The Ring of Kerry and the Tourist City of Killarney
July 12-14, 1999:
The Ring of Kerry forms the centerpiece of many vacations to Ireland. It's literally a ring-shaped road that spans from Killarney to the ocean. We only scratched the surface with a day's drive through it.
This sign says something about the aspirations of the local towns.
You can see the trademark blue and greens of the Ring of Kerry countryside.
We waited till 4pm until the sun came out cause we knew the scenery would be worth it.
No trip to a part of Ireland would be complete for Henry and Kathleen without a detour to look at megalithic stones.
This one was guarded by some nasty signs and fences.
These stones are some of the tallest in Ireland. We looked out over a blue-green lake in the background and heard the wind whistling past the tall, thin stones.
After our long day around the Ring, we stopped at Killarney for the night.
Busses and the cars bring the town to a virtual standstill in the evening. By foot is the only way to travel.
Most towns in Ireland shut down at 5:30, but not Killarney. It starts to bustle at that time, when all the tourists have left the ring and the nearby national park, they go to the stores and pubs looking for the 'Irish experience.'
Here you see us buying souvenirs at 10:30.
In the true Irish tradition, musicians gather after work for good craic (fun) and tunes at the local pub. But this is tourist Killarney, and such gatherings can't be left up to chance. This group of musicians is well paid to play for the crowds of mostly Americans.
The night we were there, a group of American teenagers were doing Irish step dance routines to this paid band for the amusement of the American crowd.
They just called themselves Irish Dancers.
Sure is a small world.
The next day life gets underway with the empty kegs lining the streets as reminders of the previous night's revelries.
As we roamed the town in the daylight, we learned about other lives dependant on the tourist trade.
Here you can see the Dunne family passing on the proud family tradition of playing in the streets for money. They held forth earnestly out of key for hours as we kept passing them through the day. They drew quite a crowd and had cassettes for sale.
Farming doesn't bring in a good living for many anymore, but those who still have land and livestock can do well in the 'on season' by providing these 'jaunting cars' as a service to visitors.
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