KILLARNEY March 2011

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Walked quite a bit, for an amateur walker, in three days in the Kingdom of Kerry recently. Was staying in Killarney so most of the walking was done in that area.

Day 1: The sun was shining as we arrived in Killarney. Headed for Torc Waterfall and walked up to the higher car park, following a colour marked trail that took us to a junction with the old Killarney-Kenmare Road. Looped back after a while and back down to the main Killarney-Kenmare main road.

Then took a path, slightly higher than and parallel to the main road, to the entrance of Dinis (pronounced die-nis) Cottage. Oh, by the way, another Kerry correction: Listry is pronounced Lis-try (as in rugby)! It is about 15 minutes further in to get to the cottage but well worth it for the beautiful lake views. Back then along the same way to Torc. Checked into the Hotel and had a stroll around the town before dinner.

DAY 2: In the morning, drove to Muckross House in the National Park. There are many sign-posted walks here but we headed for Dinis Cottage, along a different route from the day before. It is above five kilometres each way. Sometimes you have lake water on your left, sometimes on your right, and even sometimes on both sides as at Brickeen Bridge. We also passed some old long disused copper mines.

Weather was dry and dull but brightened up in the afternoon when we took some time out to watch the Killarney St Patricks Day Parade. This is more or less a community event with many local clubs and schools marching by, also some old tractors and cars.

DAY 3: The walking highlight was to come on the morning of the third day, a beautiful morning. We drove directly to the higher Torc car park, finding it turning left, on the main Killarney-Kenmare Road, by a small sign that says the Old Killarney-Kenmare Road. A herd of the local deer crossed the road in front of us before we reached the car park.

Once the car was parked, we carried on in the same direction, passed a barrier and walked about a mile. By this point, the trees have thinned out, more or less completely and you see mountains on your left (including Mangerton) and Torc is on your right.

At this point, watch out for the beginnings of the path up Torc. You will see a path of flat stones and a small blue sign. Now you really start your way up. The path is made up of stretches of these flat well laid stones and also stretches of railway sleepers. It is not very difficult but you are on a mountain, climbing upwards. You need to have the correct gear and need to be careful.

I didn't time it exactly but most amateurs would need an hour or so going up, maybe ten or fifteen minutes less coming down. There are some mountain views all round as you go up but the best views are from the summit. So don't turn back; take a break and carry on. It is well worth it as you look out over the Muckross parkland, the lakes, the mountains and the town. Fantastic.

The backs of the legs were feeling the strain as we returned to the car park. Just I case they seized up altogether we took a walk around the town in the late afternoon and enjoyed some terrific views of the cathedral under the blue skies. I can guarantee we were well ready for dinner that evening.

To check out where we stayed and dined, go here