The rain stopped for a few moments, and the intrepid Sherrys ventured out to explore Killarney. As we walked into town, careful to avoid rain puddles, a carriage driver by the name of Michael approached and suggested we hire him and his partner (Sally the horse) for a guided tour of the Killarney national park. Since we had just arrived, I was inclined to explore the town before committing to a tour. With a glance at the heavens, Michael suggested we take advantage of the wonderful weather for our carriage ride. You see, it had stopped raining for 10 minutes. Alex pleaded to go on a horse ride, and my dad offered to pay for the tour – I couldn’t win this one. So we loaded up on the horse-drawn cart and headed into the park. It was a great time and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Killarney. If you are lucky enough to find Michael and Sally, even better.
Patrick and Alex held the reins, but Alex was pretty sure that Sally knew the way without much direction since she had been walking the same route for many years. Michael taught us a few things during the ride. For example, it is said there are 40 shades of green in Killarney national park. Being color blind myself, I only counted 12. I think the point is that EVERYTHING is green. Michael also confirmed that there are 4 seasons in Killarney, all 4 usually occur every day. Also, that Irish people can’t really go to hell because they are too green to burn. It was a very informative ride.
We were surprised to learn that Killarney national park has strong connections to Northern California. The grounds were purchased by a wealthy California mining magnate William Bowers Bourn as a wedding gift for his daughter, then donated by the family in 1932 to become Ireland’s first National Park. Bourn’s primary wealth came from the Empire gold mine in Grass Valley – and for the readers back home, he also created Filoli Gardens in California.