Killarney with Kids

Killarney with Kids

Killarney with Kids

As you wake up in your comfortable room in Killarney with Kids at The Lake Hotel, overlooking majestic castle ruins and breathtaking mountains, unfortunately, it is not, in my case, to the sound of the breeze blowing in the reeds on the lake but to a billowing two-year-old!

At least our room is so well laid out that the cot which the hotel happily supplied is located in a darker corner of the room which is more sleep-inducing for all!

The two double beds mean we can all share one space but it doesn’t feel full. Having floor length balcony windows overlooking the lake ensures vast amounts of light fall in when you do eventually acknowledge the day and open the curtains. Then you experience the impact of this view and who knows even the kids might quieten down for a minute to take it in and look out for the deer who seem to the be only other ones up!

At least there is one advantage to being up early, the dining room is not too busy, we are given a window table and high chair quickly and the huge selection on the buffet means that hungry tummies are taken care of efficiently. Being given custom designed kids colouring books and crayons on arrival ensures that the adults actually get to read the paper or gaze out the window for a moment or two!

The location of the hotel means that there is nearly too much to do in terms of walks and activities, so once breakfasted and dressed for the fresh spring day that it is, we head over to the bicycle rental shop across the road from the hotel. As we are guests at the hotel, we get great attention and are soon off, one adult bike with kids trailer, one child’s bike and one adult, bottles of water from the hotel shop and off we set, hotel map in hand. The cycle from the hotel up to Muckross is beautiful and only about 15 minutes and everyone is delighted with the ease of the cycle path and views around, the horses and carts and wild deer complete the nature lesson. By the time we reach Muckross, we feel we all deserve a morning muffin and coffee. Again the self-service nature of the restaurant there and outdoor seating areas means it works really well for us with the kids. As it is a bright day, we sit outside and the framed hedging garden beside us is like a mini maze for the children, they chase each other around with glee and we can see them at all times so again there seems to be an opportunity to relax! As nap time is approaching we head back to the hotel and once the smallest is settled in, I gladly volunteer to stay in the room and gaze out the window with a good book open on the Kindle, free wifi through the building ensures I have a stress free and quiet hour to absorb the natural beauty all around. Once the peace is shattered it is time for some lunch and as the children’s menus are good, we stay put and order pasta, burgers for father and son, a mini roast of the day and fresh fish with vegetables of the day. Again the view and helpful, friendly staff ensure we are served promptly and have all we need. As we are all having such a pleasant time, a Lake Hotel Knickerbocker Glory is ordered for the kids, we soon discover one will not be enough so a second arrives and is still a much reminded moment of our stay! Then we have to walk it off, so we drive up to the town and walk into the Demesne along with half of Killarney it seems. It is a wonderful amenity to have in your town and yet you feel away from everything. Again our detailed hotel map ensures we don’t miss any monuments of note and are aware of the history of each building we pass. Just being able to let the children run ahead and wander across the fields is great, a freedom we don’t get to enjoy too often. After a quick potter around the shops in the town and watching some excellent buskers, the evening begins to draw in so we head back to our base. A handy teatime snack of toasted sandwiches for the children in the bar is arranged, then it’s the usual bath and pyjamas routine before settling down in the room with a movie.

Except as we are away, one of the friendly and experienced hotel Receptionists is coming to babysit while the adults get a romantic, relaxing dinner in the Castlelough Restaurant, the hotels old dining room. As soon as all children are settled and the babysitter is in situ, we escape to the Piano Lounge and enjoy an aperitif, feeling a warm glow after such a lovely day. Another window seat is offered for dinner and as we look out onto the floodlit ruins of the McCarthy Mor Castle on the hotel lawn, we comment on the difference between the room at breakfast and at dinner. It is completely dark outside except for the moon as there are no buildings in the area at all, it is all National Park. A delicious dinner follows with helpful information on all dishes and we accept the invitation to enjoy our digestif in the lounge within earshot of the Irish music starting up the in bar. At that point, we have to acknowledge the reality of another early morning to come and we retreat up the stairs. All that fresh air and good food mean a good nights sleep for all.

On departure, we make the promise to the children (and ourselves!) to return as soon as possible to The Lake Hotel.

Killarney with Kids a great place to spend time with the whole family.

