The enticing resort of Killarney set on the doorstep of Ireland’s finest Lakeland scenery has been an ever more popular getaway since the eighteenth century and Killarney and Kerry in particular have become the southwest’s premier getaway.
Today the town is awash with organised tours, souvenir shops and restaurants. Though maybe not to everyone’s taste, the main attractions have remained the same for 300 years.
Among the many things to do in Killarney are Killarney National Park , encompassing the 3 lakes, Leane (Lower), Muckross (Middle) and Upper, is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. The landscape is dotted with ruined castles, abbeys and dramatic mountain passes such as the popular walking route at the Gap of Dunloe. The unspoiled forest is home to mammals such as red deer, otters, pine martin, red squirrels and Irish hare, and over 140 bird species including the hen harrier and peregrine falcon roam freely. The subtle shifts of light over the lakes and waterfalls have captivated many people and inspired artists and writers for centuries. Within the National Park boundaries is Muckross House, an Elizabethan style mansion comprising the National Park visitor centre, a good place to begin your visit.
Killarney and Kerry have an abundance of places to stay ranging from campsites, backpacker hostels and B&B’s to upmarket lakeside hotels. For those with no transport there are all manner of things to do in Killarney to suit everyone’s needs.
Aside from the National Park, the town also houses a few interesting churches and architecture, but is really used as a base to explore from. Killarney revolves around festivals such as Summerfest and the Rally of the Lakes, when the town loses some of its tranquillity, but gains an injection of life.
Another of the very popular things to do in Killarney is a tour around the Ring of Kerry. The loop explores a 175 kilometre road that can be driven or in feeling adventurous, walked from Killarney. On the way expect to pore over panoramic views including dramatic mountains, long ocean views and lakes, which may encourage you to stay in one of the small towns on route, some of which still speak Gaelic.
Completing our list of things to do in Killarney is an excursion to Valentia Island, separated by a long causeway which has now been bridged. Only 11 kilometres long, but noted for its seascapes, water sports, archaeological sites and trips to the nearby Skellig Islands. The main village, Knightstown offers accommodation and lively pubs with regular entertainment.