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June 30, 2012 / Stephanie Vermillion

Trotting through the trails of Killarney National Park

After being here only 24 short hours, I can already say without a doubt that Killarney is my favorite city in Ireland. It’s one of those places I’ve always wanted to go (like Tanzania), but had no grasp of how much I’d love it and never want to leave until arrival (like Tanzania).

Horseback riding in Killarney National Park, Ireland

It probably didn’t hurt that I went straight to Killarney Riding Stables for horseback riding the minute my plane landed to get my first taste of Killarney National Park. It was stunning, and I got to take it all in while trotting saddled up on a beautiful black and white horse.

The icing on the cake was finding out my horse’s name — Jimmy. The same time Amy was welcoming her boyfriend into Heathrow Airport for his visit over break, I was kicking the horse version of my boyfriend, Jimmy, in the side to keep moving (not hard kicks, I promise — the guides made me!), yanking his head from the ground to keep him from stopping every third step to eat, and, of course, lovingly petting him for doing a good job. I guess if I can’t see the real Jimmy until August, a black-and-white-spotted horse will have to do.

After final partings with Jimmy II, I checked into my B&B, got crackers, bread, cheese, oranges and cereal to last me for lunch and dinner the next few days (when I’m on my own, food is fuel, not a priority — and my brother thinks I’m crazy for it). I had my delicious Tesco bite to eat and went over to check out Killarney National Park and the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Killarney National Park, Ireland

Killarney National Park, Ireland

Miles walked in the green, lush Ireland add up quicker than expected, so before I knew it I was hungry again by 9 p.m. I spent the entire walk back into town trying to decide between getting a quick half pint of Murphy’s Irish Stout to celebrate being in Ireland, or taste Murphy’s Ice Cream , an ice cream shop with homemade Dingle ice cream.

It only took several blatantly drunk and obviously underage kids stumbling down the street at 9:30 p.m. to talk me into ice cream over a pint. And I have a feeling I’ll be doing that light dinner, ice cream combo every night, because homemade ice cream at Murphy’s was amazing.

Carrauntoohil peak on the right, Killarney National Park, Ireland

Carrauntoohil peak on the right, Killarney National Park, Ireland

Cross your fingers that the un-nutritious dinner and ice cream gave me enough energy to climb up Carrauntoohil today (starting at 8:15 a.m.), because after glimpsing its peak from the ground yesterday, I’m starting to have Mt. Meru rock scrambling memories.

Photography so far: 


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