I've visited the County Kerry town of Killarney on a few occasions now and what I love most about it is that there is always a good crowd around, there is always something going on there and something to see and do.
How to get there
There is an airport in Kerry which would be the closest if you are flying to Ireland although there are not many flights into this airport from the UK. It is easily reached from Cork airport on a bus or about an hours drive if you are going by ferry or hiring a car.
I would recommend hiring a car if you are planning on staying for a few days as there are so many places to visit within easy reach of Killarney and the public transport in Ireland is quite costly.
Where to stay
This all depends on who you are travelling with, if you are in a group or travelling with a family for a few days there are plenty of holiday cottages which can be rented out for a few days and are good value, there are often offers on groupon for cottages such as these, the only disadvantage being that a lot of the holiday homes / cottages are a little bit away from the town centre.
I stayed in the Killarney Court hotel which is very nice and is available starting from around 50 euros for a double room per night, again this is a little way out of the town it is about 20 minutes walk or only a few euros in a taxi.
The Gleneagle hotel is right next to the national park and the INEC, so is a perfect location if you are going to see an event here.
If you want to be right in the heart of the town it is the best place to be although it will be more expensive than the other places mentioned and the hotels book up very fast especially if there is a festival on. Scotts hotel is beautiful and centrally located and costs around 120 euros per double room per night.
Killarney golf and fishing club hosted the Irish Open in 2010 and 2011 and is a beautiful scenic golf course, if you're into golf it is open to guests and you do not need to be a club member to play a round or two.
Killarney National Park
This is Ireland's oldest national park and has the beautiful Killarney lakes and the highest mountain range in Ireland (McGillyCuddy's Reeks). The park also has all kinds of wildlife including red deer and eagles.
The highlight of the National Park has got to be Muckross House and Gardens, which is a 19th century mansion you can buy tickets to go and look around. If you are travelling as a family a family ticket is available for 32 euros which also allows you entry to the farms which include workshops and a blacksmiths as well as a labourers house, there are three different size old traditional farms and play area to have a look around. This is a good trip for the children as they get to see the animals and play around.
Killarney is an ideal starting point for those wanting to see the ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, coach tours are available which is good if you want to hear all about it but again if you hire a car you can do this at your own pace and stop and take pictures of the beautiful landscapes at your leisure. Jaunting car trips are also available (horse and carriages), to take you around with a driver and guide.
Ross castle, Torc waterfall and a boat trip to Inisfallen Island are also worth a visit if you have time.
I have seen these sights before and these along with many others are definitely worth a visit but now I prefer to go to Killarney and just wander around the pretty town centre, pop into a few shops and enjoy the nightlife!
As I said before there is always something happening in Killarney, there are numerous restaurants around the town, due to the amount of tourists around if there are a few of you visiting it is worth booking a table to avoid waiting around to be seated. The Ho Kee Chinese is one which I remember as being a good meal, there are many different cuisines around though.
There are plenty of bars everywhere too with all sorts of entertainment, there are traditional small old fashioned pubs showing sports and horse racing, modern wine bar style bars, late night clubs, hotels with entertainment and plenty off places offering traditional live music.
The INEC has hosted popular acts such as The Script, Westlife and David Gray. There is something on here most nights and it gets very busy during the summer months.
The Danny Mann is an excellent venue for live Irish music although it does get very busy. Tatler Jack is a large air conditioned sports bar which is a good venue and has a great atmosphere for any matches. It is central and also offers accommodation.
For the kids
Again you may need a car for a lot of the childrens activities. Most are within a few minutes drive. There are pony rides at Killarney riding stables, a blue flag beach in Rossbeigh, Coolwood wildlife park, Kennedys pet farm in Glenflesk and buddies is only 1km from the town centre.
Buddies is an indoor play area for children, there is a toddler area, ball pool, inflatable slides and bunjee, and of course a cafe for the grown ups. They also offer entertainment in the holidays and childrens parties.
Killarney is one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland. I love the mix of high street shops, boutiques and local crafts. It has much more charm than the big cities, whilst still having plenty to do with numerous restaurant, over 50 bars and outstanding scenery. It is definitely worth a visit for people of all ages!
