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Killarney Dinner
Treasures of Ireland:
A Jaunty-Good Ride Through Killarney National Park
(Dispatch #7)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

John and his horse Silver

e's no Lone Ranger, far from it. He wears no mask, doesn't carry a pair of six-shooters around his waist and knows absolutely no one by the name of Tonto. But, he does have a horse named Silver that pulls his jaunting car.

Meet John, one of the funniest jarveys (drivers) in all of Killarney and one of three quick-witted local experts anxiously waiting for the "band of merry media" – 18 intrepid travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations (Insight) on its Treasures of Ireland journey – to clamber up into the back of their respective canopied jaunting cars for a one-hour ride through picturesque Killarney National Park.

the writer and fellow travel writers on a carriage at Killarney National Park

"Céad míle fáilte," (One-hundred-thousand welcomes) he says with a smile.

"Mind if I ride shotgun?" I ask.

Doffing his cap, John replies, "It would be an honor," and quickly extends his hand to help me pull myself up alongside.

"Better throw a rug over your lap," he warns me, "it might get a bit cold along the way."

"A rug?" I ask.

"Oh," he chuckles, "a blanket then."

carriage makes it way across Kilalrney National Park

Sans a "Hi-yo Silver!," we clippety-clop down the street a short way until jovial John cracks a left, as they say over here, and into the vast park we head.

 the Macgillycuddy Reeks viewed from Killarney National Park

Chatting and laughing as we go, John, a jarvey his entire adult life just like the rest of the lads in his family, points out that, "Killarney National Park covers approximately 26,000 acres and extends from the town limits all the way out to the foot of the Macgillycuddy Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range."

Considered to be the jewel in the crown of Co. Kerry, Killarney National Park is a truly photogenic place filled with spectacular natural beauty. Home to one of the most extensive oak woodlands still in existence around Europe, the park encompasses mountains, lakes, streams, waterfalls, small islands and flatlands, and boasts a unique resident who's been living here since the end of the last Ice Age: the endangered Irish Red Deer.

various scenes at Killarney National Park

With an intricate network of walking, hiking and cycling paths and trails, visitors can spend days on end exploring the Killarney National Park wilderness up one side and down the other, and stop long enough to frame some of the park's signature locales: Muckross House and Gardens, Ross Castle, Killarney House, Knockreer House and Torc Waterfall.

Unfortunately, we're on the clock with no time to spare as our group photo shoot awaits, so John tugs on the reins, Silver finds a little extra in his giddyup and our small caravan of jaunting cars heads back to the starting point.

travel writers and photographers in front of St. Mary's Cathedral

In full view of the steeple of St.Mary's Cathedral, one of the finest examples of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture in the country, the "band of merry media" strikes a pose in front of the lens. The local contracted photographer cries out, "Say cheese!," but he's trumped by someone off to the side, probably Jarvey John, who yells, "Say Killarney!"

Insight Vacations brochure

For complete information on Insight's 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary where a jaunting car ride awaits, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry

See you in about an hour when we'll nestle back into our business class-legroom seats and take off on a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry – heaven on earth – stopping often along the way for photo-ops and hot-buttered scones smothered in homemade jam.

Related Articles:
Dinner at Killarney; The Rock of Cashel; The Kilkenny Way; A Donnybrook of a Feast; Dublin and the Book of Kells; Treasures of Ireland: Prologue




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

* * * *

Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal




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