Killarney National Park
Note: In the presently modern condition the world finds itself in, filled with expanding urbanization in gentrifying cities across the globe, Killarney stands out as the ultimate Celtic haven, forever resisting through the sheer force of it’s natural beauty. Killarney is a dark Celtic fantasy, draped in jade, mingled with enchanted heights and mountain Gaps, where slanted stones literally hold coded messages of a Celtic era gone by. The view from the mountain peaks just south of Moll’s Gap is a hiker’s dream (top image), where you will need to gear-up in steel-tipped boots and a rain resistant windbreaker to truly enjoy the climb. Here the options are endless. Perhaps following a waterfall up a mountain sounds appealing. The angled stones of these long rivulets look to have been cut long ago, in order to influence the flow of the water. This is similar to many streams in New England and Scotland, where the landscapes appear to have been engineered in antiquity. Just one of hundreds of enchanting and mysterious features Killarney provides. The winding solitary dirt-roads far below have no names, but are known to be a portion of the majestic Ring of Kerry, where mountain biking is ideal. To the north is the crystalline Lake Brinn. Monumental slabs in the heights along the road headed to Moll”s Gap align to this lake, forever memorializing it as one of the best vantages in the world. These squared slabs of solid granite are a half mile above the road, and contain concentric rings that were carved into its face, representing a smooth contemplative perfection that is anything but primitive. These are priceless Celtic symbols. Moments in places where the concentric rings are crafted into the stones take on an almost Zen quality, the places photographers sacrifice to reach. When you find these rare sacred spots you share the beauty of the moment with those who marked it and gave it significance so long ago. You connect all the way to the beginning of Time. Further to the north more features of the landscape emerge, as well as more regulated hiking opportunities. Torc Waterfall is the largest Fall in Killarney. It’s a gorgeous cascade of falling water drifting down over massive boulders. A marked trail runs beside the fall, and up the beautifully forested mountain, for roughly two miles of elevated hiking. Above the Fall is a phenomenal view of Muckross and Leane Lakes, as well Ross Castle further to the north. The castle, built in the 15th century, is the centerpiece for several hiking trails that run to the west, through Ross Woods. There are several loops to choose from that run for miles through Celtic glades that are absolutely enchanting. Some of the rarer trees look to be 500 years in growth or more, seemingly from an entirely different era, and of a type I had never seen before. Every winding road and path in Killarney is a potential hiking experience. This is a place where looking over a map at night and planning the following days excursion to various Gaps, trails, and mountains is a true joy. For those who love epic drives, Killarney is a prize winner. By car you can arrive at several of the captivating vistas that Killarney is known for, such as Ladies View (pictured below), the Gap of Dunloe, or dozens of stops along the road to the Black Valley, at the southern edge of the Reserve. In so many of the still pockets of the park a deer may appear, as this delicate fawn did just west of the N71 road. (Bottom Image) Killarney is a venerable Celtic Valhalla for hikers, mountain bikers, cinematographers, dreamers, and naturalists, looking to tap into the best of what natures elements and energies have to offer. Killarney is not the sunny paradise of flighty escapist entertainments that so many western vacationers understandably seek out, but rather, it is an incredibly deep and often times dark Celtic dimension, full of rustic challenges and blue-grey breezes that end in otherworldly vantages. Just south of Killarney Town on the N71 road that runs through the park is a beautiful Standing Stone. It is yet another example of what megaliths often indicate, silently but strongly, that the area you are about to enter is a true wonderland.