Killorglin: flies, a spider, a moving bed, and a French couple!

This is post #11 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill, and

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

The recent trip I made to Ireland with my precious daughter Leah for the first time in our lives was incredible. I had booked our trip through Great Value Vacations, choosing their B & B’s package, which I believe was the right choice. It allowed us to travel throughout the southwest of Ireland at different Bed & Breakfast places.

I read lots of reviews to decide which ones to stay at as we traveled in a direction that resembled a Shepherd’s Hook. Every one of them was immaculately clean, with a full Irish breakfast served in the morning and tea/coffee and cookies in the afternoon to welcome us there.

Road in Killorglin
Road in Killorglin

There was only one B & B that we stayed at where I couldn’t wait to leave! It was in the town of Killorglin, which is located in County Kerry, located on the famous Ring of Kerry and The Wild Atlantic Way. It is founded on the River Laune, known for its salmon and trout fishing, and the Reeks District is renown for outdoor activities, mountain walks, and sports activities.

I loved the canopy of green trees driving to this B & B, pictured above, as well as the unusually beautiful roses in the driveway. It was beautiful.

gorgeous roses
gorgeous roses

 

yellow roses
yellow roses

There were palm trees and beautiful, majestic, blue-purple mountains in the background. It was one of the prettiest places we visited.

mountains
mountains

The owners of this B & B near Killorglin had a sheep farm; they had a sheep dog, a breed of dog that Leah loves. To my amusement, they also had a cat that looked just like my black cat Natalya. She even had green eyes and the little tuft of white hair on her chest like Natalya’s!

sheepdog
sheepdog

 

The cat in Ireland that looks just like my black cat Natalya!
The cat in Ireland that looks just like my black cat Natalya!

 

black cat in Ireland
black cat in Ireland

I noticed a pretty topiary plant at the entrance of the front door, which are plants pruned or shaped into certain forms. To me, this was a symbol of the entire house’s decor: elegant.

topiary plant
topiary plant

As soon as we knocked on the door of this B & B and entered the house, though, I noticed right away one disturbing thing: flies. HUGE flies–everywhere! Maybe it’s because this was a sheep farm. Leah said it was because they had the front door open when we first arrived. I assume this was to let in fresh, cooler air; most places in Ireland don’t have central air and heat.

Even though there are flies in the United States, LOL, and we have had flies in our house at times if the door is left open (especially in summer), the flies left a really bad first impression in my mind. I tried to just ignore them and be gracious, mindful that I was leaving an impression too–as a guest and an American.

The hostess was wonderful and so welcoming. She had tea and cookies for our arrival, as did the other B & B hostesses. However, she didn’t have enough tea and sugar set out for us. I wondered about this, as she knew we were coming (along with other guests there).

The room she gave us was beautiful: two single beds, as I had requested. It had large windows letting in the sunlight, and the decor was in beautiful, lacy white.

Killorglin B & B
Killorglin B & B

In fact, the room was so beautiful and clean and WHITE that I was afraid to touch anything. I didn’t want to dirty it with our muddy boots!

white lace
white lace

 

white satchel with lavender
white satchel with lavender

Leah was intrigued with the pretty lamp with faux glass on our table beside the beds, that resembled a chandelier.

"chandelier" lamp
“chandelier” lamp

We brought in our luggage and settled into our room, and then decided to go into the town of Kilorglin, which was only a few kilometers away. Leah really liked the fine dining restaurant that we went to there. They were so polite to us and seemed to go out of their way to serve us well. It also had a very nice atmosphere.

Restaurant in the town of Killorglin
Restaurant in the town of Killorglin

 

Killorglin restaurant table lamp
Killorglin restaurant table lamp

They had HUGE cheeseburgers, which we both got. As usual, it was served with some type of potato, so we chose French fries. We noticed that a small, fresh salad is often served with any entree in Ireland, which I enjoyed.

Leah ordered a drink called a “Double Dutch,” consisting of gin and watermelon flavor. She liked it. I love the pretty glass bottles which water is served in and the little table lamp, pictured above.

huge burgers in Killorglin
huge burgers in Killorglin

The older couple in the picture below chatted with us, with all of us laughing over how big the cheeseburgers were!

