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Things to do in Killarney

Things to do in  Killarney

Welcome to Killarney

Tucked away in Ireland’s southwest corner, Killarney is the last major outpost before reaching the Emerald Isle’s Wild Atlantic Way. Despite its small size, the city sees a fair amount of traffic thanks to its strategic location at the starting point for the Ring of Kerry, a scenic drive that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula, taking in the highlights of County Kerry. While a host of leprechaun-themed souvenir shops and hotels have sprung up to satisfy the influx of travelers, Killarney remains unmistakably Irish, and a tour guide can offers a real insider’s perspective. It’s an ideal place to discover Ireland’s pub scene, tuck into a steaming bowl of Irish stew, or listen to some traditional Irish folk music. The area’s top attraction, Killarney National Park, lies just outside of town, boasting a trio of natural lakes overlooked by the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. In addition to hiking and biking adventures, visitors can enjoy kayaking and boat tours, marvel at natural wonders like the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall, and explore historic sites such as Muckross House and Ross Castle. Outside the city limits, there are ample opportunities for day trips, including Cork and Blarney Castle; the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head; and, of course, the Ring of Kerry.

Top 11 attractions in Killarney

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park, with idyllic lakes and ancient woodlands backed by the serrated MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, is an area of stunning natural beauty. The park is also historically significant, with two heritage buildings on-site: Ross Castle, a 15th-century fortress-turned-hotel, and Muckross House, a stately Victorian estate.More

Blarney Castle & Gardens

The famous Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle & Gardens is officially called the Stone of Eloquence, with a legend that states if you kiss the stone, you will never be at a loss for words. People travel from all over the world to kiss this mystical stone, which can only be done by hanging upside down over a sheer drop from the castle's tower. In addition to the draw of the stone, the 600-year-old fortress also boasts an array of handsome gardens and several interesting rock formations known collectively as Rock Close and given whimsical names such as Wishing Steps and Witch's Cave. Take your turn to kiss the stone, but don't leave the castle without exploring the grounds a bit too.More

Ross Castle

A vision on the shores of Lough Leane, the 15th-century Ross Castle was built as a medieval fortress for an Irish chieftain named O’Donoghue, and was said to be one of the last strongholds to fall to the brutal English Cromwellian forces in the mid-16th century. The ruin has been restored, and features lovely 16th- and 17th-century furniture.More

Gap of Dunloe (Bearna an Choimín)

The lake-studded glacial valley known as the Gap of Dunloe (Bearna an Choimín) is wedged between County Kerry’s Purple Mountain and MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. The rugged natural scenery along the 7-mile (11-kilometer) paved mountain pass made it a magnet for sublime-seeking, 19th-century, Romantic writers such as William Thackeray and Alfred Lord Tennyson, who waxed lyrical about its beauty. Despite its popularity, the landscape remains as unspoiled as ever.More

Torc Waterfall

Experience the natural beauty of County Kerry with a visit to the Torc Waterfall. Located a short walk from the Killarney–Kenmare road, in Killarney National Park, Torc Waterfall is part of the River Owengariff and flows into Muckross (Middle) Lake. The site is a popular spot on the area’s scenic drives and hiking routes.More

Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

One of Ireland’s finest stately mansions, the 65-room Muckross House was built for the Herbert family in 1843. Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms sits on the shores of Muckross Lake and is replete with period furnishings and decorative objectives. Three recreated farms on the estate showcase the life of rural dwellers in the 1930s and ’40s.More

Ladies View

This scenic lookout takes its name from Queen Victoria and her ladies-in-waiting, who were bowled over by the views when they visited here in 1861. These days, the vista remains as spectacular as back then, with visitors lingering at the lookout to soak up the magnificent lake and peak landscapes of Killarney National Park.More

Muckross Abbey

Founded in the 1440s as a Franciscan Friary, the Muckross Abbey, like many religious sites in Ireland, has a long and violent past. Damaged and rebuilt several times, what remains is an intriguing collection of well-preserved mossy ruins. Visitors are drawn to the beloved yew tree, thought to be more than 500 years old, that grows within the Abbey walls.More

