Tourist’s guide to Killarney – City and National Park in Ireland

Killarney, Ireland is a small town located in the scenic area of ​​the Emerald Isle. Here, high mountain passes are combined with bottomless lakes, and unique natural beauties compete with the creations of human hands.

Killarney, Ireland

Killarney City – General Information

Killarney is a small town located in the southwest of Ireland in the county of Kerry. Its population is about 15 thousand people, but even in the most non-tourist season of the year there are two tourists for one local resident. And this is understandable – almost all year round there are various holidays, fairs, festivals and sporting events.

Killarney City

And Killarney is famous for a huge number of museums, historical monuments, medieval castles, ancient abbeys and churches. Among them can be noted the Cathedral of St. Mary, decorated with ancient frescoes, a monument to four poets, installed on the main city square, and the parish Protestant church, the walls of which are covered with centuries-old ivy. What is curious, with such a wide variety of attractions, the city remains surprisingly quiet and peaceful – there is never any fuss and crowds.

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Killarney’s main wealth is beautiful, breathtaking nature. It is from here that two of the most popular tourist routes start right away – along the famous “Ring of Kerry” and Killarney National Park. On a virtual journey through the latter, we are now going!

Killarney National Park – Pride of the Emerald Isle

Killarney National Park in Ireland, located not far from the town of the same name, occupies more than 10 thousand hectares of pristine land. The history of the main and perhaps the largest Irish attraction began with the construction of a family estate owned by Senator Arthur Vincent. For mass visits, it opened only in 1933 – after the senator transferred the estate to the public. After another 50 years, Killarney National Park was awarded the title of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Since then, it has become a favorite vacation spot not only for local residents, but also for “overseas” guests.

Killarney National Park

The uniqueness of Killarney National Park is explained not only by picturesque views, but also by the huge number of rare wildlife specimens. Centuries-old oaks, rare strawberry trees, mosses, ferns, lichens, the Irish euphorbia, Gallia rockman and even a unique stretch of yew forest grow here (there are only 3 of them in Europe).

The fauna of the park deserves no less attention, the most prominent representatives of which are the red deer, peregrine falcon, badger, pine marten and red squirrel. Killarney lakes are famous for the abundance of trout, salmon, feint, trout and Arctic char. And it is worth raising your eyes to the sky, and you will immediately see a blackbird, a partridge, a white-fronted goose, a nest and a goat.

Deer in Killarney National Park

The heights in this area range from 21 to 841 meters, and the park itself is under the influence of the Gulf Stream, which has a positive effect on its climate. Cool summers and moderately cold winters contribute to the prosperity of various ecosystems, including gardens, bogs, heather fields, waterfalls, mountains, forests and, of course, lakes.

On a note! Various reservoirs occupy a quarter of the entire area, so boats in the park are almost the main means of transportation.

Across the entire National Park are scattered cute manors and lovely farm houses with friendly and attentive inhabitants. To travel around the area, you can rent a bicycle, hire a horse-drawn carriage, ride a mini-bass or ride a stocky Irish horse. But the greatest delight is a walk that allows you to feel the unique atmosphere and a good look at local attractions. By the way, there are so many of them that you will probably stay here for more than one day. Let’s get acquainted with the most famous.

Gan of Dunloe

In the photo of Killarney National Park in Ireland, you will surely see another attraction. We are talking about the famous Danlow Gorge, located in the eastern part of the city. The area formed by centuries-old glaciers is considered not only the most beautiful, but also the most extreme. There are almost no tourists here, so a quiet peaceful atmosphere reigns in the gorge.

Danlow Gorge
Muckross Abbey

Killarney National Park is known not only for natural, but also for historical treasures. These included the magnificent ruins of the monastery, which in the past served as a refuge for the Franciscans.

Macross Abbey

Macross Abbey was not luxurious even in the best times of its existence, and over the past couple of centuries it has completely lost its original appearance. Most of the exterior buildings are abandoned, and the interior has long been in need of restoration. Near the monastery walls there is an old cemetery, a fascinating view of moss-covered gravestones and rickety stone crosses.

At Macross Abbey

Special tours at Muckross Abbey are not organized, but you can always come here on your own. This is a great place to reflect on the meaning of life and the transience of being.

Torc Waterfall

There is another amazing miracle in the park – Torc Waterfall, the height of which is as much as 18 meters. It is located 7 km from the city and in the immediate vicinity of three lakes. It was there, at the foot of the mountain of the same name, a noisy mass of crystal water was thrown into the pool with rock fragments.

Torc Waterfall

The story of Tork is fanned with myths and legends. One of them tells the story of a young man who was under a terrible curse. During the day he remained a handsome guy, and with the advent of night he turned into a terrible boar. When people around him once revealed his secret, the young man became a fiery mass, rolled down the slope of Magherton and fell on the Devil’s Punch Bowl. From this, a deep fault was formed in the valley, and a waterfall appeared from the gushing water.

On a note! The most successful place to explore this natural site is Mount Tork. In the absence of clouds, from there you can see the opposite shore of Dingle Bay.