There are obviously a lot of tourists around but that adds to the feel of Killarney. The people of the town obviously take great pride it making it look nice for visitors, everywhere is very clean and there are lots of lovely flower beds, hanging baskets etc all over the town, the shop fronts are generally well maintained and decorated. There is also lots to see and do here. There is golf, fishing, horse riding, pony and trap rides and of course the natural rugged beauty to explore! anyone interested in walking or cycling should definetly consider Killarney as a holiday destination. The Killarney National Park is absolutely beautiful and consists of lakes, woods, mountains and parkland. if your lucky you may even see some of the wildlife that live there such as deer, squirrels, fox etc. there are walking trails all over the place and many signposted routes. If you feel like a drive, the main road from killarney to kenmare goes over a beautiful mountainous part of the Park where you can enjoy stunning views for miles.
there are plenty of choices for every budget from upmarket restaurants and beautiful luxury hotels to budget (but good quality) food and accomodation in numerous take aways and hostels in the town. if you go a little further outside town there is also an abundance of friendly Bed & Breakfasts.
***UPDATED*** Breathtaking scenery... Unspoilt countryside... A pace of life to be envied!! An overview of one of the largest towns in Southern Ireland. All information was gathered on my trip to the Emerald Isle in July 2000. Killarney Town Killarney is a busy market town and the oldest and most popular tourist destination. That said it is not as busy or as much of a tourist trap as you think it is going to be. With ‘Killarney National Park’ and the ‘Ring of Kerry’ a short drive away you can easily escape into the beautiful unspoilt countryside of Southern Ireland The town itself offers an extensive range of restaurants, entertainment and traditional Irish pubs. I would highly recommend 'Wilde Oscars' a bohemian, welcoming and stylish restaurant located in the centre of the town. A meal for two will cost about 65 Irish Punts (£55) for a three course meal & wine. The shops in Killarney are mainly of the tourist variety, where you can get the usual Guinness branded merchandise, Leprechauns of all shapes and guises as well as good quality knit wear and clothing. The Tourist Information Office is situated near ‘New Street’ next to the major car park & supermarket (Tesco). Most of the banks are also situated on New Street. For withdrawing money from these you will require an international debit card or a Visa/Mastercard THINGS TO SEE & DO IN KILLARNEY Killarney National Park Situated within walking distance of the town centre the National Park has many attractions for the tourist. Having spent a whole day here I feel that it is definitely a must on your holiday itinerary. Below are some of the places I visited within the National Park: Ross Castle – The castle is situated 2km south of Killarney on the shores of Lough Leane. It is open to the public via an entrance fee. The building itself dates back to the 15th century
. Although a beautiful site, I myself did not find the actual castle interior overly interesting. With only the usual ‘museum pieces’ and reference material. InnisFallen Island – The island is situated on Lough Leane and can only be reached by hiring a motor boat and driver (costing 3.50 punts) or taking the more commercial Waterbus trip from Ross Castle. The island is the site of the early Christian monastery of St. Faithlinn (Fallen) and is also associated with St. Finian the leper. The first impression of the island is just how isolated it is and how tranquil an environment. If you have hired your own boat to reach the island you may even be lucky enough to be the only people exploring the island. Muckross Friary – Founded for the Franciscans in 1448 & built in the Irish Gothic style. The most breathtaking feature of the Friary is the old Yew tree growing in the central cloisters of the building. Apparently it is supposed to be magical! Much of the Friary remains along with its graveyard which includes some of the great Gaelic poets. Muckross House/Gardens/Traditional Farms – The Muckross estate is a major tourist attraction within the National Park and at times you can feel like your on a conveyor belt of people. I suggest that if you wish to visit these attractions, you arrive early. I found the high volume of tourist a little annoying and spent less time here than I planned. The house serves as a visitor centre. Around the house are plenty of enchanting walks or if you feel a little more adventurous you can hire bicycles. The Muckross gardens contain fine specimens of flowers and has a water garden and rock garden. The farms are an opportunity to see the Irish traditional farming methods and discuss the methods with families who work in this way. ‘Ring Of Kerry’ The best part about staying in Killarney is that it is situated on the 'Ring of Kerry'. Which is a route
