Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I should have hired a bike!

It was only €12 and I could have hired a bike for the day. I don't know why I didn't. I didn't know what the route was like and I thought the weather might have been drizzling often like yesterday, as well as windy. So I didn't. I walked. And walked and walked on mostly flat paths perfect for cycling, sheltered from the wind mostly, and it didn't rain all day. So I have very tired feet now when I could have been whizzing along on a bike!!!! Thousands of others seemed to be out on hired bikes. I should have been too!
I did the traditional close-to-Killarney paths today. It's strange, as I have a memory of being in Killarney when I was only 23, and I realise now that my memory is somewhat skeddaddled and muddled with somewhere else. I seem to remember walking somewhere very close to Killarney and that it was a rough gravelled road and that rugged mountains were either side of me. At the time I was wishing I knew more about the route so I could safely walk further. Well, I got the first bit right in that the National Park is right close to Killarney: you cross the road near St Mary's Cathedral and you are right in it. But it is not rugged mountain terrain. You are walking through attractive woodland on land that has been used for farming. But in just a couple of kilometres you are near the lake and get a beautiful view near Ross Castle. (So I am not sure where my rugged mountain memory comes from: perhaps way back then in the dark ages there was even such a thing as a tourist bus to somewhere like the Gap of Dunloe and I caught the bus then walked there. The truth is lost in the mists of memory anyhow!)
After seeing the Ross castle area I needed to do a bit of road walking to get to Muckross House and the Waterfall just past it. My feet seemed tired today and the road section took a long time it seemed! Eventually I was on a lovely little walking trail close to the lake. The only thing spoiling the view was a lake hotel that was an ugly intrusion on the landscape. All around were wooded hills and the lake view, and then there was this large hotel right on the lake front. Hard to believe planning regulations allowed this blot.
However, once I had gone a bit further the hotel disappeared and the only sign of Killarney you could even see was a church spire behind some trees. It was a surprise each time I came to a carparking area, or to the waterfall, to realise that the road in fact was not far away, because the woodlands seemed quite isolated and apart.
Torc waterfall was rather beautiful and it was good to see so many people there enjoying the sight of it, including many Irish families with their children.
Now I am back in town with tired feet that I will rest for the evening, and tomorrow I head off for the more isolated area of the Dingle Peninsula.

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