View towards the Muckross Peninsula from Torc Waterfall c. 1842
This cache is located beside a beautiful secluded beach which is named after Elizabeth Rose Vincent (born 15th January 1915), who was affectionately known as Rosie by her parents, Arthur and Maud Rose Vincent, owners of the Muckross Estate from 1911 until 1932. This was one of young Rosie’s favourite places.
Following the sad death of Maud from pneumonia in 1929, Arthur Rose Vincent, along with Maud’s father William Bowers Bourn, decided to donate the entire Estate to the nation and on 1st January 1933 the state took possession of the “Bourn Vincent Memorial Park”, forerunner of Killarney National Park.
Muckross peninsula has always been popular with visitors - writing in 1775, Arthur Young describes the scenery close to the cache site:
“…[the shoreline] forms a scene, consisting of but few parts, but those strongly marked: the rocks are bold, and broken into slight caverns; they are fringed with scattered trees, and from many parts of them wood shoots in that romantic manner so common at Killarney. Full in front Turk [SIC] mountain rises with the proudest outline, in that abrupt magnificence which fills up the whole space before one, and closes the scene”.
In their book “A Week At Killarney” (1865) Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Hall write:
“Torc Lake should be more visited than it is; the rocks here are the most beautiful anywhere and are perforated in all possible ways. There is but one island, the Devil’s Island. There are otters in the Devil’s Island. In fact, a row around Torc Lake may be a rare treat for a long summer evening; landing occasionally, to walk among the woods of Mucross, but more especially with a view to examine the singular formations of the limestone rocks”.
Across the lake from the cache, the steep face of Torc mountain forms part of a major geological boundary separating the mountains (comprising of old red sandstone) from the limestone lowlands referred to above, and the deepest point on any of Killarney’s lakes is found opposite the cache where the face plunges to a depth of over 225 feet.
Sandstone boulders dotted around the Muckross peninsula are ‘erratics’ which were deposited on top of the limestone by melting glaciers after being transported from the upper Killarney valley. This is also the origin of the sand forming the beach.
Yew trees such as those close to the cache are often found growing on areas of limestone, and Reenadinna Yew Wood (which you may pass en route to the cache) is one of the most extensive and ecologically important areas of yew woodland in Europe.
If you decide to continue westwards along the Muckross peninsula you will cross the geological boundary from limestone to sandstone shortly before reaching Bricín Bridge. As you cross the transition the soil becomes much more acidic and yew and hazel trees give way to oakwoods.
Devil’s Island (referred to by Mr. and Mrs. Hall above) is visible from near the far end of the beach and is also known as the ‘Devil’s Spit’ – legend has it that the Devil took a bite out of Torc Mountain (known as the Devil’s Bit) and spat it into the lake!
At the far end of the lake you should be able to see Dinis Cottage, which was originally constructed by Henry Herbert (original owner of Muckross House) as a hunting lodge. It is now operated as a seasonal tea room and is well worth a visit if you have the chance.
The most convenient route to the cache is to follow the main Muckross Lake circuit track (which is a good quality surfaced track open to walkers and cyclists) before branching off at the waypoint given below and following the woodland path from there.
Cyclists should note that there is a one-way anti-clockwise system in place on the main track – it is forbidden to cycle this track in a clockwise direction.
For walkers the most convenient option is to park at the main Muckross House car park and walk from there - 30 minutes one-way. This car park is closed in the evenings however - in this case your best bet is to park at one of several lay-bys on the N71 Killarney to Moll's Gap road.
If you have time there is a lovely lakeshore/clifftop track which can be taken as an alternative to the main track on your way out or back (not suitable for cyclists). An additional waypoint for a fine viewing point on this track is given below.
The full circuit of the lake on the main track is 10km, which is a worthwhile activity in itself for cyclists, or walkers with a couple of hours to spare, and can be linked with a visit to Killarney Lakes Series #2 cache "Meeting Place".
This cache is suitable for children, however close supervision will be necessary as you approach the cache due to deep water and rocky outcrops.