Leah at restaurant in Killorglin
Leah at restaurant in Killorglin

 

Quaint town of Killorglin
Quaint town of Killorglin

We sat awhile in this restaurant. Leah seemed to relax here. Then we went back to the B & B, and as Leah was doing her college homework, suddenly a giant spider fell on her bed and then ran under it. We both screamed. I tried to kill it with a shoe, but to no avail. We couldn’t find it. I think it came through the window, which we had opened to cool off the room. I prayed the Irish spider wouldn’t crawl on or bite one of us during the night!

Then I went into the bathroom, which–oddly for a B & B–was across the hall. I got locked into the bathroom! Leah and the owner had to help me out. The owner tried to tell me that I just wasn’t unlocking it correctly, but Leah told her she had trouble with the lock, too, when she tried to come out. This is definitely something they need to fix if they are going to have a B & B for guests!

As I tried to lay down to sleep, each time I rolled over, the little single bed squeaked and moved, bumping into the wall! There was a couple in the room next to ours, with a little child. I was afraid the noise was going to wake them. I felt frustrated. Despite the spider, Leah liked this place. This was the one B & B that I could not wait to leave!

Killorglin bed
Killorglin bed

There was another full Irish breakfast the next morning (you could also order other items of your choice). We met other guests staying there, among which there was a young French couple. To my delight, I was able to speak to them briefly in French as we were leaving. It blessed me to be able to show Leah that if you study a foreign language, even a little bit, you can converse with foreigners. I need to brush up on my French again—and maybe learn Gaelic, too! (And Spanish!)

I apologized for our noise to the couple who were in the room next to us, and explained about the squeaking bed and then the couple. They said I didn’t wake them or their child, and laughed about the spider. Then they shared their own horror story of having a flying roach in their hotel when they traveled to Hawaii.

The hostess came into the room then to serve us more hot coffee, smiling and pleased that her guests were laughing and obviously enjoying themselves, but having no clue what we were laughing about. After my incident with the locked bathroom, I didn’t have the heart to tell her about the spider!

 As I looked later at the key that was supposed to unlock the bathroom, I thought how Jesus is the key to everything in our lives! After we left there, Leah and I laughed about the things that happened at this B & B, but at the time it wasn’t funny! But this place stands out as one of our vivid memories in Ireland!

Jesus is the key
Jesus is the key

I decided that the next morning we’d retrace our steps and go back to the town of Killarney to shop, which was only about 25 kilometers from Killorglin. In my next post on this Ireland Blog series, I’ll blog about the town of Killarney which I loved and share pictures of beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral with incredible stained glass windows.

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Torc Waterfall

This is post #10 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill, and

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

The two main things I wanted to see in Ireland were the breathtakingly gorgeous Cliffs of Moher and Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park. The park is south and west of the town of Killarney and it has 26,000 acres. You could spend several days there and never see it all! It is an expanse of rugged mountainous country, which includes the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland rising to a height of over 1000 metres. At the foot of these mountains are the world famous lakes of Killarney.

Leah and I took several hours to visit the park. We were amazed by the canopy of tall trees, the lakes, and the blue-purple mountains. We had a very peaceful time here.

trees in Killarney National Park
trees in Killarney National Park

 

Killarney National Park trees
Killarney National Park trees

 

Killarney Lake
Killarney Lake

 

Killarney National Park mountains
Killarney National Park mountains

 

beautiful park mountains
beautiful park mountains

You can either walk, rent a bike, or ride (for what seemed to be an expensive fee) in what is called a “jaunting cart” with a horse and buggy to Torc Waterfall. The horses were pretty.

jaunting cart
jaunting cart

The falls are about 2.5 kilometres from the car entrance to Muckross House, which is a huge, Tudor-style mansion built in 1843 by the British architect William Burn for Henry Author Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist, Mary Balfour Herbert. It has 65 rooms and in 1932, latter owners William Bourn and his wife, their daughter Victoria and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent presented it and its 11,000 acres estate to Ireland.

Muckross House
Muckross House

 

Tudor-style Muckross House
Tudor-style Muckross House

There’s lots of trails for easy walking or even difficult hiking trails in the park. There are also shuttle buses servicing the area and boat trips/tours.

Leah walking on a trail in Killarney National Park
Leah walking on a trail in Killarney National Park

Leah thought it looked fun to ride a bike, but it’s been years since I’ve ridden one and I didn’t want to take a chance on falling and hurting myself (or her hurting herself!). So we walked, which is good exercise anyway.

