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Pocket Guide: Killarney
Among the most popular of Kerry’s many towns and villages, Killarney has plenty to offer visitors to the area, whether you’re travelling alone, with the family or in a group. From driving the Ring of Kerry and cycling through Killarney National Park to walking the 200km+ Kerry Way, Killarney is a hub of activity throughout the year, and a real gem in ‘The Kingdom’s’ crown.
Visit Ireland’s Oldest National Park
Established in 1932, Killarney National Park is the oldest national park in Ireland with over 25,000 acres just waiting to be explored. The park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to the famous Killarney Lakes, with Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake providing a scenic backdrop that attracts so many people to the park across the year.
Killarney National Park lies at the foot of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range, and home to Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil, which dominates the skyline at 1,038 metres. This mountain range has made Killarney a popular holiday destination for walking and hiking enthusiasts, with the town also being the start and end of the 200km+ Kerry Way Walk.
Other popular attractions within the park include the 19th-Century Muckross House, the 15th-Century Ross Castle, the 15th-Century Muckross Abbey, and the 7th-Century Innisfallen Abbey, which is located on Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane. Innisfallen Abbey is where one of Ireland’s most famous High Kings, Brian Boru, was educated. The stunning Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain is also a must see.
Things to Do in Killarney
When it comes to looking for activities in Killarney, there’s plenty of choice for visitors to the area, with Killarney Golf Club providing a challenging round for golfing fans. The town itself has plenty of pubs and restaurants to choose from should you be looking for a memorable social experience, with Main Street and High Street worth checking out.
Killarney is a popular destination for an Irish cycling holiday, with Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe all providing accessible routes for all abilities. These routes will also provide you with some of the most breath-taking scenery in Ireland, as you explore the lakes, valleys and coastline that make Killarney, and Kerry, such a popular holiday destination.
Drive the Famous Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 180km-long driving loop through Kerry, with Killarney being a great base to explore the area. The popular driving route takes you through some of the most popular towns in the county including Kenmare, Sneem, Portmagee and Killorglin.
This drive will pass the picturesque Valentia Islands, and gives you the opportunity to visit one of Ireland’s most famous islands (and monastic sites), the UNESCO Heritage Site of Skellig Michael. The Ring of Kerry will also present you with the opportunity to relax at some of Ireland’s best beaches, while two of Ireland’s top surfing destinations, Inch Beach and Banna Beach, are less than 40 minutes by car from Killarney.
Hotels in Killarney
From lakeside hotels to spa hotels to budget family-friendly hotels to bed and breakfasts, Killarney has something to suit all budgets. While the town can be very busy during the summer months, it is a popular holiday destination throughout the year thanks to many food, music and cultural festivals that take place in the town and the surrounding area. A great base for exploring Kerry and the South West of Ireland, you’ll be sure to have a great time when visiting Killarney.