After Mass we proceeded to the Killarney National Park, where we would tour Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion and of Ireland's leading state homes. The elegant furnished rooms portray the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while downstairs in the basement one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the house. Pictures were not allowed, so I used what I could glean from the Internet.
The gardens were a different story. They are renowned world-wide for their beauty. In particular they are noted for their fine collections of azaleas and rhododendrons, an extensive water garden, and an outstanding rock garden hewn out of natural limestone.
We had a snack in the conservatory, and then continued for a mini tour of the Ring of Kerry. We did not know where to look, there were so many breathtaking views that it was hard to pick one as the best. The greens were very vivid, and the blues of the sky and the water rivaled each other.
We went back to the hotel, and naturally, because it as early in the afternoon, we Three Pats decided to explore the surroundings. We found ourselves a very nice Irish lad who offered to take us on a jaunty ride. His name was Michael and he was delightful. He took us along a racing track which was not doing vey well until somebody had the idea of placing a nine-hole golf course in its middle. He also took us to see Ross Castle, by beautiful, serene Lough Leane, where people were boating and swans were swimming.
Because we were supposed to have dinner on our own, we asked Michael for his recommendations, and he mentioned Murphy's without hesitation. We followed his advice and were lucky enough to catch the "early bird special", appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee or tea for only 26 Euros. Apparently Murphy's is within Lord Kenmare's Restaurant. It was a very nice experience. We then went back to the Drumhall Hotel where we were staying.
Tomorrow we will visit one of the highlights of our tour: Blarney Castle.