I only wanted to one time see u laughing, I only wanted to see u laughing in the purple rain…
First off, my head hurts. I was just having a quick lie down on my bunk bed and wacked my head for about the 10000thtime. I swear these bunks were made for midget children with the top bunk being about 1 foot above the ground and 2 inches between the two beds! Okay…a slight exaggeration but there was NO room between them. As a result I struggled to get to sleep (I have a weird claustrophobic thing that I need space above me to sleep – one reason I don’t camp well) and have hit my head more times than Dobby the House Elf (Okay I am re-reading Harry Potter 7 so there may be more than the usual Harry Potter references haha).
My day today also definitely wasn’t what I had planned. When I woke up it was POURING with rain (Ireland welcomes me in traditional style again :P) and a 2 hour hike through the national park didn’t really seem like that much fun. Especially as I am in the process of fighting this cold! So I rearranged my plans. I went in to town and got a coffee and then paid the excessive amount for a taxi to Muckross- the main house/estate in the National Park. With the weather not looking like improving, I could at least tour a grand Victorian Mansion. Somewhat like the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe…when the weather is shite, you must explore the house 😉
And what a house it was. Built in the 1840s, with 70% of the original fittings and once used as a holiday home for 2 nights by Queen Victoria…it was amazing. Set in the wonderful landscape of Killarney National Park – even in the rain and wind it was beautiful surrounds, with immaculately maintained gardens as well. The tour around the house lasted just over an hour and took you from the Master Bedrooms, to the children’s rooms, the servants quarters and the other living rooms. We saw a large percentage of the 200 rooms!
As the tour went on there were two thoughts I couldn’t escape. Firstly it felt as if I was walking through the Antiques Roadshow. In every room were great Victorian furniture, curtains, mirrors and ornaments. Secondly, I REALLY wanted to live there. Well who wouldn’t? Especially with a staff of 32 to answer to your most outrageous desire. I have had a pretty good life so far in a crappy 1950s house with only one person answering to my whims (Hi mum 😉 hehe) so imagine what like in Muckross House would be!
Somewhat amazingly, just as the tour finished the rain eased up and stopped completely. Not being one to kick a gift horse in the mouth, I went and explored the gardens and park. It was beautiful. The mountains bathed in the low lying clouds. The spring flowers glistened with the rainwater that had drenched them. It was a lovely hour or so walking the grounds.
With the rain still holding out, I decided to take a gamble…I would gamble the rain would not come back and walk the 2km to Muckross Abbey (dating back from the 1500s) and then the 5kms back to Killarney town. Hopefully getting a wonderful walk and avoiding the rain. Well the walk was amazing. The Abbey was scarily well preserved – some of the rooms had a very haunting vibe. The views over the National Parks and lakes were truly wonderful as well. I had to force myself to not just stand at every viewing platform for hours. I ended up taking more photos than I think I ever thought I could take in such a short frame of time – more than Dad could, but part of me thinks that being there will be a much more brilliant experience than the pictures could ever relay.
It is at this point that I should point out that I am the most unprepared adventurer ever. After previously hiking up mountains in Cumbria with the guys on a whim and with no preparation, I repeated that today for what turned out to be a 7 kilometre hike. I had no water bottle – I got thristy. I had not food – I got hungry. I had a waterproof jacket, but I had on worn, holey, gripless shoes…and thus my feat got wet and I got cold. But it was great fun!
It was about a kilometer from town that the rain come back and boy did it come back with vengeance. It was so heavy and I was so hungry that I eventually pulled the pin and jumped into the nearest pub. There I sat by the fire, watched Home and Away and then the cricket for a bit as I ate awesome Potato and Leek soup and a sandwich. Topping the afternoon off with a pint or two of Murphy’s stout – better than Guinness in my book! My plan was to wait out the rain…probably a poorly thought out plan in Ireland so eventually I pulled the pin and pretty much ran back to the hostel. The day is probably shorter than I would’ve liked. I would’ve loved to have spent hours exploring the beauty of the National Park…but personally I am just thankful for the sights I was able to see today!
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