Ireland

This past March, I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland.  It was my first time and needless to say I was super excited.  I went with a few teacher colleagues of mine, and some students, on an EF Tour (Education First).  This is a fantastic company if you are a student or teacher looking for an affordable, all inclusive trip.    We landed in London and caught a connection over to Shannon airport.   We began our short bus ride through Limerick on the way to our hotel in Killarney.  We made a quick rest stop in Adare, Ireland for coffee and to stretch our legs

This is a charming village with little shops along the main street.  We managed to find a place to grab a coffee and then headed on to Killarney.  Before heading to our hotel, we made a stop at the lookout over the Lakes of Killarney.  The view was breathtaking!  We toured the near by church and grave yard from the time of the Celts.

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We arrived at out hotel, Kings Court Harmony Inn, off Murckross Road, which was a short walk into city center.  Though fairly small, Killarney is one of the three larges towns in County Kerry.  This hotel is a known budget hotel and, while comfortable, it definitely lived up to that.  EF can be a shot in the dark when it comes to the quality of the hotels.  When they are transporting students they tend to stay outside main areas so that the students cannot go roaming, and as from an adult chaperone standpoint this is definitely a must.  I would tend to call it rustic quaint.  It was a very old building, and some of our group had problems with the heat or hot water.  Breakfast in the morning was adequate, but wifi spotty in the rooms that we all had to congregate in the main reception area at night.  Overall, if you’re looking for just a place to rest your head, which is all we needed, this place will do the job.

Killorglin Bog Village
We started our journey on the Ring of Kerry bright and early the following morning.  The Ring of Kerry is a 179 km route that takes you around County Kerry through some of the most breath taking, picturesque views in Ireland.  We made our first stop in the bog village of Killorglin, which was a real treat.  You could smell the peat, and it gave an interesting history of the famine and how people lived in Ireland at that time.  Really nice coffee and gift shop as well.

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We continued our drive along the Ring and made our next stop at Dingle.  I will allow the photos to do the talking here to describe how picturesque it all is.   If you planning to visit this area of Ireland, a tour or drive along the Ring is simply a must.

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Killarney National Park / Ross Castle  
After a long exciting day we returned to Killarney, and ended the day in true Irish fashion, taking a jaunting cart ride through the Killarney National Park with a stop to look at Ross Castle.  The jaunting carts are one horse carriages and it was truly a thrill to take a ride and experience this rural Irish custom.

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Recommendation from the Gnome?  When traveling to County Kerry, Ireland, be prepared to get out your hiking boots and get out there into the beautiful hills and sites along the Ring of Kerry and take a jaunting carriage ride to complete the experience!

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