After a leisurely breakfast, we loaded into the van and headed out to the town of Killarney , where we will stay for two nights. Our tour guide and driver, Mick, tells us that over 80% of the population makes its living from tourism – bars, restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts and other types of tourism. This area is also well known for its farming, however the EU has had a great impact on pricing of agricultural products, making it difficult to make it a profitable business.
We stopped briefly in the town of Cahrin where we walked around a park that surrounded the Cahrin Castle, and after a coffee and pastry at the nearby coffee shop we were on our way again.
Killarney National Park
We didn’t have much time to really get into much of the park, but did manage to stroll through the gardens shown in the graphic below. But the entire Park is very large with 26,000-acre and includes the McGullycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland with peaks over 3,000 feet. The Park has native woodlands, lakes, streams and waterfalls and numerous hiking trails.
The highlight of our excursion, so far, was our visit with Liam Regan, owner of Falconry Kerry. Liam has raised and trained birds of prey since he was 17 and has turned his passion for the hobby into a business that attracts tourists from all over. We spent over an hour with him learning about the types of birds he has, how they respond, and their habits. He had five birds to show us: European Eagle Owl, a Laner Falcon, Harris Hawk, Barn Owl, and an African Spotted Eagle Owl. He gave us each left-handed leather gloves to hold pieces of chicken, and spent the next hour taking turns feeding them from our gloved hands and watching how they reacted. It was an amazing experience.
Tonight, we will lodge at the Killarney Royal Hotel, a warm and cozy boutique 4 star hotel, awarded IGTOA Boutique Hotel of the Year 2012. The rooms are large and very nicely appointed, and best of all right in the heart of the town.