Initially, as we approached the area of Torc Waterfall, we saw a sign which read “Torc Waterfall” by a huge rock and a bridge. I thought it looked small, but it was still beautiful and we took pics by it. 

rock & bridge
rock & bridge

 

Leah by waterfall
Leah by waterfall

 

me by waterfall
me by waterfall

 

small waterfall
small waterfall

 

small waterfall in Killarney National Park
small waterfall in Killarney National Park

 

waterfall stream
waterfall stream over rocks

 

waterfall stream
waterfall stream

By the small waterfall, there is a restroom facility and I went in, while Leah stayed outdoors by the small falls. As she waited, suddenly she heard the sound of a violin playing! Leah plays the violin and, intrigued, she walked around the corner to see where the sound was coming from. There was a pretty, red-headed woman in a long gown playing the violin by the waterfall–how quaint! Leah gave her a tip for playing.

pretty, red-headed violinist by Torc Waterfall
pretty, red-headed violinist by Torc Waterfall

Leah looked ahead and saw much bigger falls–the REAL Torc Waterfalls! As I came out of the restroom, she motioned for me to come and see her discovery. As she saw my happy face looking at the beautiful falls, she asked, “Aren’t you glad we didn’t go back yet?” (I had told her after I used the restroom, we should turn back.) I said yes, smiling big.

We both stood and admired the waterfalls for awhile and took pics. I love waterfalls!

The waterfalls are about 20 meters high, and at their best after rainfall.

“And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.”–Revelation 14:2

The real Torc Waterfalls
The real Torc Waterfalls

 

Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

 

Leah by Torc Waterfalls
Leah by Torc Waterfalls

 

me by Torc Waterfalls
me by Torc Waterfalls

 

beautiful Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park
beautiful Torc Waterfalls, Killarney National Park

 

On the way walking back from the waterfalls, Leah and I saw a pretty, lone deer in a field. We stood and watched it a few minutes.

The Killarney National Park is home to Red Deer, Japanese sika deer, Irish hare, fox, otter, mink, badgers, Bank voles, Pine marten, Lesser horseshoe bats, fish and lamphrey, many species of birds including the Greenland white-fronted goose, reptiles, the rare Northern Emerald dragonfly, the purple hairstreak butterfly, and many other types of fauna.

deer in field
deer in field

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me on my high places.”–2 Samuel 22:34

In my next post in this Ireland Blog series, I’ll share about seeing the fun town of Killarney, and the beautiful, pristine white B & B which was the only place I did NOT want to stay in Ireland, so stay tuned!

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We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland

This is post #3 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts #1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland, and #2, Ireland: Dreams Come True.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

“My heart is quite calm now. I will go back.”–James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

 

Bunratty Castle, Ireland
Bunratty Castle, Ireland

I booked my and Leah’s vacation through Great Value Vacations, and our first night’s lodging was at the beautiful Bunratty Castle Hotel, the only hotel we stayed at during our trip (the rest were B & B’s). It is located near Bunratty Castle. The staff was so friendly and welcoming; the hotel and the rooms are gorgeous and elegant; and the breakfast in the dining room serving a full Irish breakfast was delicious!

Bunratty Castle hotel hall to dining room
Bunratty Castle hotel hall to dining room

 

Bunratty Castle hotel room
Bunratty Castle hotel room

 

cute window in hotel room
cute window in hotel room

 

Leah at breakfast at Bunratty Castle hotel
Leah at breakfast at Bunratty Castle hotel

 

Full Irish breakfast--yum!
Full Irish breakfast–yum!

 

Pure and mineral water provided at hotel
Pure and mineral water provided at hotel

 

Pretty rose painting in our hotel room
Pretty rose painting in our hotel room

Leah really liked the coffee and tea makers in our hotel room and in our B & B’s. Each morning we’d enjoy our hot, creamy coffee with the full Irish breakfast, and in the afternoons we’d have hot tea with cookies or chocolate wafers. She especially liked the little packets of sugar and cups of cream provided for the guests. I told her we should continue this afternoon tea tradition after we went home. I’m having a cup of tea right now as I blog about this!

tea & coffee cabinet in hotel room
tea & coffee cabinet in hotel room

 

tea kettle
tea kettle

 

packets of sugar
packets of tea & sugar

Since we arrived at the Bunratty Castle hotel our first day a little early before check-in at 3 PM, the staff person suggested that Leah and I visit Bunratty Castle nearby and its wonderful gift shop, where I bought a few souvenirs–some postcards for my family and friends, and a beautiful sterling silver pocket watch with the Trinity knot for one of Ray’s gifts. He’s always wanted a pocket watch.

