Well there's nothing quite like a 25 to 30 mile bike ride to wake you up in the morning! Today was our first full day to spend in Killarney and it was filled with adventure. We started the day off with some breakfast at our hotel, followed by a short walk through town to O'Sullivan's Bike Shop to rent our bikes for the day. Once we got going, we headed through town for a little bit before venturing into Killarney National Park. The park was absolutely beautiful, filled with various trails surrounding the lakes and cutting through the forest. We biked for a solid 45 minutes before we got to Torc Mountain for some hiking and to see the incredible waterfall! It was a pretty steep trek to the top (especially after a pretty speedy bike ride!) but the views and photos we got were totally worth it. After we finished our hiking, we started the ride back home, but along the way stopped at Muckross Abbey and Muckross House to walk around a little and see the pretty gardens. Leaving the abbey, we were headed back into town to return our bikes. A few wrong turns and a time crunch make the ride home a pretty good workout but the whole team was great sports about it and ending up laughing about the fact that we managed to turn a loop that was supposed to be 15 miles into a 25 to 30 mile loop. We all felt pretty accomplished and decided we had basically done the Tour de Ireland.
After our adventures in Killarney National Park, our coaches had a surprise for us as well as the men's team. We walked over to Laurel's Pub where we got a few lessons in Irish dancing. There were a few people to teach us how to dance, including a little boy and girl that were already way better than we would ever be! We learned three different varieties of Irish dances, two of which were with partners and one was with a broom. It was seriously so much fun both watching and participating, particularly watching the coaches! Surprisingly, we had a few naturals in the group that got the hang of it super quickly.
We ended our day by heading back into Killarney National Park for dinner (we took the bus this time, thank goodness!) where we went to Kate Kearney's Cottage. It was a family-run restaurant that had been around for over 150 years that definitely provided us with a warm Irish atmosphere. A lot of us would argue that it was our best meal yet, so it was quite delicious. Along with dinner, we got to watch some more dancing that we had attempted to learn earlier and listened to some traditional Irish music. All in all it was an eventful day that was a lot of fun!
- Sehar Resad (Class of 2015)