Rhododendron forests and scorched earth

Muckross Lake and Torc Mountain

Four days we are already in Ireland. Of course I was tempted to report about it. E.g. about the Guiness Store House in Dublin, the biggest walk-in commercial of Dublin, for which you have to pay money – and whose visit is worth it anyway – or from Glendalough, the monastery complex in the Wicklow Mountains from the 6th century with the later erected 33 m high round tower and the many Celtic crosses on the cemetery still used today, which is very picturesquely situated in the “Valley of the Two Lakes”.

But this is not a general travel blog, but “Rad und Fuß, which means “bike and foot”, but in german can also mean “wheel and foot”. And by wheel I do not mean the car wheels on which we currently travel. But stop! Today the car wheels only lead us to Muckross House, a mansion from the time of the British occupation at the edge of the Killarney National Park. From here our feet carry us past the gardens, café and craft centre and the Muckross Lake, whose shore we follow a bit before we turn off to the Torc Waterfall, a very popular (and accordingly populated) excursion destination just above the “Ring of Kerry”. We climb further up and walk through enchanted forests of beeches, oaks, hollyhocks and yews, whose branches are covered with mosses and ferns and whose “undergrowth” forms meter-high rhododendrons and past yellow irises and orchids on the Kerry Way, with 220 km probably the longest long-distance hiking trail in Ireland. Certainly this is not the whole 220 km, but only a part until the path to Torc Mountain branches off to the right. This bridges the many swampy passages, where sundew and butterwort – carnivorous plants – also grow with old railway sleepers that are covered with wire nets to prevent slipping. Suddenly, however, a smell like smoked salami is pushing its way into the nose – the low bushes, which actually still grow here, stretch burnt branches up like black fingers. Just the day before yesterday we learned that last summer, which was also very hot and dry in Germany, it did not rain for nine weeks – and that in Ireland! After that the “Green Island” was more like a brown island. And as it seems, there have also been extensive fires, as we know them from the Mediterranean countries.

Muckross House
Muckross Lake

A few impressions from the “enchanted forest”

The higher we get, the more the view widens until we see Killarney and its flat surroundings as well as Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and many other lakes and Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. Unfortunately the sun is still hiding behind the clouds and the wind is cold. So we don’t stay up for long and look for a sheltered place below the summit for lunch. Of course the sun comes out later! But then we are already on the descent, which we finish with a round around Muckross Lake.

On the ascent to Torc Mountain: View to Upper Lake
In the Rhododendron Forest
Looking back at Torc Mountain
Eroded limestone rock at Muckross Lake
Total distance: 19.01 km
Max elevation: 514 m
Min elevation: 18 m
Total climbing: 722 m
Total descent: -722 m

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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