The term "Full Irish Breakfast" is not to be taken lightly. Generous portions of eggs, sausage, toast, black and white pudding, potatoes, fish and fruit are necessary to match the energy with which our host, Kathleen, seems to greet every day.
Situated a 25-minute walk from Killarney Town, Kathleen's Country House (kathleens.net) somehow manages to pair quaintness with elegance. The building is deceptively large and beautifully furnished, with a front sunroom and library, but no hint of stuffiness or pretense. We're in town to perform street theatre, and Kathleen has jumped into a PR role, tirelessly making calls and even arranging for the "Lord Mayor" to greet us prior to watching the show, before she arranges our sightseeing for the day.
The whole town is just on the edge of Killarney National Park, at the landward side of the famously beautiful Ring of Kerry. Visiting the park, we ride in horse-driven "jaunting cars," following the banks of Lough Leane to the remnants of medieval Ross Castle. Our driver, a "jarvey" named Donald, points out Honeymoon Island in the lake. "Just enough room for two, no space for the mum-in-law," he explains over the clomping of the horse. Muckross Botanical Gardens is on the other side of the lake, and provides stunning views, strange flora and ample solitude.
The real treat is performing in a grassy spot among the trees in the park. We’re a mere 10-minute walk from High Street in town, where later a celebratory meal would be enjoyed with Dicin's savory seafood and pints at Courtney's and Danny Mann's. But we must survive the show first.
On the edge of the park, with the majestic Mcgillycuddy Reeks looming as a backdrop, we perform in the open air. The weather is kind to us: it is a rare sunny day in southern Ireland, and even the small children sit attentively, laughing heartily at our Shakespeare derivation, “The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the Weaver.”
In true form, we pass a hat at the end and collect some 28 dollars, to be donated to the nearby coffee shop which raises funds for Down's syndrome. The money isn't much, but the experience is invaluable.