Back in 1994 six members of the club enjoyed a wonderful week's walking in the beautiful Killarney National Park in the most South Westerly County in Ireland. 

We were forced into the week 25 May to 2 June to fit in with the arrangements of a lady who had originally volunteered to lead our walks. This choice of dates unfortunately excluded several club menbers who were working in the educational world at the time. Then our intended leader took another job in Switzerland that week and those who had signed up for the holiday were committed to the dates because of work commitments we were unable to change the date of the holiday. I therefore had to mull up on walking routes in Kerry and had the scary experience

of leading the walks myself without the benefit of advance walkouts.  In the event we succeeded in following the intended paths without error but for several months afterwards I woke up at night looking for my map and compass!!!!


Below are some photographic memories of the week kindly taken and provided by Maureen Cahalane and some taken by myself.


I had worked out a programme for the week which involved an easy first day, involving a visit to St Mary's Cathedral (above) and a gentle walk around the nearest lake to the town.



In addition to the Lakes, celebrated in song and story, Killarney has several

picturesque rivers and this is a shot of swans on the river Laune.



One of the beautiful kakes of Killarney is Lough Leane and I took this view from the Brickeen Bridge



My Pentax ME Super camera was a recently acquired novelty so I asked my

rambler friends to remain on the bridge while I went down and took a photograph with the zoom lens. The above photograph was the result and I class it as one of my favourite if not my absolute favourite photographs.



We had a teastop in a lakeside cafe and nearby was this foxglove in full bloom



We spent the best part of another day visiting Muckross Abbey and Muckross House. Above and below are photographs of the full view of the Abbey, now a ruin but well preserved. To follow I have a few photographs of the inside of the Abbey.





This is the inside of the Nave of the Abbey Chapel. I took the photograph from outside the entrance arch which gives a nice perspective of the rest of the Chapel.



This is a detail view if the Altar in the Abbey Chapel.



Maureen had hoped to trace some of her roots in South West Ireland but amused us by saying that the roots of this tree stump which were exposed above the ground were as close as she got to finding her roots!!!



Having got all the value we could out of Muckross we then went to Muckross House and this is a full view of the front of the house.



This was a good good view of the house with the horse drawn side cars (known as jaunting cars) lined up in front of the house ready for their day's business. In 1994 we were quoted £32 for a short tour in one of the cars!!



Obviously some of the jaunting cars had already begun their day's work. The drivers are known as "jarveys" and are a fount of much knowledge about Killarney and its surroundings.



A major feature of a visit to Muckross are the decorative gardens. We did not investigate them in 1994 but later, on our 2011 holiday based in Tralee, our McGinley's driver, Brendan, treated us to a surprise tour of the ring of Kerry and he included a visit to Muckross House when some of us availed of the opportunity to look around the gardens.



But even in 1994 the Two Maureens did take a look round.



Each evening while we were in Killarney itself we chose a different bar to go to where traditional Irish music "sessions" took place. This one was a bar called "Buckley's". 


On the fourth day we went backpacking from Killarney to the Black Valley hostel and this was when serious walking began. The walk was sixteen miles through mountainy and boggy areas, touching on parts of the old Kenmare road and the Kerry Way long distance walk.  Early in the day we arrived at Torc Waterfall where the above photograph was taken. After ascending Torc mountain we then walked for some time in the shadow of mighty Mangartan mountain.



As we approached the pretty village of Galway's Bridge we caught sight of these rapids.



In Galway's bridge we saw the local Church. A few more photographs were taken here but unfortunately have gone missing.



As we approached Lord Brandon's Cottage near the end of our day's walk we caught this stunning view of on of the renowned Lakes of Killarney.


At Lord Brandon's Cottage, despite the appearance of being closed up for the day we had a welcome cuppa before continuing the last lap of a hard day's walking into the Black Valley Hostel.
























For the few days of our sojourn in the Black Valley we were handsomely looked after by Eileen, seen here on the right. She prepared the best of Irish food with portions fit for a mountain farmer.




















Before we left I had to take this souvenir of Eileen (second from left) with my four travelling companions.






































On our first evening at the Black Valley Hostel I went for a loan walk up the hill that overlooks the hostel and got this great view of the hostel and, nearby, the Black Valley Church

























In taking a photograph of the Black Valley Church itself I seem to have been more captivated by the beauty of the surrounding mountains than by the Church.























This was the majestic view we had from the hostel window - carrying promnise of a few lovely days in wonderful surroundings.


I had planned to have a rest day during our stay in the Black Valley but on finding that there was absolutely nothing to do in that area other than walk we decided to have a leisurely walk around the lake instead. As I took the above photograph I had my back turned to some of the most fantastic mountain scenery in Kerry but my intention was to capture the terrain on which we were walking - some scree some grass and som boggy bits.

























The above was one of the views I was turning my back on - the long distance "Kerry Way" as it makes its way through the Black Valley.
























This was the lake around which we spent our "rest day" walking. The walking was easy and the scenery on all sides absolutely stunning.























On reaching the lake side we took time out for a leisurely rest stop.






























This is the same photograph as the one above it but with the sun inserted by a Photoshop technique which I picked up on a course some 20 years after the photograph was taken.



































Not only the ramblers but also the sheep have to take their rest!!


