People have been escaping to Killarney – in the ancient Kingdom of Kerry – for over 250 years. They come for the legendary beauty: the lakes, waterfalls, mountain peaks and heartstopping views. And they come for the craic agus ceol: the good times and the banter, the pubs, live music, and easy Irish charm. Queen Victoria visited and fell in love with it. Poets and songwriters have waxed lyrical about it. It’s known as “the home of the traditional Irish welcome”, because this is where Irish tourism began. “Beauty’s home, Killarney” (as the song goes) is in Ireland’s first National Park, where the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks - includes Irelands highest mountain - rising high above three gorgeous glacial lakes. Ireland’s only herd of native red deer roam wild here in ancient woods of oak and yew. Rare white-tailed sea eagles drift overhead.
The town is on the north-east shore of the largest of the three Lakes of Killarney – Lough Leane, or Lake of Learning – where the medieval monks of Innisfallen recorded the earliest history of Ireland. Killarney makes it easy to enjoy nature – to be as active or as laid-back as you choose. There are easy strolls and challenging hikes, trips and tours, bike hires and boat rides. Traditional horse-drawn jaunting cars – with their drivers known as “jarveys” – wait in the centre of town to take visitors into the National Park. You can take a jaunting car through the hauntingly beautiful mountain pass, the Gap of Dunloe. The boat trip across the three lakes is a magical experience.
And Killarney’s a great base for exploring South West Ireland’s three wild Atlantic peninsulas – Dingle, Beara and Iveragh – and the world-famous Ring of Kerry. Back in town, the streets are a hive of activity, full of life … Irish through and through. Everything’s geared towards making sure you have a great time.No wonder, when you say “Killarney” to an Irish person, they’ll start to smile.
Some 'must see' attractions around killarney
GAP OF DUNLOE & KATE KEARNEY'S COTTAGE
T. 064 6644 146 www.katekearneyscottage.com
A breathtaking passage in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the Gap of Dunloe was formed 2 million years ago by glacial movements. A popular and exciting form of transport through the narrow pass is by horse-drawn pony and trap.
Muckross House – National Park, Killarney. T. 064 667 0144 – www.muckross-house.ie – is a magnificent Victorian Mansion, beautifully situated amidst the spectacular scenery of Killarney National Park. Elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyle of those who lived in the house in Victorian times. Entry is by guided tour only and admission applies. Check website for opening times and charges.
muckross traditional farm
Muckross Traditional Farms – National Park, Killarney. T. 064 667 0165 – www.muckross-house.ie – takes you for a stroll down memory lane to a time before the advent of electricity. Three separate working farms, with animals and traditional farm machinery. Children will love the farm petting area and playground. Admission applies, check website for opening times and charges.
Killarney national park
Killarney National Park – T. 064 663 1440 – www.killarneynationalpark.ie – Internationally renowned for its scenic beauty and scientific interest, Killarney National Park encompasses the three lakes of Killarney and the mountains and woods which surround them.
Torc Waterfall – N71 Muckross/Kenmare Road – www.killarneynationalpark.ie Where the Owengarriff River cascades through the wooded Friar’s Glen into Muckross Lake you will find Torc Waterfall. A pretty path winds to the top of this 18m high waterfall revealing views of Torc Mountain.
Muckross Abbey – Killarney – www.killarneynationalpark.ie – is a major ecclesiastical site situated in Killarney National Park. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan Friary by Donal McCarthy Mór and is in a remarkable state of preservation.
St mary's cathedral
Saint Mary’s Cathedral – Cathedral Place, Killarney. T. 064 6631 014 – www.dioceseofkerry.ie – was designed by Augustus Pugin and constructed in the gothic style. The overall plan was for a rugged exterior and a smooth light filled interior. It was consecrated in 1855 and extensively renovated in the 1970s. Open daily – check website for times.
Ross Castle Killarney. T. 064 663 5851 www.heritageireland.ie
A restored 15th century castle which now houses a fine collection of 16th and 17th century oak furniture. The castle is surrounded by a fortified bawn, curtain wall and two circular flanking towers. Admission applies, check website for opening times and charges.
