The Adventure Begins

Sweet Killarney and on to Kinsale

Monday was a travel day from Ennis to Kinsale, with a stop in Killarney National Park for a meal, a mansion, and music!

Breakfast at the Old Ground Hotel was grand - lots of yummy scones, croissants, breads, cereals, juices, yogurts, you name it. Not only that, there were hot breakfast choices too! I grabbed some goodies and ordered some porridge for good  measure. The coffee was good and strong; I immediately poured a big gulp down my throat and tackled my delicious meal.

But my stomach refused delivery of my nice breakfast and I had to hotfoot it across the hall to ladies room. After I returned to breakfast, Joe asked the Question That You Must Ask Even Though You Already Know the Answer: "Are you all right?"

Oddly enough, I was! So - onto the bus and onward to Killarney!

Killarney National Park is centered around Muckross House, a mansion on the eastern shore of Muckross Lake. Henry Herbert built it in 1843 for his wife Mary Balfour. We took a tour of the house, which is very fancy and furnished with period pieces, including a grand stove belowstairs and a bedroom that Queen Victoria slept in when she visited Muckross in 1861. Alas, poor Henry went bankrupt and sold the joint in 1899. It was rented out for hunting and fishing and shooting, until an American named William Bourn bought it in 1911 as a wedding present for his daughter. Alas, she died in 1929, so her husband and parents gave the place to Ireland. The house and grounds became the first national park in Ireland in 1933.

Muckross House, Killarney

The mansion is very cool, but the lake is gorgeous.

Muckross Lake

We hung out on the lawn by the lake until it started raining - time to head for the Schoolhouse, where Eileen and a group including Eoin Murphy (guitar), Donal Murphy (accordion), John Reynolds (fiddle), and John-Paul Reynolds (fiddle and banjo) entertained us. They were then joined by several folks on the tour who also played fiddle and flute. What a great time!

Tunes in the Schoolhouse

Onward to Kinsale!

Kinsale is a beautiful harbor town, and Acton's Hotel is right on the water, and our room looked out on the harbor.

The view from our room at Acton's Hotel, Kinsale

Then we had a great group dinner to celebrate the Fourth of July, and what? More tunes? Yes, please.