One of the questions we get asked a lot is what is the best place for adventures in Ireland. To answer this we decided to stick our intern Christy Flaherty (real name – Hristos Fleturis) on the train for a Killarney Adventure. Like a lot of questions about Ireland it all depends on where you are and what you want to do.
Biking in Killarney
I read about Killarney National Park and places like the Gap of Dunloe before I left Dublin, so I was looking forward to visiting one of the places where tourism was invented. I was also looking forward to hopping on a bike and exploring the surrounds. I’m a pedalhead so it was no bother. Nothing prepared me for the scenery around the lakes though. Whatever photo you guys find on the Internet will not compare to what you really see there. I borrowed a bike from the Killarney hostel (yes, you can rent really good GIANT bikes there) and off I went towards the Gap of Dunloe. By bike, the Gap is around 30 minutes away, more or less, including stops to take photos of the sheep:
This is pedal heavan. When you finally get beyond the small villages and see the wilderness, you would not think you were near one of the most cosmopolitan towns in Ireland.The McGillycuddy Reeks rise around you on all sides and behind every twisting road is another scenic spot where you have to get off the bike and take a picture.
It is possible to cycle the whole way around the lakes and return back to the hostel. I didn’t do it because of the weather and, well, training issues, but it’s definitely in the plan: Up through the Gap of Dunloe, down the steep sides of the Black Valley and around the Killarney lakes into town and out to the hostel again.
High Ropes in Killarney
Apart from climbing Carrautoohill, the highest mountain in Ireland, this is a pretty good way to see the heights of Killarney. The hostel has its own High Ropes course situated in the middle of the woods that circle the grounds. It is run by expert treefolk, Play at Heights. The team is the friendliest you can find and the course, while not the longest or the hardest, takes you through a beautiful Irish woodland, where you can imagine lots of small people following you and guiding you to reach the finish.
To be honest, I am not the greatest fan of high ropes because, I admit, I am a bit afraid of heights. The place where I was doing it, though, made me forget about all this nonsense and just go with the flow. Or with the wind, actually. It’s Ireland, what would you expect? And the views towards the lake are great!
Kayaking in Killarney
So I’ve done the biking, I’ve done the high ropes…next up is the kayaking. I really really wanted to kayak around the lakes.
I didn’t do it because the Erasmus Student Network group that was in Killarney International Hostel for the weekend (around 90 students) had booked all the boats. I got chatting with them afterwards and they said they loved it, especially because they found it so special to do something like this so far away from their home. Instead I walked into town along the lakes looking at them having fun gliding along the water. Damn students!
While I was there I realised that Killarney was the western most point I ever biked in my life. Before that it was in Brittany, France. So I have come a long way!
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