Killarney & Wicklow National Park Adventures
I am alone a lot here. Normally just during the day while Mathew is working, but over the last month he has been traveling a lot and away for weeks at a time. Some weeks it weighs on me but other weeks I use the alone time for solo adventures.
Excitingly, when he is away I have access to our car and can go where I want, when I want! So, the last time he was away I took a road trip to two national parks. My Irish national park adventures were twofold:
- See more breathtaking views of Ireland
- Add excitement to my Dublin marathon training
Both were successfully accomplished, and I cannot wait to go back with Mathew, family and friends.
Wicklow National Park- Glendalough
A midway point between my home in Wexford and the Dublin Airport, making it a convenient destination after dropping Mathew off at the airport. To be honest, I did not really know what I was heading towards but everyone goes to Glendalough (GLEN-da-lock, Irish for Valley of the Two Lakes) so I needed to check that off my ‘Ireland List’. It was beautiful and made for a nice run-hike.
Run-hike? It is my new thing. I am being diligent about completing my marathon training workouts but if I want to substitute a two-mile-run-day for an adventure at a national park, I do. I run at the park when the trails allow and hike when the trails are uneven and rocky. I am still getting the miles under my feet and soaking in the beauty that Ireland offers, no guilt here about workout modifications. Plus I am completing two to three true runs other days of the week.
I spent about two hours exploring the park and hardly cracked the surface. There was so much to see and explore. It’s a monastic settlement founded in the 6th century and a home for holy people until the early 1500s. The two lakes, called the lower and upper lakes are gorgeous. I cannot wait to go back. Enjoy some of the stunning sights at Glendalough.
(Note, to expand and view the pictures individually on a smart phone simply hold one of the images until a drop down appears, select 'open', then scroll through the images)
Killarney National Park
To explore Killarney National Park an overnight trip was involved. The park is four hours from Wexford. While I finally feel comfortable driving in Ireland it is still completely different, very focused driving. Eight hours round trip, plus exploring the park was not realistic for one day.
Zane and I set out for our adventure late one afternoon, arrived in Killarney around sunset, slept in the car (I could not find a place that allowed dogs and I wanted Zane to join me, it was not my best night of sleep...), and arrived at the park first thing in the morning. If you can arrive at a national park the moment it opens I strongly encourage the experience. Being the only person at a place visited by hundreds of thousands annually has a restful and surreal feeling. I set out on the trail for a six-mile-run-hike starting and ending at the Muckross House.
The trail loops the Muckross Lake and had a lot of scenic viewpoints. The highlights include and are pictured in the following order:
- Muckross House
- Dinis Cottage- I imagine the picnic tables are filled with people later in the day
- Meeting of the Waters
- Torc Waterfall- not pictured
- Plus it could technically be considering the start of the Ring of Kerry, I loved the landscape.
I enjoyed this park and will be returning in August with family. I cannot wait.
Blogging Note: I am off to America tomorrow for three weeks. I plan to blog but if life gets too crazy while home I might not. Stay tuned.