Skellig Michael

Famously used as a filming location in theStar Wars sequel trilogy, the rocky peak of Skellig Michael sits amid the wind-whipped Atlantic off the southwest coast of Ireland, reaching a height of 712 feet (217 meters). A former hideaway for hermit monks between the sixth and 12th centuries, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is now uninhabited, though the remnants of the old monastic settlement, including historic beehive huts, are still scattered across the island.More

Gougane Barra

When strolling through the trees of the Gougana Barra National Forest Park, and gazing out at the placid waters of Gougana Barra’s lake, you can see why this corner of southwestern Ireland was a place of historical solace. It was here on the island in the middle of the lake, that St. Finnbar—patron saint of Cork—founded a monastery in the 6th century before eventually moving to Cork. When visiting the Gougane Barra today, the most popular site is St. Finnbar’s Oratory on a small island in the lake. With its romantically elegant stone design, this 19th-century, picturesque church is a popular spot for weddings, and it’s also a holy pilgrimage site—where Roman Catholics would hold secret Mass away from the Anglican Church. Behind the lake is the National Forest Park and its system of hiking and biking trails, which pass through woods that are densely forested in Sitka Spruce and Pine. This is also the site of the River Lee—which meanders its way through Cork—and while Gougane Barra is most often visited as a relaxing day trip from Cork, there’s also a small, family-run hotel that’s open from April-October.More

Aghadoe Cathedral (Aghadoe Church and Round Tower)

A historic landmark outside of Killarney, the Aghadoe Cathedral (Aghadoe Church and Round Tower) sits atop Aghadoe Hill. There has been a monastery on the site dating back to the 7th century, but the current ruins date to the 12th. Come for the mountain and lake views, and take advantage of the few on-site benches, ideal for warm-weather picnics.More
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Trip ideas

Gap of Dunloe Tours from Killarney

Gap of Dunloe Tours from Killarney

How to Spend 3 Days in Killarney

How to Spend 3 Days in Killarney

Top activities in Killarney

Private Tour:Ring of Kerry,Kerry Cliffs, starting in (from) Killarney
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Ring of Kerry Private Tour from Killarney

Ring of Kerry Private Tour from Killarney

per group
Killarney National Park Tour

Killarney National Park Tour

Ring Of Kerry Tour

Ring Of Kerry Tour

The Classic Ring of Kerry Tour

The Classic Ring of Kerry Tour

per group
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People Also Ask

What is Killarney famous for?

The town in the southwest of Ireland is famous for Killarney National Park. In addition to the scenic lakes, mountains, and forests of the national park, Killarney is near other landmarks including the Torc Waterfall, Killarney Brewing Company, and the Muckross Abbey historic site.

What is there to do in Killarney on a wet day?

On a wet day in Killarney, there are several indoor attractions to explore. Check out Muckross House, St. Mary’s Cathedral, or Ross Castle. Note that locals don’t let weather interrupt their plans—pack a waterproof jacket and shoes, and a wet day won’t stop you exploring Killarney National Park.

Does Killarney have a beach?

No. The town of Killarney does not have a beach. Killarney National Park is home to several lakes with scenic lakeshores that are nice for sunbathing in good weather. Killarney is located in County Kerry, which does offer beautiful beaches, including Dooks Beach, Inch Beach, and Rossbeigh Beach.

Is Killarney worth visiting?

Yes. Killarney is worth visiting. Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland and is home to the dramatic scenery for which County Kerry is famous. Don’t miss the Torc Waterfall and Muckross Abbey historic site. Sample local flavors at Killarney Brewing Company.

What is there to do in Killarney at night?

Killarney is known for its nightlife. This town in County Kerry is a great place to experience Ireland’s famous pub culture, including live music. In addition to traditional pubs, Killarney also offers a comedy club and nightclubs with dancing. Nightlife is especially bustling in summer.

What can you do for free in Killarney?

Killarney National Park is free to visit. Many visitors hike, bike, take photographs, or picnic in the national park. Other free attractions near the town of Killarney include Torc Waterfall and Muckross Abbey. A drive along the nearby Ring of Kerry is another scenic, free thing to do.


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