The Ring of Kerry

Killarney is a wonderful city for tourists: it's small and gentle enough to feel wonderfully welcoming and authentic, populated with locals who love to meet people from away, yet it offers everything that you could imagine. Here we are visiting
Muckross House , a typical grand home where Queen Victoria visited for 2 days in 1861. It took 6 years of work to complete the preparations for her visit, including the weaving of 2 rugs for her bedroom suite.

The Ring of Kerry is Ireland's version of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, but as I mentioned in an email back home, the road through  Killarney National Park 
makes our Canadian trail look like the 401. This is a picture of one of the wider stretches of road. As they don't have snow to plow here, there are barely any shoulders to the roads, perhaps 18 inches. This view shows cliff rock on either side, but just around that bend is a sheer drop of hundreds of feet on the outside of that tiny road edge. And remember, this is a wide section of the Ring's roadway.

 One of our group asked the guide if there was anywhere to camp in the National Park. He was completely perplexed at the question; what on earth would possess anyone to want to pitch a tent on this land?

Kinmare is the home of the world famous Kenmare Lace, a tradition established by a convent of nuns who spent a good part of their lives learning and creating these beautiful details. The curators of the exhibit found a prize book with a note to the Mother Superior, who was astute enough to recognize that to promote the sale of their magnificent work, it was important that it be seen in competitions around the world. The note in the book said that as the sisters were not interested in receiving the prize medals for their work , would they accept this commemorative book.

While in Kinmare we did some shopping in a wonderful Irish craft store. I was speaking with a lovely young lady there who told me that she had come to Canada for a visit when she was ten. She went on to say that they first arrived in Hudson's Bay at Churchill, Manitoba. I was thinking: "How sweet, but she must have made a mistake." She then went on to explain that they were on a "cruise" that went from Iceland to Greenland into Hudson's Bay, then they "paddled" (she said) on to Vancouver. I was amazed by visions of this little 10 year old with her family, paddling voyageur style through the waterways of Canada to the West coast. I was relieved when I realized that she must have meant that the cruise ship brought them around to Vancouver. What an experience either way.