After spending a few days in the Cairngorm Mountains, we left Scotland, and the main island of Britain, to see the Republic of Ireland, the last planned part of our trip.
Ireland isn’t actually part of the United Kingdom, having declared independence from the UK in 1922. That led to the formation of a separate country, Northern Ireland, the only one that shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. The reason for the separate country was that some of the counties of the original Ireland disagreed with becoming independent, in part because of religious differences. So Northern Ireland was created and remained part of the United Kingdom, while the rest of Ireland became a republic independent of the UK.
Since the Irish Sea is between Britain and Ireland, obviously driving was out of the question. We would have to take a plane from Scotland to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. The airport there is very large, since it’s where most international flights to Ireland arrive. It was also pretty crowded, and we were glad to collect our luggage and move on.
We didn’t stay in Dublin for long. Instead we decided to take a train to the Killarney area in southwest Ireland. Killarney is a town in County Kerry, and it’s one of the major tourist destinations in Ireland. Even though we’d intended to avoid some of the more heavily traveled destinations on our trip, Killarney sounded like a nice place to go to experience some of the best of Ireland.
Tourism has been a big part of Killarney’s economy for almost 250 years. Because of the lakes and mountains in the area, as well as the historical significance of an area that’s been populated for centuries, people have long enjoyed traveling here, and the residents of Killarney have taken advantage of it. Over the years, they’ve turned their town into a place that’s almost entirely devoted to attracting and pleasing tourists.
There are a lot of interesting shops and attractions in Killarney, and it was a nice place to see, as was Ireland as a whole. But we weren’t altogether happy about the crowds. We’d expected a peaceful, idyllic time in Ireland, and unfortunately we didn’t get it. Instead we had to contend with many other visitors. If we visit again in the future, we’ll steer clear of the #1 tourist location and choose a time of year that isn’t at the height of tourist season.
The Gap of Dunhoe trail also swarmed with tourists, many of whom took horse carts, which forced us to watch our step and hold our noses.
However, the boat ride back was great.
Time to go home. Good bye, Ireland!
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