Mountain, lake and luxuriant woodland are the hallmarks of Killarney. Since the 1750s visitors have been attracted by the physical beauty of the place and by its rich natural history. Today the bustling town of Killarney with its many restaurants and traditional bars at the heart of Kerry’s spectacular scenery offers a wonderful base from which to sample the delights of the Southwest.
The town is set against the backdrop of the majestic McGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range separated from the Purple Mountains by the narrow Gap of Dunloe, a stunning glaciated valley which leads through the mountains to the shores of the famous Lakes of Killarney.
Killarney National Park offers 26,000 acres of woodland on the lakeshore. There are walks and cycle tracks for every level of experience, from a gentle stroll in the grounds of old Ross Castle to a hike to the top of Torc Waterfall. The park is also home to the historical Muckross House and Gardens. Here visitors can not only experience the late 19th century manor but also life on the traditional workings farms on the estate.
Of course, no visit to Killarney would be complete without a trip on a traditional Jaunting car, a tour on horse and carriage where many of the guides have been in the business for five generations. Their knowledge will stretch from the history of the local monuments to the best pint in town!
An ideal place to stay when exploring the area is one of the stunning Killarney Hotels. The five star Europe Hotel & Resort, by the shore of the largest of Killarney’s Lakes with a 50,000 sq ft spa offers sheer luxury and relaxation in a breathtaking location. The The Dunloe is a stunning five star hotel set on 64 acres of parkland estate by the Gap of Dunloe, with horse riding and fishing on the estate. The Ard na Sidhe Country House set on Caragh Lake in Killorglin offers a restful retreat in the peace of the country gardens.