Irish postcards
Irish postcard

 

One of Ray's souvenirs: a sterling silver pocket watch
One of Ray’s souvenirs: a sterling silver pocket watch

After we browsed the gift shop, Leah and I decided to tour the castle the next morning after we’d eaten supper and gotten some sleep from our long international flight! This is a great pic of Leah below in front of the castle.

Leah by Bunratty Castle, Ireland
Leah by Bunratty Castle, Ireland

There are castles and castle ruins all over Ireland. The castle was interesting to visit. It is huge with many narrow, winding stairs and low door frames overhead. This castle is not for the faint of heart or anyone with bad knees or back problems. The stairs are very hard to climb!

Narrow, winding stairs
Narrow, winding stairs

But Leah and I did make it to the roof of the castle, which has a spectacular view! It made Leah happy to reach the top of the castle.

Leah on roof of Bunratty Castle
Leah on roof of Bunratty Castle

 

castle roof
castle roof

 

View of Ireland's green fields from castle roof
View of Ireland’s green fields from castle roof

Bunratty Castle is located in the village of Bunratty, Ireland, and was built in the 15th Century. It’s between Limerick and Ennis, near the Shannon airport where we flew into Ireland, which is why I booked our first night’s stay at Bunratty Castle Hotel.

If you aren’t interested in the history part of this blog, just scroll on down to see pics and other interesting things!

The Ratty river runs alongside the castle flows into the nearby Shannon estuary. The first settlers around this site were Vikings. 

Ratty River view from castle
Ratty River view from castle

Around 1250, King Henry III of England granted the district of Tradraighe (or Tradree) to Robert De Muscegros. These lands were later taken back by King Henry III and granted to Thomas De Clare, who built the first stone structure with lime white walls (the second castle).

Me by Bunratty Castle
Me by the 4th castle at Bunratty

It stood close to the river, on or near the site of the present Bunratty Castle. In the late 13th century, Bunrattty became a large town of about 1,000 inhabitants. The castle was attacked several times by the O’Briens (or O’Brians) and their allies. In 1284, while De Clare was away in England, the site was captured and destroyed.

It is awesome to think that at one time in history, people actually lived inside these castles and fought to defend them and the land. What and who are you and I willing to fight for today?

soldier's armor
soldier’s armor

In 1318 Richard De Clare, son of Thomas, was killed in a battle between the Irish and the Normans. His followers were routed and the castle and town were completely destroyed. The castle was restored for the King of England, but was laid waste in 1332 by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond under the O’Briens and MacNamaras.

It lay in ruins for 21 years until it was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby, but was once again attacked by the Irish and after that, the castle remained in Irish hands. What’s in ruins in your life? What needs rebuilding through Christ’s love?

cannon at Bunratty Castle
cannon at Bunratty Castle

Other battles and wars occurred at the site, with a third and finally a fourth (the present structure) being built  by the MacNamara family after around 1425. Around 1500, Bunratty Castle came into the hands of the O’Briens (or O’Brians), the most powerful clan in Munster and later Earls of Thomond.

Leah’s relatives on her dad Ray’s side were Irish, and I believe my father’s ancestors were Irish, too. I just know I have Irish blood somewhere–Ireland was calling me! Leah really wanted to go, too, and I’m so glad she did! We had a fun time!

Our beautiful, precious daughter Leah
Our beautiful, precious daughter Leah

The O’Briens eventually made it their chief seat, moving it there from Ennis. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and they supposedly had a herd of about 3,000 deer. I have a feeling these guys didn’t want Bambi because they thought deer were cute. They were likely made into sausage and deer jerky!

helmet & gun
helmet & gun

 

Bunratty Castle door
Bunratty Castle door

 

Leah inside the castle
Leah inside the castle

One interesting bit of trivia is that the Studdert family who owned and moved into the castle in 1720 later moved out, from family arguments over the oldest son marrying his first cousin! (Resource: Wikipedia) Family dysfunction at its finest. 

