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In County Kerry, Ireland, an easy nature walk extends from Muckross House through Killarney National Park to Dundag Boathouse on Muckross Lake.

Yew tree with sign for Old Boathouse Nature Trail
Yew tree with sign for Old Boathouse Nature Trail
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

From Dundag, you can rent/hire boats to cruise to Dinis Island and the Meeting of the Waters.

Walking past a massive Scotch pine and masses of blue rhododendrons behind Muckross House, we reached the Old Boathouse Nature Trail. Its length is only 0.6 miles (one kilometer) long, but we spent 30 minutes hiking along the path and taking photos.

Yew trees

The Killarney National Park yew forest looks like leprechaun habitat. Ferns and thick moss carpet the ground below the yew trees (Taxus baccata L.).

Called Reenadinna Wood, some of the yew trees are 200 years old. The 4.7-mile (7.5-kilometer) Arthur Young Nature Trail provides a more comprehensive walk through Killarney's yew woodlands.

Lough Leane tour boat in Killarney National Park
Lough Leane tour boat in Killarney National Park
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

"Yews were considered sacred trees in pre-Christian times," explained Frank Walsh, our Celtic Kerry tour guide. "People planted them in meeting places, cemeteries and monasteries."

Muckross Lake

Passing some arbutus (Killarney strawberry trees), which grow edible but bitter strawberry-shaped fruit, we reached Muckross Lake.

"Its water comes from the Devil's Punch Bowl, high on Mangerton Mountain," said Walsh.

As we viewed Muckross Lake from Dundag Boathouse, we spotted passengers on an open wooden boat.

A few days later, we boarded the boat for a Killarney Lakes cruise between Ross Castle and Lord Brandon's Cottage.




Killarney National Park: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

Tourism Ireland: www.discoverireland.com

More things to see and do in Ireland:

Irish Breakfasts at Ireland B&Bs

Gap of Dunloe Tours - Hike, Bike or Jaunting Car?

Muckross Abbey - Killarney National Park Ireland

Muckross Traditional Farms Tour - Killarney Ireland

Torc Waterfall to Ladies View - Killarney National Park Ireland