Macross House
Macross House

Farm Macross House is not in vain called the hallmark of the city of Killarney. The mansion, consisting of 45 living rooms, was built in 1843 for the family of a famous Irish artist. Visitors are amazed not only by the huge and rather beautiful territory on which the estate is located, but also by the indecently expensive decoration of its rooms. Rumor has it that once Queen Victoria herself visited the chambers of Macross House – now everyone can see them.

Garden Muckross House

No less attention should be paid to work areas, which previously housed kitchens, rooms for servants, cellars and pantries. The interior of these rooms allows you to better know the life of people in the “before” electric times. There are several modern lures at Macross House – a souvenir shop, a restaurant of Irish cuisine, as well as a weaving and ceramic workshop. However, the garden brought world fame to the garden, where rhododendrons bloom from the beginning of spring to mid-summer, and an arboretum with exotic trees.

Ross Castle
Castle Ross Castle

Among the architectural attractions of Killarney National Park, Ross Castle deserves special attention. The medieval castle, built in the 15th century, is located on the shores of Loch Lane. This is a classic fortification structure of ancient Ireland. In the center of the castle rises a giant 5-story tower, surrounded by thick walls with defensive loopholes in the corners. The entrance to the building is closed by a “multi-layer” protection, consisting of a metal grate, a strong oak door, invisible killer holes and a multi-level spiral staircase, which bothers the climb to the upper floors.

Cannon at Ross Castle

Despite the many wars that fell to the castle of Ross, it is perfectly preserved and has survived to this day. Now it is a working museum and one of the most magnificent historical monuments of Ireland. By the way, during its existence, it has overgrown with many legends and beliefs. For example, locals believe that the former owner of the palace of Mora O’Donoghue, along with a horse, books and furniture was absorbed by some unknown force. Since then, he lives on the bottom of the lake and vigilantly looks after the former possessions. It is also believed that someone who can see the ghost of the count with his own eyes (and you can do it once every 7 years in the early May morning) will be accompanied by success until the end of his life.

Killarney Lakes

Killarney Lakes can be safely called the most famous attraction of Ireland. All three reservoirs, the Upper (Loch Lane), the Lower (Lin) and the Middle (Macros), are of glacial origin and are constantly cold. Lake Lin, the largest of the twin brothers, sheltered between the three mountains – Mangerton, Tork and Quarantill. Thanks to the dense shadows falling from the mountain slopes, this place is called the Black Valley.

Loch Lane Lake
Loch lane

Surrounded by lakes, wild forests grow, in the thickets of which unique relict trees, huge ferns and delicate rhododendrons have been preserved. And a little further, at an altitude of about 800 m, there are several more small water areas formed by punishment.

Lookout Ladies’ View

Ladies’ View is one of the best places in the National Park. From there, a bewitching view of both the valley itself and the famous Killarney lakes opens. Queen Victoria is considered the discoverer of the Feminine look, and this is how the name of this observation deck is translated. Returning to the Macro House, she was so amazed at the panorama that opened before her that she returned to this place more than once.

Lookout Ladies' View

On a note! Guests of the National Park are offered guide services, as well as single or guided visits.

Where to stay?

The number of hotels located in the Killarney National Park is not inferior to the number of attractions collected here. You can easily choose housing for every taste and budget, be it an elite hotel, a mid-range establishment or an ordinary hostel.

Hotel room Hotel Killarney
Hotel killarney
  • The most popular 3-4 * hotels of the city are Hotel Killarney, Killarney Court Hotel, Killarney Riverside Hotel and Killarney Inn.
  • Prices for a double room in them start from 40-45 € per day. Apartments (Wild Atlantic Way Apartments Killarney, Flemings White Bridge Self-Catering Mobile Home Hire, Rose Cottage, etc.) will cost a little more – at 100-120 €.
  • For a hostel (for example, The Sleepy Camel Hostel, Kenmare Failte Hostel or Paddy’s Palace Dingle Peninsula) you will have to pay from 20 to 60 €.

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How to get to Killarney?

Killarney National Park is easily accessible from anywhere in Ireland. The most convenient way to get from Dublin. You can do this in one of 3 ways.

Train to Killarney

The train connection between the capital of Ireland and Killarney is provided by the Irish Rail train. The trip takes 3 hours 14 minutes, the ticket costs from 50 to 70 €, the frequency of departures is once a day.

Bus Dublin Coach

You can also get to the National Park by bus:

  • Dublin Coach – travel time is 4.5 hours, departures are every 60 minutes. Approximate fare – 14-20 €;
  • Aircoach – the journey will take about 5 hours, the ticket price is 32 €.

On a note! Exactly the same state international buses run from Trelis (40 minutes and 10.70 €) and Cork (2 hours and 27 €).

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Rental car

Car rental is the most convenient and perhaps the fastest transfer option. Killarney is about 302 km from Dublin. To overcome this distance, it will take a little more than 3 hours.

Killarney, Ireland is an amazing and unique place that you want to return to again and again. Be sure that such a journey will remain in your memory forever.

Dynamic video: an overview of the city and Killarney Park in one and a half minutes.

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