Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Wonderful Surprise: the Lake Hotel in Killarney

I'm going to make you wait for the beef bourguignon again. I promise I will eventually post about it, but I have to tell you about the lovely Valentine's Day surprise A had for me.

He told me on Saturday: pack an overnight bag, but include a dress, walking shoes and your camera. Sounded promising. One of my all time favorite things to do is to go out hiking and take pictures of nature. Getting dressed up and feeling girlie is a nice thing for this tomboy once in a while :)

We headed into Killarney, which is a nearby town. Although Tralee is the capital of the county, Killarney is where all the fun is. It is beautiful and very geared toward tourists, which are the town's primary source of income. Its very quaint with lots of cute shops, traditional music, centuries old churches and horse-driven carriages that can take you around the place. Its so pretty and well worth a visit if you are in to Ireland. If A was working when I came down to Tralee for weekends I'd go over to Killarney, find a church parking lot where I could leave my car for free, and just wander. There is a Lir coffee shop where you get a fancy chocolate with your coffee, so that was usually my first stop :)

Back to the Valentine's Day story: we headed into Killarney. We followed the ring road around the outside of the town, on the right was fields and lakes, on the left was fancy bed & breakfasts. It was so quiet and beautiful. It felt like we were the only people in the world. We carried on before A told me to turn right, down a winding road that had light posts like the ones in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. It was turning dusk as we approached so the lights kind of glowed. It was pretty cool.

 I took this the next day but just wanted to show you what it looks like when driving in
As we approached, this beautiful, old, pale building seemed to grow as we followed the road around. There was a tennis court and more of the gorgeous lamp posts. The trees were all bare but they were everywhere, and I could only imagine how beautiful the gardens would be at the height of summer.

We checked in and found the way to our room. Which was fantastic. It was looking at a lake and a ruin of a castle

It was absolutely beautiful. So I took a picture, grabbed my copy of Pride and Prejudice and hit the jacuzzi (that may have been the most exciting part of the whole night!). I had an hour before I had to start getting ready for dinner, so I really enjoyed the chillaxing soak. And A really enjoyed watching soccer without me asking him to change the channel. Good start to the evening :)

We headed down to dinner and I was so excited about my surprise night away that I left my camera behind, so I can't show you pictures, but I can tell you I had the most delicious dinner I think I've ever had (pan roasted duck with fabulous crispy skin encrusted with large pieces of salt. Y. U. M!!!!). After enjoying the lovely food, we headed to the bar to watch the leaders debate (upcoming election trumps romantic evening). Anyway, after a wonderful dinner and 2 brandy's I was beyond tired and enjoyed the best night sleep in recent memory.

When I got up this morning the castle and lake looked a little different

Here's a close up of the castle

So we had to go out and wander around the castle. Here's a view of the hotel from the top of that ruin:

Pretty fantastic, eh?

There were a number of walks around the grounds that I'm sure would have been amazing, but it started to rain. A lot! Windshield-wipers-on-high-and-crawling-the-car-at-40km/h kind of rain. So unfortunately we had to forgo the walks around the hotel, but we followed signs for a nearby waterfall. We were hoping that the rain would subside enough by the time we found it to allow us to wander around (and enough that I could take out my camera!). Torc Waterfall is 4.5km from the hotel and we weren't in any rush to return to Tralee, so off we went. We found it and sat there for nearly 10 minutes and realized we were only letting the puddles get deeper. So we sucked it up and headed out.

After a short (very, very wet) walk, we were rewarded.

See how wet and shiny the rocks at the bottom of the picture are? It wasn't from the waterfall. Rain. Crazy, non-stop, mean, cold rain.

But I still took pictures

It was really nice. I love waterfalls. They remind me of home. And a special friend who I looked for waterfalls with while hiking.

Poor A isn't as sentimental about waterfalls though. He tried to avoid the rain by hiding under a barely-leafed tree

It didn't work.

We were both soaked, so went home and lit the fire.

The End.

Here's the website for the hotel we stayed at: the Lake Hotel

Did you celebrate Valentine's Day?


Jenn x


  1. What a great surprise! Sounds like, despite the rain, you had a reasonable amount of fun :)

    Looking forward to your beef photos!

  2. Wow, the lake and castle are stunning, that was such a nice surprise. Lucky you :)

  3. Goodness me that looks just simply beautiful! And what a wonderful surprise-you deserve it!:D

  4. Thanks ladies :) It was pretty awesome.