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Castlemartyr Resort / Killarney, Ireland

We begin our first full day in Ireland still in awe of the impressive Castlemartyr Resort, so we set out to explore the stately grounds and adjoining castle. Meticulous is the best word to describe the impeccably groomed grounds. A massive 2-story fitness and spa complex house the spa, a full 2nd floor Fitness Center, and a ground floor indoor heated full length pool that overlook the grounds through full length floor-to-ceiling glass walls - an amazing sight to behold from the exterior.

The grounds themselves host a croquet course, a magnificent maze, and to one side - the 800-year old remnants of the original Castlemartyr castle built by the Knights Templar. Before we bid farewell to magnificent Castlemartyr Justin and Jay indulge in one last pint at Knights Bar and paid a final visit to the lovely mares.

But we did not even get off the property before we came upon the Natural Retreats, which are apartment-like homes on the grounds. There, Cameron experienced his first teeter-top, content until a lady drove a carriage in our vicinity. While she was simply giving the horse exercise she graciously offered for Katie and Cameron to hop on the carriage for a spin around the area. What a generous gesture, and experience for young Cameron, who petted his new friend Bob, after. These are the memories and experiences that stay with us a lifetime, long after the price and inconveniences of delayed flights depart our minds. That's why we travel!

The Elm Tree in nearby Glounthaune, Cork came highly recommended more than once. So we enjoyed a late lunch that was not only wonderfully delicious, but filled our bellies enough that it served the dual purpose of dinner as well. And oh by the way, we felt we received a fabulous value for what we were served and the warm contemporary atmosphere.

Having slept in due to two long days that blended into one, and exploring Castlemartyr in depth we were time challenged to explore Killarney National Park as planned en route to Killarney. That means an early start tomorrow for double duty. So off to the Killarney Holiday Inn. It sits only a few walkable block from the center of bustling Killarney, a hub for the many attractions we will see tomorrow.

We did however indulge in the Killarney nightlife at The Porterhouse for a few pints of Hop House 13 Lager and some outstanding live Irish music. Very fun and authentic experience.

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