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A Celebration and a Resource
for the Irish Pub Community

Resting on our Laurels

By David McBride

"Some say the Devil is dead and he’s buried in Killarney                 
                 .  .  .  More say he rose again, and joined the British Army!"
                                                                                          - From the song by Derek Warffounding member of The Wolfe Tones

Killarney as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Killarney as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Killarney, Ireland

I have been singing that song, either on stage or from a barstool, for as long as I can recall.  Even as a child, I remember gleefully singing that refrain.  It’s certainly a catchy tune, and a memorable lyric.

I never really thought about it’s meaning much, to be honest.  Even in my childhood years I had little difficulty understanding what was meant by the Devil joining the British Army.  A few Irish folk songs in a crowded pub are all it takes to pick up that reference. 

But why would he be buried in Killarney?  Not knowing even the slightest bit about the town, other than it probably was in Ireland, I just assumed it was either a rough and tumble place where the devil would be forced to his grave, or a remote and desolate area where such a crypt could never be discovered.  Well, I came to find that Killarney is neither of those things and both of them at the same time. 

The Laurels in Killarney, Ireland ass seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
The Laurels Pub in Killarney, Ireland

Horse and wagon in Killarney, Ireland as seen on PartingGlassMedia.com
Killarney offers traditional Irish charm and scenic panoramas off  the beaten tourist track

Killarney Park in County Kerry, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Killarney Park

Okay, maybe it’s not all that remote.  It is one of the Republic’s most popular and crowded tourist destinations.  But Killarney is at the center of some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery.

Set in County Kerry, the town of Killarney is the beneficiary of some simply breathtaking countryside.  Just outside the city limits lie the Lakes of Killarney and the Killarney National Park.  You will fin three spectacular lakes, along with mountains, waterfalls, bogs and woods that are all a part of this enchanting place.  Step off the beaten path and you may feel like you have slipped back in time.

Killarney is also a popular jumping off point to explore the renowned Ring Of Kerry, a scenic roadway that circles the Kerry Peninsula.  This is a full day excursion that requires motorized transportation and some often hair-raising navigation, but it is most definitely worth it.  If you have ever wondered why so many songs have been written praising the beauty of the Emerald Isle you needn’t look any further than the Ring of Kerry.

Along the way you will stop at some fascinating places.  The Kerry Bog Village, recreating 18th Century rural Ireland, may border on kitschy, but the smell of the turf fires and seeing the thatched huts gives you a perspective of the rural Ireland that is still influential force even in today’s modern society.

The bar at The Laurels Pub in Killarney, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
The bar is welcoming and comfortable

The bar at The Laurels in Killarney, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Casual yet elegamt

Dining are at The Laurels Pub in Killarney, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Prefer a table?

Enjoy a visit to the sublime Ring of Kerry

 Stop off at Kerry Bog Village

The town Cahersiveen is one of those places you can easily miss.  But once you start to explore it and the surrounding harbor, it reveals an enchanting history.  The birthplace of Daniel O’Connell, Ireland’s Great Liberator, sits in ruins hidden along the roadside.  There is gorgeous statue commemorating the Voyage of St. Brendan, a sixth century monk who just may have sailed all the way to North America in a vessel that hardly looks luxurious.  Our tour guide even spun a yarn that John Paul Jones may have frequented the nearby island of Valentia, but that man spun a lot of yarns.

Travel a little further down the road and you come across Waterville.  This incredible seaside town was the favorite vacation spot for Bing Crosby and Charlie Chaplin, and it’s not hard to see why.  It is perhaps the most beautiful town I have ever laid eyes on.  The mountains and the ocean mesmerize you and make you want to take up a permanent residence.  Just along the shoreline, the town erected a statue to Mister Chaplin.  He stands in full Chaplin-esque attire, surrounded by tourists posing for photographs, looking like Waterville’s ambassador to the world.  This is the type of place you promise yourself you will come back to.

Along the way you will find scenery so overwhelming it can be difficult to explain in words or even capture on film.  For instance, there is a place I believe is called Beenarourke Pass that is absolutely moving.  There is a small parking lot there to stop and walk around for a while.  It is the top of a mountain looking down on Ireland behind you and the Atlantic Ocean in front.  A comforting and beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary watches over the scene.  Being here, it is easy to imagine someone looking out on the ocean, praying that his or her relatives, fleeing the famine or the crown, arrive in safely in America.

Saint Brendan commemorative statue near Cahersiveen, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMdedia.com
Saint Brendan Commemorative Statue

Cross near Waterville in Kerry, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Near Waterville

Killarney isn’t exactly rough and tumble either, but there certainly is a side to Killarney the devil might enjoy.  Like I mentioned earlier, Killarney is a very popular tourist spot.  It can be crowded with people from all over the world who are here to see Ireland’s beauty by day and its world-famous pubs at night, and Killarney has no shortage of pubs to accommodate this demand.  There are pubs quite literally everywhere and as far as the eye can see.  But in Killarney there is really one place everyone needs to try, The Laurels.

The Laurels
is in it self a microcosm of the Killarney of my memory.  It is an ancient and beautiful place full of charm and inspiration.  Get a seat at the bar sometime in the mid-afternoon and I promise you will look up a few hours later and not realize the sun had already set.  Like all great pubs in Ireland, the help is friendly and the clientele is a mixture of enthusiastic tourists and welcoming locals. 

But when the sun goes down,
The Laurels turns into a raucous place, where perfect pints flow like the tides of Dingle Bay and the “craic” raises the roof.  If you’re lucky, you will stop in when the Kerry Football team is playing, for that is when the locals take back their pub and put on a display of pride fitting for such a grand county.

Taking in the natural splendors and inspirational history of the Ring of Kerry can be an exhausting and exhilarating experience.  For me, I really needed a place to unwind my head and let it all process. 
The Laurels provided the perfect setting for just that.  The Ring of Kerry can be somewhat surreal, but a great pint and rowdy Gaelic Football match is just what the doctor ordered to bring me back to the real world.

Sign at The Laurels Pub in Killarney, Ireland as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

The Laurels Pub

Main Street

Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland

+353 (0)64 31149



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