Rest stop over and bags made ready for walking the view of the Purple Mountain carried promise of another day's (more demanding) walking later in the week.



On what was intended as a rest day we walked around the Black Valley and on the outward trek this photograph shows Maureen making friends with a Kerry sheep.



On the other side of the lake we stopped for lunch and a rest (not sure whether my hood was for protection against sun, wind or rain!!)



And then headed back towards our accommodation.



Pat's highly decorated stick was something of a celebrity and here we all salute it!!




The second highest walk we did was the Purple Mountain seen above in a parting shot we took before finishing our rest day walk around the Black Valley.



I had taken much time researching books on walking in the South West of Ireland to plan our ascent of the Purple Mountain. I was determined to include it in our itinerary. But as I took the above view from the foothills I did wonder if I might have overstretched myself.


However I had four willing companions so we pressed on bravely and took several photographs on the ascent, of which the above was an early example.
























and Pat took the above photograph on the way up (Glas Lough visible on the right just above the middle of the photograph).



Pat also took time out the catch her breath!!




















Above and below Hilary, Pat and Maureen can be seen struggling up the middle part of the mountain. At this stage the other Maureen was beginning to be impatient with the slow pace the rest of us were walking at.

































And we are at the highest point on the Purple Mountain



















With the help of some Kerry stones and Pentax technology we were able to include the whole group in this triumphant photography at the summit of the Purple Mountain.
























On the descent we had a good view of the Gap of Dunloe. On reaching the bottom we found the manager of the hostel driving up in a car to offer us a lift back. We thought this was a great coincidence but discovered later that the jarveys at Kate Kearney's Cottage had been watching us coming down the mountain and when we got to the bottom had rung the hostel to tell them we were safely down. One of our members remarked that inview of this Killarney was a great place to have a holiday but nowhere to go if you were on the run!!!


Our brief and enjoyable sojourn in the Black Valley over we set out for the long walk back to Killarney. For this return journey we chose to go through the Gap of Dunloe, which Maureen and I had walked in both directions to visit Kate Kearney's Cottage each evening we were in the Black Valley.




















A view along the length of the Gap.

























One of my walking companions photographed me by a trickling stream along the way.































Nearby was this very picturesque river crossing.







































We decided to take the safe option and follow the road rather than be clever and try to find a footpath route through the Gap





































A rather wider view of the same road


























The sight of the famous Killarney side car always getys cameras clicking


























The beauty of the Gap of Dunloe never ceases to amaze the visitor.





















Approximately 5 miles into our walk we reach Kate Kearney's Cottage




















A good spot to reflect on the pleasures of the previous few days over a cup of Kate's coffee.





















From here too we had our last view of the Purple Mountain which had takes to our highest altitude and most challenging walk so far.


From here we followed a fairky difficult path. I negotiated the route on a thick green line on the Irish Ordnance Survey map which I later discovered was actually the boundary of the Killarney National Park, not all of which was a pub;;lic right of way. Nevertheless it did guide us on our way back to Killarney.


























Along the way we were entranced by many beautiful scenes including this view of the Lakes of Killarney against the backdrop of McGillicuddy's Reeks and the following two views of other mountains.



















































As we approached Killarney we visited the beautiful modern Church of Peace at Fossa. The view through the window behind the high altar was alone worth making the trip for.


In planning this holiday I reserved our last day's walking for the highest mountain in Ireland - Carrantuahill. I stipulated in the itinerary that each member would be free to skip this walk and that in any case I would only do it if we were sure of fine weather. In the event it turned out to be a beautifully sunny day so we set off from level ground to make our way to the monster ahead.

























To the left and right of the path seen above we could see turf that had obviously been cut out of the ground at surface level. Having been brought up in the middle of midland bogs with turf holes 12 or 15 feet deep this was a novelty for me.

























I overlooked photographing the verticle cliff known as "The Devil's Staircase" as we approached it but when we got to the top of it we could see the Hag's Glen (above). By this time there were only two of us climbing. Two had dropped out at the bottom of the Devil's Staircase. Two of us decided to get up the staircase and then wait for all of us to tackle the summit together. Unfortunately we did not give voice to this plan so the fifth member of our group felt abandoned and turned back before reaching the top of the "staircase". 






































As we aproached the summit we carefully took our compass bearing inorder to reduce the risk of coming back down on the wrong side of the mountain and then took this photograph with the self timing facility on my Pentax ME Super camera.

























Eventually the cross at the summit filled our vision and gave us an uplifting feeling of a job nearly done.






































Trying to maintain my reputation as a gentleman, as we approached the summit I dropped back to let Maureen be the first to make it, and photographed her as she did so!!






































Then another self timer to show that both of us were there.
























The views from tnhe summit were absolutely magical. We took a long time taking them in and I felt we could have spent many hours there. Above is a snapshot of the world renowned Lakes of Killarney taken fro m the top of Ireland's highest mountain and below are some fjurther photographs I took at the time.










































































On our final night in Killarney we attended a great Killarney music venue - The Laurels - and the other members presented me with the beautiful Irish sweater which I am holding here.



...And wearing here as I still do from time to time, 21 years after the event.



We joined in the singing and celebrations.



The left had side of the above photograph shows the other Maureen in the middle with two of our hostel staff