Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Killarney & the Ring of Kerry

Today the ship landed in Cobh (pronounced 'Cove')in the south of Ireland. This was also the last port (then called Queenstown, under British control) that the Titanic visited before its fatal 1912 voyage to that iceberg in the Atlantic. We took a wonderful excursion to Killarny by way of the Ring of Kerry. Our tour guide Kevin regaled us with Irish history and jokes, all told in his wonderful brogue. Just one example, on how much fun Irish funerals are: unlike weddings, you don't have to be invited and you don't have to bring a gift. At the end of the funeral there's only one person who isn't drunk: the poor sod just buried. We stopped at the town of Macroon on the way to Kenmore, while the scenery became more dramatic all the time, with the mountains rising in the distance. Macroon was the ancestral home of Admiral Sir William Penn, and the front facade of his 17th century castle still exists in this small town. The morning fog burnt off bringing a clear day with blue skies. At Kenmore there was an old country fair, with horses and ponies being sold in the streets. Then it was on to the Ring of Kerry, surely one of the most spectacular scenic spots anywhere. The mountains are green and dotted with lakes, and there's an unspoiled majesty to all the peaks and foliage. We stopped for a tour at Muckross House, an early 19th century Victorian manse with a colorful sunken garden and huge old trees around the property. Queen Victoria and Albert themselves visited this Tudor-style house in 1861. After our tour of the house we had lunch in Killarney, which is over-run with tourists, but like the rest of the towns still has some fascinating old buildings. The friendliness of the Irish is encountered everywhere, and when we arrived back at the ship at the end of the day a brass band and a carillon were alternating playing for the passengers of the Royal Princess. Tomorrow it's back to England, where the ship will dock at Liverpool. -Dan

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