Wednesday, August 08, 2018

A Family Day Out to Killarney National Park & Ross Castle, Co. Kerry ♥

Yesterday we found ourselves spontaneously planning a day trip to Co. Kerry.  We had already travelled over 500 miles this past weekend, but that wasn't enough to quench or thirst for wanderlust.

 I had initially wanted to go to Glendalough or the Burren, but a drive to those places was three and four hours respectively, so we went in search of somewhere a little closer to home and decided on Killarney National Park - just an hour and a half's drive from where we are in Cork.

It's somewhere I had never been before - Jacek had been there years ago, and being a family of outdoor lovers we decided to give it a go.

Killarney is such a bustling town. The place is always packed with tourists and it's a place that has such a great energy about it. The National Park entrance was just as busy, with tourists queuing up for horse and cart rides, feeding the ducks and waiting for boat tours.

The National Park itself is free to enter - which is fab as family days out can get quite expensive. We packed our own picnic and headed off for our stroll around the park.

We made sure to bring Beau's teddy and buggy this time and thankfully there was no whinging or crying from either of the boys during our time there - yay! The paths of the park are stoney but also buggy friendly, so if you need the buggy bring it.

The lakes of Killarney are absolutely stunning! Even though we arrived on a misty and miserable morning, the view was still beautiful and we set off to Governors Rock to soak it all in. This is a great viewpoint and the closest one in distance, so we headed there first and had a little picnic sitting on a low tree branch.

From there we headed to Library Point, which was a 1.5k walk. This would have been an ideal spot to go swimming in - if we had brought our swimming togs and it was a warm day of course!

The views weren't as scenic here but the boys had great fun down on the shoreline walking out on the stones and playing with sticks. They also found a little hollow in a tree here which Tyler declared was Peter Rabbit's house, bless his heart.

From there we decided to head back through the woodland to visit Ross' Castle. We decided to give the Mining Trail a skip as it was a 2k walk (so 4k in total!) and I don't think that little tired feet would have managed it.

In fairness to the boys they did fab walking around the park, but it would have been great to have brought Tyler's bike with us - bikes are allowed cycle through the park so it's worth remembering if you're ever planning a visit.

It seems as though we missed the best part of the park - Muckross House and the waterfall, although I genuinely don't know how we would have gotten to it, unless it was on the Mining Trail. It wasn't sign posted anywhere throughout the park and Google Maps had taken us to this particular part of the park... but it's something for another day at least.

When we got to Ross' Castle we were disappointed to learn that it was by guided tour only. I hate guided tours, I prefer to explore by myself and with two young children, it's a lot easier to go about on your own than with a group, so we gave it a skip. Tyler was quite disappointed as he loves castles, but I'm sure we'll return when the boys are a bit older.

Outside the castle though, he took delight in talking to the hoards of ducks and swans which we swimming right by the shore. It was a lovely sight and a great place to sit and look out on with the beautiful view of the lakes beyond. The great thing about Irish castles is that the outsides are just as striking to look at as the insides, so we took in the views of the castle and Tyler had fun climbing the steps outside it.

I have to admit, Killarney National Park isn't my favourite of all the places we've ever visited (admittedly we seem to have lost out on seeing the best bit!), but it was a nice excuse for a family walk in the great outdoors at least.

If we were ever to go again I would definitely do the boat tour (we had missed the times for it twice while we were there!) and visit the other, more interesting side with Muckross House - as people have recommended.

Nevertheless, it's a nice, free family day out and perfect for those who love the great outdoors and appreciate the stunning views of the Irish landscape.


1 comment

  1. We were the opposite. We didn't manage to see Ross Castle but done Torc Waterfall and Muckross House. have to write up soon


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