Lough Brin, Killarney National Park


We have been home from Ireland for about three weeks now, and I am finally getting a chance to go through the photographs I made while there. When on the road traveling it is easy to skim over and ignore what might actually be decent photographs, so now that I have the time to take a serious look, I will probably be sharing some more of them here.

The photograph above was from the day Sam and I did a little exploring as we searched for the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney National Park. We traveled along a road that wasn’t even wide enough for one car, all the while keeping our fingers crossed that we wouldn’t meet anyone coming the other way. When I look at a map to see where our adventure actually took us, I notice that once off the “main” road we visited places like North Geara, Derrylicka, Cooracoosane, Inchinglanna, Bealdarrig, and Graignagreana… all great names with VERY few people around!

In this view of Lough Brin in the distance and Knocklomena to the left, the clouds were moving fast and I was drawn not only to the magnificent landscape, but also to the dappled light that was intermittently bathing the scene. To be honest, this was the Ireland that I had hoped to see on our trip, so the unscheduled detour and time spent exploring ended up being very worthwhile indeed.


Sam’s photographs of Ireland


Before we wrap up our visit to Ireland, I wanted to share a sampling of the photographs made by Sam on this trip. It was fun watching him adapt to using a DSLR (and tripod when necessary), and as I am sure you will agree, he did very well!

Lisleibane, County Kerry


If there was one complaint I had from this trip it would be that we spent more time in the car than we should have. Don’t get me wrong, we saw a ton of pretty places and enjoyed absolutely spectacular vistas, but in our attempt to see as much as we could, we didn’t get out to walk as often as we would have liked.

After wandering down through the Gap of Dunloe, Sam and I set off to look for the famously beautiful Bridia Valley. Looking at our map, there appeared to be a road that might take us deep into the valley, and from there we were hoping to be able to jump out and stretch our legs. Needless to say our navigation skills let us down again, and we ended up making a long drive that dead-ended with no obvious way to explore much further on foot.

As it was now getting late in the afternoon, we decided to back-track downhill toward Killarney. Despite our latest detour, we were actually quite content with our day’s activities and eagerly anticipating some food and our nightly ritual of a good pint (or two).

On the way down toward Killarney, we saw a sign pointing toward Lisleibane, and an apparent path toward the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohil. We figured since we were scheduled to leave the Killarney area in the morning, we should grab this chance to explore some more… after all, who knows what we might find.

We obviously didn’t have the time to tackle the big mountain, but we did enjoy a leisurely walk along the early part of the path from Lisleibane toward Carrauntouhil (3,408ft), king of the McGillycuddy’s Reeks. As we started exploring, the sun was already low in the sky but it was still warm on our faces as we walked, talked and marveled at the remarkable view of the Hags Glen and mountains beyond. Though our stay was brief, this pretty walk was just what we needed at the end of our day, and as with many of our wonderful discoveries on this trip, we have stashed them away in the memory bank for the next time we visit.

Someone mentioned a pint… then it was off to Courtney’s, one of the oldest pubs in Killarney. Check out the gallery of photographs they have online… needless to say, after getting settled in beside the fire, we didn’t want to leave!

The Gap of Dunloe


Not really meant for driving a car on, the road to the Gap of Dunloe was a lot of fun to explore. The last post with Sam’s pics shows how remote and desolate the drive to this location was (at least using the route we followed), and hopefully these show how stunning the vista was. The weather was again magnificent, and I can’t think of a better place to eat a sandwich lunch and enjoy the view.

The Gap of Dunloe (from Irish: Dún Lóich, meaning “Lóich’s stronghold”, otherwise known asBearna an Choimín meaning “gap of the common-land“) is a narrow mountain pass betweenMacgillycuddy’s Reeks (west) and Purple Mountain (east) in County KerryIreland. It is about 11 km (7 miles) from north to south. Within it are five lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough (north to south). These lakes are connected by the River Loe. (Wikipedia)

I can remember visiting the Gap of Dunloe some 20+ years ago with Lori and some friends, and on that occasion we traveled in style with Dolly… the farting horse. Locals provide horse-drawn traps for the ride up to the gap, and the day we went we had a wet and windy journey up the hill, pulled by our horse who tooted all the way.

Killarney National Park


This was actually our first early morning photo expedition, and despite the challenge that a 5:30am wake up call posed, we forged ahead knowing full well that the plan included a return to the hotel by about 9:00am for a full Irish breakfast.

Killarney National Park is a jewel of a place, with beauty and grandeur waiting around every corner. It reminded me somewhat of our home national park of Acadia, in that there is a similar picturesque road that offers many places to stop and enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Though the weather in mid-March was unseasonably warm and pleasant, as you can see from the photographs in this post, the greens that this part of Ireland is famous for hadn’t yet come into their own. Stunning scenery all the same on our early morning jaunt…  and did I mention that full Irish breakfast?

Ross Castle, Killarney


We are now down in Killarney, near what would be considered the start of the Ring of Kerry. Killarney is a bustling and vibrant little town, and lucky for us it is right in the heart of a whole ton of beauty. The Killarney National Park is our next destination, but before we really get started exploring, here’s a quiet scene we experienced first thing one morning.

Built in the fifteenth century by the O’Donoghue chieftains, Ross Castle overlooks Lough Leane in Killarney, County Kerry. We spent a very still and peaceful morning here admiring the view and enjoying the early light. The story is that Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, was educated by monks in the ninth century on the island of Innisfallen, which you can access by boat from the shores of the lake here.

Soooooooo quiet…