After a day touring the Dingle Peninsula, I had planned that the next day would be much more relaxed, concentrating on the Killarney National Park about thirty minutes south of our home base at Gortbrack Farm. We arrived around 10:00 and just caught a tour of the Muckross House, whose beautiful interior you will have to find on other sites, and tourist slobs such as ourselves were forbidden to take pictures. Our guide spoke English with a heavy Spanish accent, hard to understand at times, so I just mentally filled in the blanks about the house's history. I thought I heard her say something about Darth Vader having once lived there, but I couldn't be sure.
After the obligatory stop in the gift shop (I bought a nice journal for myself), it was lunchtime. Being a distance from town, we decided on lunch in the on-site cafeteria. So did everyone else, and it was crowded, but we snuck into a newly emptied table a bit of Sheppard's Pie. It wasn't unreasonably priced, and the food was pretty good.
A big draw are the grounds, with many kinds of gardens to wander. Unlike the house, the gardens were free, as was parking, so even if you have no interest in mansion touring, Killarney is still worth a stop. Directly behind the house was the rose garden, but that was just the first of many gardens we saw.
Further back was the arboretum, protected by fences sand walls, and we had the trails to ourselves. We didn't experience many sites in Ireland we had to ourselves, so it was nice to be briefly away from the crowds.
Enormous plants grew besides the creek, and they reminded me of giant rhubarb plants. I did not try to eat them, however - the nasty looking bards on the stems seemed like a potent plant defense. And mama told me never to eat strange plants. Or was that Ranger Rick?
The second item on the my list was Torc Waterfall. There are several ways to get there. First, you can drive. The parking lot isn't large, so you take your chances with that. The second way is to take a jaunting car, a horse-drawn carriage. And the third way is to walk. We took Option #3. Two trails run between Muckross and Torc, and they are parallel to each other. The first is a narrow dirt path and the second is a wide paved path. It's just a preference - they go to the same place.
We first stopped by the boat house to see if they had bathrooms (they didn't, but the waterfall had facilities). While at the boathouse, we went exploring and found these very cool moss-covered bit of forest next to the boat house.