Sheila R. Lamb
Killarney: The Gap of Dunloe and Deserted Farmhouses
Killarney was the perfect place to begin my walking tour adventure. We left Bunratty Castle and headed into the lush, green land of County Kerry.
We visited the Killarney Lakes (and nearby waterfalls) before heading off to the mountains, to the Gap of Dunloe set within the Macgillycuddy Reeks.
If you pass through the Gap this way, you most likely will stop at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Kate was known to sell “…poitín, ‘Kate Kearney’s Mountain Dew’, which was “very fierce and wild…” Which was also, of course, illegal in the mid-1800’s. This poitín isn’t for sale anymore. You’ll have to settle for a pint or a shot of the Jameson.
Hiking through the Gap of Dunloe was breathtaking. Purple and green mountains were topped with mist, sliding down the hillside. It’s a rugged country, with narrow winding roads. Driving is nearly impossible, so plan to hike, bike, or take a pony cart through the mountains.
From Kate’s, we walked to a deserted farmhouse. There are quite a few of these throughout the Irish countryside, usually abandon during the Famine. These were my favorite places to explore.
These homes had been abandon, but they weren’t completely empty. There were stories to be told. Perhaps a wisp of the past lingered within, waiting for someone to listen.