As anybody living with teenagers knows, summer can be a fraught and testing time. Throw in a mother who works from home and a teenager with Asperger’s, and you have all the ingredients for a really violent soap. Not wanting to put the already stretched local Gardai under any additional pressure, I have decided to defuse the situation by taking said teenager on a weekly hike.
The middle child is not known for his athletic zeal, but to give him his due, he has accepted his mother’s diktat with very little protest. He has also used the opportunity to address the serious gaps in my knowledge of Christopher Nolan’s filmography. Torc mountain and Killarney National Park’s Red Trail (a.k.a. Cardiac Hill) were the venues for updates on The Dark Knight, Memento, and Interstellar. Last week we covered Inception and The Prestige while hiking through Tomies wood.
Just off the Ring of Kerry road between Killarney and Killorglin, the Tomies wood walk is a manageable 9km loop that rises gradually from an elevation of about 33 metres to 93 metres, but it is relatively flat once you’ve completed the initial climb. The views over Lough Lein are stunning, and it is the place you are most likely to see white-tailed eagles in Killarney (or so I kept telling said teenager). It was pretty cloudy when we walked it, so much of the view is a bit like a photo from the old days (you know, when we used actual film) with half the image missing.
What I love most about this walk, however, is the waterfall. You could cheat and just do a tiny bit of the walk to see the waterfall, but I am the kind of mother who insists on bread and butter before cake, so we did the loop in such a way that we had most of the trail behind us before we took the detour to the cascade. Now, anybody who has ever visited Killarney knows that water is something we are very good at. From the great mats of clouds that flop down from the skies without warning to the gentle mists that give hair that fetching, just-electrocuted look, we are immersed in H2O—but one of the things it’s really good for is carpeting the landscape in green velvet, with lakes, rivers, and waterfalls bursting through the seams.
Torc Waterfall serves as a backdrop to many a holiday snap, but O’Sullivan’s Cascade in Tomies wood is not so well known. It should be, but I’m glad it’s not. The teenager appears to agree: When I asked him which he preferred, Torc Waterfall or O’Sullivan’s Cascade, he did not hesitate.
“O’Sullivan’s Cascade because there’s nobody there.” That’s my boy.