people declared the apple tart “to die for”.
The trip continued through the mountains and National Park. We stopped at Ladies’ View, a scenic view overlooking misty mountains and valley, where we listened to a man playing Irish Pipes. Rhododendrons are considered invasive here, and the forests are filled with mossy oaks.
The gardens at Muckross, viewed in the afternoon, are set around a magnificent old country house. Features included a walled garden featuring red tree roses, and herb knot garden, and a shady rock garden.
Back in Killarney, several people decided to eat a quick, simple supper. We have been eating too much! Some went to bed to catch up on their rest, some shopped or went out to eat, and others hiked to nearby Ross Castle.