The town of Killarney hardly needs any introduction. Nationally and internationally renowned as the undisputed centre of tourism in the South West of Ireland, Killarney has it all.
While its wild beauty and glorious scenery have, for centuries, established it firmly in the affections of all who have visited, Killarney is also a thriving commercial town offering an abundance of attractions and entertainment.
Exciting all summer long, Killarney has been able to hold its premier position amongst other tourist destinations with a variety of festivals and an unequalled nightlife. Over seventy pubs line the streets of this County Kerry town while a vast array of restaurants and accommodation ensure that every imaginable taste can be catered for.
The popularity of the town is not a modern day phenomenon though. It has welcomed visitors for over 200 years. Famously, one particular lake view was dedicated to the Ladies in Waiting of Queen Victoria, who visited the area in 1861. Their visit has been commemorated by the naming of "Ladies' View", reminding present day pilgrims of the longevity of Killarney's popularity. The tourists of yesteryear also consisted of poets, artists, writers and composers who unsurprisingly found much to absorb them here.
There is still much here to enrapture the visitor. Whether you are keen to sample the much lauded night life of the town or interested in the amazing sites of natural beauty in the area, Killarney will not disappoint you. Check out our recommended Killarney hotels to immerse yourself in Ireland's premier tourist destination.
Natural Beauty of Killarney
Killarney National Park is a must for those with an enthusiasm for nature, history, culture or simply a fun afternoon. The area is rich in opportunities to experience life at a gentle pace, whether taking in the spectacular scenery of the Upper Lake region or visiting the ancient seat of learning on Innisfallen. The deep blue lakes contrast with the lush emerald subtropical vegetation and ancient woodland to form a spectacular stage just waiting to be explored.
There is so much to do here that you may not find time to see everything. The sights of Killarney will stay with you forever. However, you may well become one of the many visitors who keep coming back to Killarney time and again.
Within a few miles of Killarney, another world awaits. It is difficult to believe that the jostle of the lively town is only a five minute drive away when you reach the magnificent park. Established when the Muckross Estate was donated to the nation in 1932, the park covers 10,000 hectares of mountain, moorland, parkland and waterway. This is an area of unusual and diverse geology due to a variety of reasons. The major geological boundary which divides the park, the different altitudes of the area and the climatic influence of the Gulf Stream in the region are all contributory factors.
Muckross House is a beautifully situated house within the national park. Built in 1843 and presented to the nation in 1932, the house is now a folk museum which portrays the lifestyles of the gentry and the serving classes of the 19th century. The gardens of Muckross are also of great interest to the visitor. Rich in Rhododendron and Azaleas during the season, the garden is also famed for its extensive watergarden.
The Lakes of Killarney
The Lakes of Killarney are definitely one of the major features of the Park. These three famous lakes reflect the ever changing skies above the surrounding mountain ranges. Myth proclaims that a young lady, distracted by her warrior lover, forgot to replace the capstone in the family well so that, by morning, water had filled the valley creating the Lakes of Killarney. Whatever their origin, these lakes are the point from which everything else in the valley radiates. Although the smallest, the Upper Lake is set in the most spectacular location - the heart of the ruggedly mountainous scenery of the . The Lower lake (Lough Leane) is known as The Lake of Learning or The Lake of Youth. Legend reveals that it got its name from the mythical meetings between the Fianna (the prehistoric warriors) and the beautiful woman riding the white horse from under the water telling of Tir na nOg - the land of eternal youth. Whether you believe the myth or not, it certainly adds to the mystical nature of the region.
In fact curious stories and reputations seem to have sprung up around most aspects of the National Park.
Torc waterfall has been acclaimed as one of the finest waterfalls in Ireland. Here the Owengarrif River cascades through the wooded Friar's Lake into Muckross Lake. The footpath which winds its way up beside the waterfall affords spectacular views of the Lakes. Torc Mountain stands at the southern edge of the Middle Lake.