Ladies View – www.killarneynationalpark.ie – this traditional and spectacular lookout in the heart of Killarney National Park takes its name from the admiration of the marvellous panoramic view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit to the area. Access available year round.
innisfallen island, lough lein
Innisfallen Island – Lough Lein – www.killarneynationalpark.ie – A monastery was founded on Innisfallen in the 7th century and it is said that King Brian Boru studied there. On the island are the remains of the extensive 12th century Augustinian priory and a small 11th century Romanesque church. The annals of Innisfallen, a major source of early Irish history were written there. For access and details of boat trips to the island contact the Killarney Discover Ireland Centre Telephone: 064 6631633
dinis cottage, killarney national park
Dating back to the 1700s, it has been beautifully restored and operates as a tea room. The Old Weir Bridge and the Meeting of the Waters are within walking distance of the cottage. Check website for opening times. Admission free. T. 064 6630085 www.killarneynationalpark.ie
RING OF KERRY
A wonderful adventure awaits you and yours in one of the most glorious regions of Ireland this season. Experience the raw beauty of the south on one of the country’s famously scenic routes. Beginning and ending in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry traces the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. The combination of ocean, islands and mountains with so many picturesque villages makes a trip to Kerry an exciting journey of discovery, whatever the weather. From golfing, equestrian, fishing, boat tours, horse racing, swimming, pet farms to name but a few, make a break for it with a getaway in magical County Kerry where you won’t be disappointed from what’s on offer… there is something for everyone to enjoy…
ACTIVITIES & Fun stuff for all....
Killarney Historic Town Walk – Discover Ireland Centre, Beech Road, Killarney. T. +353 64 6631633 Killarney Town Trail is a 2 hour self-guided walking trail starting at the Tourist Office. The tourist trail is a sign posted walking tour through the most historic parts of the town. Full information available from the Tourist Information Office.
Old Boathouse Nature Trail – The shortest of all Killarney National Park’s Nature Trails. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and is located close to Muckross House and Gardens. It covers the Dundag Peninsula which offers and excellent panorama of the mountains and the middle lake.
The Blue Pool Nature Trail – is Cloghereen Wood close to Muckross village goes through woodlands planted with a great variety of coniferous and deciduous trees and is inhabited by many birds and other animals. The trail goes around a small lake, a part of which is the beautiful Blue Pool after which the trail is named. The Trail is almost 2km long. A section of the trail is suitable for the visually impaired.
Nature Trails – Self guided nature trails are an excellent way for visitors to explore the National Park. There are three trails in the Killarney National Park.
The Kerry Way – Discover Ireland Centre, Beech Road, Killarney.
T. +353 64 6631633 The Iveragh contains the Killarney Lakes with their mountainous backgrounds, the most famously picturesque landscapes in Ireland since tourism began in the late seventeen hundreds. The main mountain group on the peninsula, called the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, contains the highest summits in Ireland, Carrauntoohil at 1038m , Beenkeragh Mountain which is 1,010 metres high and Caher at 1001m. The Kerry Way, the longest of the Irish Waymarked Trails, is a circular route that circumnavigates the peninsula, starting and finishing in Killarney, and also passing through fine Kerry towns such as Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare. The landscape the route passes through is very varied, from the lakes of Killarney to high and remote mountain moorland: Carrauntoohil and Caher tower over the route west of Black Valley and the return leg passes along the startlingly contrasting semi-tropical, palm-treed south coast. Terrain consists mainly of quiet tarmac roads, open moorland, woodland and field paths and boreens. Some sections of the open moorland can be very isolated, and off-road sections can often be very wet and muddy. Aggregate ascent over the whole route is about 5400m, and there are some sustained and quite steep climbs. The highest point on the Way is 385m above sea-level, at Windy Gap between Glenmore and Caherdaniel.There are some long stretches between overnight accommodation possibilities and cash machine facilities, and walkers should plan their days carefully to take these into consideration: public transport options are very good.
Arthur Young’s Walk – This is a 4km circular trail starting from Muckross House. It traverses fine natural yew-woods and oak woods frequented by Sika Deer, and meanders along an old road known to visitors 200 years ago, and passes the old copper mines on the Muckross Peninsula.
Ring of Kerry Cycle Route – The Ring of Kerry Route passes through some of the most beautiful countryside to be found in all of Ireland. The entire journey is signposted remember that some sections of the route are high and exposed. Even in the summer months please take note of the weather forecast and take suitable clothing and supplies.
Entertainment in Killarney is varied and offers something for everybody. The range available is quite large and even the most discerning visitor will find something to his liking. In fact, in a recent survey, conducted by Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board), visitors expressed great satisfaction with the range of night entertainment offered.
KILLARNEY SHUTLLE BUS
Killarney Shuttle Bus.com – T. +353 (0)87 138 4384 –
“The Shuttle bus departs throughout the Day at Tesco opposite the Discover Ireland Tourist office. The shuttle stops at Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Torc Waterfall. Every day at 12.30pm the Shuttle departs the Tourist office and goes to Ladies View this is a spectacular return tour through the oldest part of the National park and is comparable to driving through the Lake Districts of England A must for any visitor. Twice a day the Shuttle goes to the Gap of Dunloe once in the morning and again in the afternoon”