Killarney, Munster
Killarney, Munster, Ireland
Birr Castle Gardens
River Shannon
Part of the Ring of Kerry, this area of Ireland is one of outstanding natural beauty
Did you know?
Killarney means 'Church of the Blackthorn’ and nobody is quite sure why.
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The gateway to the Killarney Valley and Killarney National Park, Killarney is a great base to explore the area. The town situated at the foot of Ireland’s highest mountain range has probably been inhabited since the Neolithic period. In the 7th century, St Finian founded a monastery on Inisfallen Island, and Killarney became a focus for Christianity in the region. Not much later in the 17th century, the town was developed as a tourist centre, an Irish version of England’s Lake District.

Today, owing to its natural heritage, history and its location on the Ring of Kerry, this lovely town is a popular tourist destination making it one of Europe’s best-known tourist centres. Tourism is now the largest industry in Killarney and with the exception of Dublin, there are more hotel beds in Killarney than in any other Irish town or city! The town has many charms and places of interest such as lakes, waterfalls, woodland and moors dwarfed by 1000m-plus peaks.

Activities in Killarney

A visit of the region is not complete without going to Ross Island. Contrary to its name, Ross Island is not an island but a peninsula. This place provides a peaceful haven away from the bustle of town. You can stroll through the mystical and ancient woodlands along the lakeshore and see the remains of copper mines visible through bright blue pools.

Built on a rocky outcrop by the shore of Lough Leane at the end of the 15th century, Ross Castle has had a long and fascinating history. Although not a large fortress, its profile and location make for an imposing structure and it has proved to be a very effective defensive stronghold throughout the centuries.

MuckrossA visit to the world renowned Muckross House & Gardens is a “One-Stop Shop for Killarney's Heritage". This popular attraction is a Victorian mansion built in the mid 19th century. The park around the house is well-worth a visit, you’ll be able to admire the beauty of the gardens, the great collection of Azaleas, Rhododendrons, extensive water garden and an outstanding rock garden hewn out of natural limestone.

Muckross Abbey was founded by the Franciscans in the 15th century. Although a 'ruin', the building is in a remarkable state of preservation with the walls of the Cloister and its associated buildings in their original complete state.

Designed by the famous neo-Gothic designer, Pugin, the foundation stone of St. Mary’s Cathedral was laid in 1842. Building was suspended during the worst period of the Great Famine, when the partially completed building was used as a shelter & hospital for the sick and dying. It was not completed until 1855. Killarney's Cathedral is reputed to have been one of Pugin's favourite buildings.

What's nearby to Killarney?

The Ring of Kerry, situated on the Iveragh Peninsula, is probably the most visited attraction in Ireland outside of Dublin. This tourist trail is part of the mystical and unspoilt region of Ireland that has attracted visitors for hundreds of years.

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass of approximately 10 km long. It is renowned world-wide for being the finest example of glaciated valley in Europe formed some 2 million years ago. The Gap of Dunloe comprises five lakes which shaped the landscape of this magnificent area into a place of outstanding natural beauty.
Torc Waterfall an impressive waterfall of 70 to 80 feet high and the Owengarriff river which feeds it rises in “The Devil’s Punchbowl” on nearby Mangerton mountain. The top of the waterfall makes an excellent point to capture the breath-taking views of the lakes.

A trip to the Dingle Peninsula is a must, you can have a walk on Inch strand or an evening in the vibrant town of Dingle. This attractive and colourful fishing town is full of lovely craft shops, bars and restaurants. You can take a boat trip and explore to Blasket Islands or simply travel round Slea Head alongside magnificent views of the coastline and get stunning views of Mount Brandon and the Slieve Mish mountains.

Castleisland is a busy town situated on the main Killarney to Limerick road is seen as the gateway to Kerry. The remains of the town castle lie in ruins in a field south of the town. Close to the town, you will find Crag Cave, one of the largest cave systems in the country and were only discovered in 1983. 3.8kms of cave have been explored running right under the town with about 400m open to the visitors.
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