Ireland has no shortage of beautiful landscapes to admire. Unfortunately the 10.5% forest coverage leaves us lacking in forests to enjoy. On a positive note, that's the highest level of coverage we've had in 350 years and we aim to continue this trend of growth. Here's my favourite place in Ireland to enjoy walking among giants.
Killarney, Co Kerry
Killarney is absolutely my favourite place in Ireland and right at the heart of the national park is Reenadeena yew forest. Thought to be populated by trees between 150 and 300 years old it immediately inspires a feeling of magic and enchantment especially as it is the only significant area of yew woodland in Ireland and is one of just three pure yew woodlands in Europe.
In Irish mythology, the yew is one of the five sacred trees brought from the Otherworld. With a lifespan of up to 2000 years it's clear to see why it has become a symbol of immortality and is actually able to rejuvenate.
It's possible to walk here or bring a bike. I recommend starting here and exploring the Yew and Oak woods before heading higher into the mountains and the wonders Killarney has to offer.
Heading further up into the mountains toward the Oaks, make sure to visit the 20m high Torc waterfall which is at its best after heavy rainfall.
To explore some of the park’s wilder wooded treasures, go off road along the way to 'Ladies View' and spend some time among the mountain oaks near lough Leanne. There is a particularly old and large oak about half way up the trail to the left side of the road. Depending on the time of year you may be lucky enough to collect some acorns to plant at home. Should you be so lucky, check out our blog post on how to grow oaks from acorns.
Take some time at Ladies view to admire the lakes and get a tea or coffee at the shop beside the viewpoint. The Irish Times ranked Ladies View as one of the most photographed places in Ireland, it's easy to understand why when seen in person. Unfortunately I had to use my phone for this picture, which does the view no justice.
You can lose yourself in Killarney national park for a day or a week with ease. Either way it won't disappoint with it's endless possibilities for exploring. Enjoy the trail and let us know if you find any gems off the beaten track!