Guide to Killarney
Killarney‘s picturesque setting is reminiscent of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel backdrop with towering peaks, spectacular mountain passes, ancient castles, enchanting lakes and ancient moss-covered oak forests. It’s no surprise then that Killarney remains one of the top destinations for visitors to Ireland. With the growing demand for activity based holidays including trekking, walking and cycling, this is set to continue.
Killarney has a well developed tourism infrastructure while locals have a 250 year old tradition of making guests feel welcome. There are a dizzying range of restaurants to dine out in, pubs to relax in and accommodation to choose from. The people of Kerry are well known for their natural hospitality and relaxed approach to life. Of course, booking a B&B guesthouse is one of the best ways to truly experience the local culture firsthand. The good news is there are no shortage of B&B guesthouses in Killarney but it’s a good idea to book in advance, especially if traveling during the high season when demand for accommodation can be quite high.
No matter what the weather, a trip to Killarney means getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air and stunning scenery. Bike hire is available from O’Sullivan Cycles on Lower New Street while Killarney Riding Stables is professionally run and good fun! Killarney is also a popular holiday destination with golfers, boasting five 18 hole courses.
Killarney National Park is a walkers’ paradise for everybody from strollers to adventurous hikers with 26,000 acres to roam in to your heart’s content. The Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range includes Ireland highest mountain, Carrauntoohill. Many of Killarney’s B&B guest homes specifically cater for the outdoor enthusiast, providing maps, packed lunches and drying facilities.
A more leisurely way to tour all the local ‘beauty spots’ is by traditional style horsedrawn ‘jaunting car‘ in the company of a 'Jarvey' (driver and guide), who will keep you well entertained with stories.Muckross House is a must visit on any visit to Killarney with its beautiful gardens and craft workshops. A popular hike leads from Muckross House up to Torc Mountain, where stunning waterfalls, giant ferns and moss-clad oak trees await. If there any ‘wee fairy folk’ still residing in Ireland, the chances are they are hanging out here!
Another special trip is to cycle or take a jaunting car up to Kate Kearney’s Cottage at the foot of the spectacular Gap of Dunloe. This 150 year old family-run-establishment still provides traditional hospitality, food, beer and music to weary travellers. Visitors can then pass through the Gap of Dunloe by walking, cycling or jaunting car and then take a boat trip back through the Lakes of Killarney. Ross Castle provides a picture postcard backdrop on the shores of Lough Leane. This ancient home of the O’Donaghue Clan is open to visitors and steeped in myths and legends. Killarney is also the most popular base for touring Ireland’s South West and provides a start and finish point for the famous Ring Of Kerry scenic tour and the Dingle Peninsula
Killarney also knows how to cater for relaxation and entertainment options at the end of a busy day’s touring. There is a choice of four Health and Beauty Spas in and around the town to pamper yourself. The 2,200 seater INEC Centre hosts international music artists, comedians and more intimate Irish traditional style concerts while one of Killarney’s most popular festivals remains the Summerfest, held every July.