In 1956 the castle was purchased and restored (re-roofed, and saved from ruin) and is now a major tourist attraction and a National Monument. The castle is famous for its medieval banquets with entertainers dressing up in the medieval clothing. My friend Pat who just visited there with her husband attended the banquet. 

castle entrance
castle entrance

At the door a pretty young woman in a purple gown greeted me and Leah. She told me her name was Brianna, which means “noble and virtuous,” very fitting for her role there. 

Brianna, who greeted us
Brianna, who greeted us

One of the first rooms you see as you enter is the Great Hall, where the soldiers spent a lot of time. One wall has an enormous decorative wall hanging. There’s also a king’s chair, soldiers’ helmets and guns, and a fire place in the middle of the room. The king’s chair was made of beautiful, ornate wood–but looked so uncomfortable! Did you know that there is only one true King–the Lord God?

The castle has furniture and works of art dating to the 1600’s. One was an enormous wardrobe. I teased Leah about this one and the huge one in our hotel room, that we could go inside them to visit the land of Narnia and see Aslan. (This remark comes from one of our family’s fave movies, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, based on the books by C. S. Lewis.)

wall hanging decor
wall hanging decor
castle wardrobe
castle wardrobe

 

painting in soldiers’ room

 

Great Hall and furniture

 

soldiers' room
Great Hall

 

the king's chair
the king’s chair

 

castle floor
castle floor

 

fire pit
fire place

 

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

I was curious about one little window which had a sign by it, “Buttery Hatch.” What on earth is a buttery, I asked Leah aloud. A room for making butter? Just kidding! After googling back home, I found out it was a service room in which large barrels, or butts, of alcohol (ale) were stored and from which they were served in the Great Hall. I thought it was a cute little window. It should be used for coffee instead!

buttery hatch
buttery hatch

I’m an extremely nosy person, so it was fun poking around in someone else’s (big!) house. Leah enjoyed it, too. I found bedrooms, one with a desk and writing quill in it (which blessed me, being a writer! I didn’t think that was an accident, since I paid for this trip to Ireland with money I made from one of my books, selling it to God’s Glory Box!)

One of the things I noticed was how dark some of the rooms of the castle were. I can’t imagine what it was like with no electricity and just being lit by candles. When it stormed, I’m sure it was a little scary!

desk & writer's quill
desk & writer’s quill

 

castle bed
castle bed

Then as we explored, Leah found the dungeon! We both went down the narrow, winding stairs to look at it. The dungeon had bars across it, so you can’t go in there. I didn’t want to, anyway. It’s dark and eerie!

the castle dungeon
the castle dungeon

There were also unique, pretty aspects to the castle, like narrow windows and stained glass windows.

castle's narrow window
castle’s narrow window

 

pretty window
pretty window

 

castle's stained glass windows
castle’s stained glass windows

The castle was intriguing. Next to it is Bunratty Folk Park, which is 26 acres of a “living village” reconstructed of the homes, shops, and environment of over a century ago. It has 30 buildings, including the school, doctor’s house, pub, grocery, pottery house, and post office reminiscent of 19th century Ireland.

They’re furnished as they would have appeared according to their social standing, from the poorest one room house to the gentry home built for the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle. 

In the early 19th century the country people provided for most of their own needs in food, clothing and supplies and bought only luxuries like sugar, salt and tea. Fairs and markets at the Village gave the farmers and the rural craftsmen an opportunity of selling their products for cash, while shops provided for their needs.

Bunratty Folk Park village home
Bunratty Folk Park village home

On our second day there, I was eager to drive straight to the Cliffs of Moher (about 1 1/2 hours away), which is one of the main reasons that I wanted to visited Ireland. But I’m so glad we visited the Bunratty Folk Park first. Leah loves the outdoors like I do, as well as animals which the park had.

This was a very peaceful, relaxing, much-needed time for me and Leah, since we were tired from our long day of flying.

We walked around in the beautiful outdoors of Ireland (it felt surreal!), looking at the animals in the village, the little shops, the church, and I was so happy to see a small, beautiful waterfall. We also found a delightful, little fairy village.

I’ll share more about this and pics in my next blog post in this Ireland Blog Series. I invite you to come along with me for this exciting adventure in Ireland!

Bunratty Folk Park
Bunratty Folk Park
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