Cycling in Killarney

Cycling in Killarney with Kids

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Ring of Kerry Tour

    Ring of Kerry Tour

     Our Experience on the “Famous Ring of Kerry” and some valuable information

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    Our Family : 2 Adults and 3 Kids, (9, 12, 16) This was our first time and won’t be our last loved it and will be back many times

    What can I say, the Ring of Kerry tour it is regarded to be in the Top 10 most scenic Day trip / drives in the World so went to see if would it stand up to the the Mystic. We left around 10am after a relaxing morning, breakfast a quick walk to McCarthy’s Castle just outside our window. It was a cloudy but bright day and we were so looking forward to our magical journey on the “Ring of Kerry”. Leaving Killarney we passed a beautiful Church called Saint Mary’s Cathedral and had a quick visit, we continued on to Killorglin and eventually we stopped at the Kerry Bog Village half way between Killorglin and Glenbeigh. The Kid’s loved it, the old “Famine” Houses people lived in in the 1800’s many of which left for the USA and Canada because of the failure of the Potato crop. There is also Bog Ponies here which the Kids could ride and there is a Pub next door called the Red Fox Inn.

    Kerry Bog Village GPS :  52° 4’24.23″N    /    9°52’53.90″W 

    After the Kerry Bog Village on the left there is a magnificent backdrop of meandering river and beautiful mountains which leads to an old bridge we will cross down the road. We arrived at Glenbeigh next a nice village with a spectacular beach at Rossbeigh, wee were told you can go horse riding and a  10Km Beach gallops here. We carried on our journey through the Ring of Kerry and around every corner there seems to be a better view.

    Views of Dingle Bay    52° 2’10.06″N  /    10° 2’2.59″W 

    After some windy roads with an Old Railway track on your left a high railway bridge and a Pub in the middle of nowhere called “Caitins” with views of Dingle Bay. Here we were told to stop at Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace on the left before you get to Cahersiveen and a museum in an old Police station / Barracks which was designed to be built in India only someone got the plans crossed. Beside the Old Barracks we took the roasd to see two round forts and Ballycarbery Castle still standing even though blown up by Oliver Cromwell the Queen of England’s General.

    Ring of Kerry Castle

    Ballycarbery Castle

    Ballycarbery Castle       51°56’57.72″N  /   10°15’34.26″W

    After Cahersiveen we added the Skellig Ring to our day trip by taking a Car Ferry to Valentia a 10 minute crossing we even saw Dolphins and great views. The Skellig Ring is a great add-on to the Ring of Kerry and is for Cars and Mini Busses Motor Bikes and Bicycles, it was highly recommended by our hotel and Wow was it a great ad-on to our day. On Valentia we stopped at a the Coffee Dock the Kids had hot Chocolate while we enjoyed a great Coffee. We also visited the Lighthouse, Tetrapod Footprints dating back 365 Million years, 200 million years before Dinasaraus and a Grotto in a Slate Quarry with the most magnificent views. This is the Ireland we came to see and so interesting here on the Skellig Ring and couldn’t wait to see what comes next..

    Valentia Island Lighthouse     51°55’54.78″N  /    10°19’22.77″W

    On Valentia you also have Geokaun Mountain Drive with great views and the Highest point on the Island, there is a Pet Farm, Make your own candles which my Kids loved and Ireland’s most remote Pub near Saint Brendan’s well used for a Guiness Commercial with “Next stop New York” painted on the side. One of the famous Trans Atlantic Cables to New Foundland in Canada in 1866 was laid from Valentia. Bray Head is at the west side of the Island and is a nice walk with great views of the Skelligs, two islands out in the Atlantic ocean. One Island was inhabited by Monks since the 5th Century.

    Bray Head Valentia      51°53’9.00″N  /   10°25’28.15″W

    We stopped for lunch in the Moorings / Bridge Bar just off the bridge from Valentia as recommended by the Manager in our hotel, it was Seafood Chowder for us and Kids had Scampi and chips a favourite for most Kids.

    Bridge Bar Portmagee    51°53’9.03″N  /   10°21’56.55″W

    We were looking forward to Saint Finian’s Bay and another view of the Skellig Islands where we were told if you call out “Up the Kingdom” local football slang at the Islands in the distance you will hear your echo. Well we did it but no echo today it was quiet breezy. There is a nice surprise at the Bay when you are leaving there is a Chocolate Factory which is very interesting you can taste the chocolate and buy gifts to bring home. Make sure you see the Chocolate high heeled Shoe its a work of art, a quick note make sure your Kids behave or they will give them a Puppy and an Expresso.

    Skellig Chocolate factory      51°50’44.65″N  /   10°19’49.25″W

    Ballinskelligs next and McCarthy’s Castle at the Beach, to the left across the bay we could see Waterville, it will be our next shop. Arriving into Waterville we see old terraced houses on the left all painted different colours then a beautiful Church overlooking the Atlantic called Saint Michael’s and an interesting Museum inside with local History.

