Forecast Rain & Strong Wind

Reality Sun & Luscious Red Berries

Last Sunday (Sept 10) the news was full of Hurricane Irma leaving a trail of destruction in the Caribbean and approaching Florida. Our weather forecast warned of status yellow winds in Kerry and a lot of rain.

But Dermot had not been walking for months. The first thought was Faill a’ Crann (on the western side of Mangerton). The high route would be dry and relatively sheltered, we would be back in two hours, and the view is spectacular. But in all of that wind and rain would there be any views.

Muckross and Dinis would be a better bet. Constant shelter, close up – and endlessly varied – views through deciduous trees, of lake and mountain. And if the worst came to the worst there was the possibility of a stop off and some refreshments in Dinis Cottage or Muckross House and, if it was a disaster, we could be picked up.

As we set off the sun was shining and it was dry. The stiff wind gave the feel of a fresh Autumn day. Along the track on the southern shore of Lough Leane, by Muckross Abbey. Then on the Arthur Young trail through the largest yew wood in Europe. Later under great oaks,

While there was some passing rain the sun turning the waters of the Muckross Lake silver (photo above) was more typical


Along the narrow spit of land between the western shore of the Muckross Lake and the back channel (that runs from the Meeting of the Waters directly to Glena Bay on Lough Leane) half a dozen or more guelder rose bushes are now heavy with luscious red berries that look as if they have been dipped in water.

The Guelder rose was formerly better named the water or swamp elder because it likes to grow in damp places like this stretch between Brickeen Bridge and Dinis and has similar berries to the elder. The shrubs are close to one another. Because its cluster of white flowers (in Spring) are sterile it can only propagate by bending its branches to the ground and letting them layer themselves there.

The red berries are foul smelling and are mildly toxic if eaten raw but they can be cooked to make a jam or jelly and are rich in vitamin C.

Past a busy Dinis Cottage and Meeting of the Waters of the three lakes, crossing the main road (N71) and following the track that runs above and parallel to the main road, with high views over Muckross Lake. In spite of the occasional shower most of the time the water sparkled in the sunshine.

We crossed back over the N71 and followed the park road towards Muckross. At Dundag, on the eastern shore, the waters of Muckross Lake showed the power of the wind.

Colourful clothing complimented the colour of the flowers in the sunken garden by Muckross House.

We picked horse chestnuts near Muckross Abbey and then returned to our starting point along the old funeral road.

“Three and a half hours, in ideal walking weather, was a good first walk,” Dermot agreed. It was a perfect Autumn outing and proved yet again that there are walks in Killarney to suit any weather and at any time of the year.

Frank Lewis

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