After your delicious full Irish breakfast at the International Hotel, a short five-minute drive will bring you to the breath-taking Ross Castle. This 15th Century imposing structure sits on the edge of Killarney’s Lower Lake, and was built by O’Donoghue Mór Chieftains. The structure itself consists of a tower house surrounded by tall standing walls with more round towers. It later came under the ownership of the Browne family who became the Earls of Kenmare and owned a substantial part of the lands now comprising Killarney National Park.
A legendary prophecy predicted that Ross Castle would only ever been taken by an attack by water. So, taking advantage of this, Cromwell’s General Ludlow had a large boat launched in the Lower Lake. Seeing the fulfilment of the prophecy, the defenders immediately surrendered. Legend has it that O’Donoghue himself still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. Every seven years, on the first morning of May, he arises from his slumber and circles the lake on his magnificent white horse. Anyone lucky enough to catch a glimpse is gifted with good fortune for the rest of their lives.
While visiting Ross Castle, why not catch the Water boat out to the quiet little island of Innisfallen. On this island lies a quaint 7th century monastery. It is rumoured that the Irish King and Emperor of Scots, Brian Boru studied here. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Annal of Innisfallen (a major account of early Irish history) were written here, and now reside in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.
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