    Saint Michael’s Church Waterville  51°49’41.82″N  /   10°10’25.41″W

    We come across a two Statues one of a Local Football star and one of one of the most famous men in history “Charlie Chaplin” a regular visitor in the late 1960’s and was a great friend of Billy and Mary Huggard who ran the Butler Arms hotel. It was Billy’s son at our Hotel gave us a heads up on Charlie Chaplin who’s family still visit here regularly. We spend some time in Waterville and move towards Caherdaniel and a visit to Derrynane Beach.

    The Drive from Waterville is just magnificent, there is an Ancient Standing Stone row on the left just a short drive from the Village and next stop is Loher Church, it has to be the most amazing place to get married, it looks down on the Atlantic Ocean wow what a view.

    Loher Church Ring of Kerry
    Loher Church Ring of Kerry
    Loher Church    51°48’4.86″N  /   10°10’4.70″W

    Coomakesta Pass is a little further on with great views and a big car park to get out and stretch your legs. This part of the Ring of Kerry is very scenic, our Kids at this stage want to get our of the Car so we headed for Derrynane House and walked the beaches to an old Abbey nearly on the sand. Derrynane House is a Museum and was the home of Daniel O’Connell “The Liberator”.

    Derrynane House   51°45’48.28″N  /   10° 7’43.54″W

    We found Derrynane Sea Sports and our Kids rented Kayaks and went out into a safe bay for an hour and we relaxed on the Beach and took photos here its very picturesque indeed. We will bring the swimsuits and towels next time and make a day trip here and so did we, even if its raining there are walks around Derrynane House we even found some unusual Fairy like ornaments in the Gardens and woodlands of the house. Leaving the Village of Caherdaniel my daughter noticed a Riding Stables so we took a look and we got Lucky with our expecting to be doing a trail we were offered a half hour trail over sand as the tide was out, perfect as a family we had a private guide Caroline who was very interesting. This was great now the Kids finally got to do things the like the best so we were all happy now. We left Caherdaniel & Derrynane with fond memories we passed a few good scenic points on the way even Ireland’s only Beach Bar and on to see Staigue Fort which is free to view this Ancient structure. We were running late enough and had booked our evening meal in the Lakeside Bistro at our hotel for 8pm so we made our way back to Sneem and took a short cut to Moll’s Gap and left ken mare for our next visit. We stopped at the Leprachaun crossing at ladies view for Photographs and left Muckross House, the Abbey for the next day, we did take a look at Torc waterfall which was very nice, it was a magnificent day and we will return.

    Lake Side Bistro Killarney

    Lake Side Bistro Killarney

    Lake Side Bistro Killarney   52° 2’19.56″N  /    9°29’59.03″W

    I would just like to mention, the Lake Hotel in Killarney was recommended to me by my friend who is a travel agent and our trip To Ireland could not have been better, this Hotel and its staff made our Vacation, the information given by the Manager, the front desk and all the fun we had in the Pub and through out the hotel. I did ask could we do a write up on the Hotel and Niall the Manager told me they were doing a web site with customers experiences on it and it would be great if we would add our Ring of Kerry experience so this was it.

    Thanks again

    Further reading and information on the Ring of Kerry

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    Tourist attractions Killarney

    Tourist attractions Killarney

    Tourist attractions Killarney

     Cill Airne meaning the Church of Airne is a town with a strong Religious and Educational background.

    It is also home to some of the most beautiful tourist attractions Killarney and in Ireland such as Muckross House, Muckross  Gardens, Muckross Abbey, Castlelough Castle, Lake Hotel, Ross Castle & St Mary’s Cathedral along with Innisfallen Island home to Innisfallen Abbey and one of the main schools of learning in Ireland.  Killarney is ideally situated on the Ring of Kerry making it a very popular tourist attraction and an ideal base with easy access to the South West of Ireland.

    Tourist Attractions in Killarney

    St Mary’s Cathedral

    St Mary’s Cathedral is considered to be one of the most important gothic Churches of the 19th Century. It was used as a famine hospital and shelter during the 1840s. It was opened to the public in 1855. The cathedral consists of beautiful stained glass windows on both sides of the main aisle. It is opened daily to the public.

    Ross Castle

    Tourist attractions in Killarney

    Tourist attractions in Killarney

    Located only minutes from the Lake Hotel, Ross Castle is one of the most attractive 14th Century Castle in Ireland. Inside, it is restored in a 17th Century style. It was first built by O Donoghue Mór in the 14th Century and was eventually taken over by the McCarthy Mór. Today, it is a very popular attraction in Killarney as it is located overlooking the Lake where not only tourists visit on a daily basis but also locals as its host to beautiful scenic views and walking trails. There are daily guided tours available in the Ross Castle and Boat Trips available around the Lakes.

     Gap of Dunloe

    Cycling the Gap of Dunloe

    Cycling the Gap of Dunloe

    The Gap of Dunloe from Irish Dún Lóich meaning Lóich’s stronghold. The Gap is narrow scenic mountain pass between the Purple Mountains and the McGillicuddy Reeks Mountains. The road through the Gap of Dunloe is very narrow so the Horse and Cart are very popular among tourists as it is a 7k walk.

     Muckross Abbey

    Tourist Attractions in Killarney

    Tourist Attractions in Killarney

    Muckross Abbey was built in 1448 AD and it is open to the public all year round. It is well worth a visit and highly recommended as it is in good condition despite being raided many times.  There are three of Ireland’s greatest ever poets buried within the abbey from Kerry and the fourth is buried in the graveyard. Situated in the middle of the Abbey is the Yew tree which is said to be over 500 years old and it is said the Abbey was built around it

     Muckross House

    Muckross House is a large Victorian House located in the middle of Muckross estate. It is located south from Killarney on the N71 and located 2 KM after The Lake Hotel on the right. Muckross House was built in 1843 by Henry Arthur Herbert and was once visited Queen Victoria in 1861. It is considered one of Ireland most popular tourist attractions. It allows people to experience for themselves the way people would have lived in the 18th Century & 19th Century. Muckross House is open to the public and also gives guided tours. Inside Muckross Park, there is also Mucros Craft Centre where tourists have a variety of Irish craftsmanship and Irish merchandise to choose from.

    Muckross House Guided Tour times are: 2.00pm, 3.15pm, & 4.30pm.

    Killarney National Park

    Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland. It was founded in 1932 and expands over 25,000 acres.  Within the park, you will find the Lakes of Killarney, Torc, and Mangerton Mountain. The National Park is worldwide known for its incredible scenery and is very popular not just with tourists but also locals.

    Muckross Traditional Farms

    Muckross Traditional Farms is a wonderful experience for tourists to experience how Irish people lived in the 1930s and 1940s. Tourists can visit three Irish farms and experience the different chores Irish people had to do on a daily basis. The farms are of different in size starting from the smallest to the largest.

     Muckross Gardens

    Muckross Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland. It is over fifty acres of garden and consists of natural limestone rockery, large lawn areas, water garden, beautiful bright flowers, & trees. It has beautiful collections of Azaleas, & Rhododendron in the park. The park is open to the public all year around.

     The Lake Hotel 1850 AD

    The Lake Hotel on the Muckross road with its fantastic views of the Lakes and the 12th Century McCarthy Mor Castle serves lunch daily, it also has one of the best places to see some historic images and documents available in Killarney … more

    Torc Waterfall

    Torc Waterfall is located just minutes from Muckross house and can also be accessed through Muckross Park. The waterfall is easily accessible and has a car park to the left, just before the waterfall. There are several scenic walks from Torc waterfall and Torc Mountain is also located near to the waterfall which is open to the public to climb.

     Ladies View

    Ladies View is located between Killarney and the Kenmare road on the Ring of Kerry. It is one of the most scenic points in Killarney. It is overlooking the upper Lake & Islands, McGillicuddy Reeks.   At Ladies View, you will find A café, gift shop and a bar. Ladies View is named after the time Queen Victoria visited Killarney and she quoted it as “the finest view in the land”.

    Innisfallen

    Innisfallen is an Island in the middle of the lower lake (Lough Lein / Leane) Killarney. Here people can witness the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey, this old 7th-century monastery which was founded in 640 by St Finian. Lough Leane in English means “Lake of Learning and apparently, the High King of Ireland Brian Boru was educated here. There are boats available from Ross Castle daily except in the winter season.

    O Sullivan’s Cascade

    O Sullivan’s Cascade is located 5kms from Killarney town. It is an unmarked road as you drive towards the Gap of Dunloe. There will be a signpost for Lough Leane to the left, take this left and within 1.5km the surfaced road goes left after across a small stream. Go straight on and through the forest over the stile and the stream. Keep straight and follow the road through the oak woods. After 5km you will come to a stream and then a sign for  “ O Sullivan’s Cascade” which will lead you to a beautiful waterfall. Boat trips are also available on request from Ross Castle.

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