around the unspoilt wonder that is Southern Ireland. Some of the sites within easy reach of Killarney Include: Torc Waterfall – Situated on the N71 & 8km from Killarney. The waterfall is a very short walk from a designated car park, via a large set of steps. The waterfall is best viewed after it has rained, due to the increased volumes of water. The waterfall is breathtaking and I found it a very relaxing and invigorating experience. Meeting of The Waters – Situated 10km from Killarney again on the N71. The ‘Meeting of The Waters’ is a place where the major lakes of the National Park converge. It is a place of striking natural beauty. It takes about 1hr to walk from the designated car park. Some of the walk is along a nominated footpath and then by following signposts through the countryside. The walk itself is as breathtaking as the view at the end and well worth a visit. Once reaching the ‘Meeting of The Waters’ you will find a coffee shop and toilets. Ladies View – Situated 12km from Killarney on the N71. This is one of the most spectacular views of the National Park. From here you can see as far as the eye can see. Including Irelands highest mountain range ‘MacGillycuddy’s Reeks’. Ladies View is so named because it was much admired by Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting when they visited the area in 1861. Molls Gap – Situated 15km from Killarney on the N71. This is another breathtaking view of the lakes of Killarney. Gap Of Dunloe – Situated to the west of the National Park near ‘Killorglin’ off the R562. There is a place to park and from here you can walk the 10km through the Gap in the mountains created by forging ice flows during the ice age. A much easier and I think more beneficial way of viewing at least part of this walk is to hire a ‘Jaunting Car’ (a pony and two wheeled trap and driver) costing 30 punts. Th
e sense of isolation has you head into the gap is awe inspiring and calms the soul. If you are a little braver you can hire your own pony and ride up into the gap. The Gap of Dunlow was one of my favourite places that I visited in Killarney. Partly because of its astounding beauty, but also for the sense of isolation from the world. It really is one of Killarney best unspoilt wonders of nature. For those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the view instead of driving or for those of you who enjoy participating in touring as a large group there are regular coaches trips round the complete route of the 'Ring of Kerry'. For the more adventurous (and brave) you can hike a designated route around the Ring. There are plenty of other activities to participate in when visiting Killarney including: Horse Riding Quad Biking Golf Outlet Shopping Centre Killarney Races Cycling Food & Drink Once you have exhausted all that Killarney has to offer there are other great places to visit such as: 'Dingle Penninsula' - Go to Dingle and swim with Fungi a tame dolphin that lives around the local waters. ‘Valentia Island – Situated at the most South Western point of Ireland. Visit ‘The Skelligs’ a selection of Rock islands with birds such as the Puffin & Kittiwakes. Also ‘Skellig Michael’ which is an island of significant archaeological interest, with wonderfully preserved monastic settlement. ACCOMMODATION B&B - From £20 pppn upwards. Self Catering - PLENTY of cottages, caravans and specially built centres. From £250 per unit. (Prices differ enormously according to season) HOW TO GET TO KILLARNEY Ferry Ports (From – To) Swansea – Cork (8hr overnight crossing) Fishguard – Rosslare (4hr crossing) Pembroke – Rosslare (4 hr crossing) Distances (From – To) C
ork – Killarney – 55 miles Rosslare – Killarney – 163 miles (Alternatively you can fly to Kerry airport and hire a car) EXCHANGE RATE 1.00 British pounds sterling = 1.31 Irish punts Exchange rate: 1.305469 (Rate valid as of: 10/7/2001) I hope you have found the above interesting. I fell in love with the place and it really was a wonder to behold. I can't wait to return.
For stop four of our grand tour of Ireland last year my hubby and I spent three nights in Killarney, but I really wish we had stayed just a little longer. Of all the places I have visited in Ireland this is definitely my favourite, and I will certainly make a point of spending some more time there soon. I think the best way to go about this opinion is just to give you a run down of what we done and then try to add in any additional info that I can think of, so here goes! The first thing that caught my eye as we approached Killarney on the N22 from Cork was the way that the road corridor had been developed. Driving on dual carriageways is never my idea of fun, but the placement of many weird and wonderful sculptures along the route certainly added a bit of interest. More than anything else, this gave me the impression that the local authorities were really trying to make an effort, and gave me confidence that my visit to Killarney would be worthwhile. My next observation, however, was not so positive - gridlock!! Like just about every town I have ever visited in Ireland gridlock is a big problem in Killarney. Don't be surprised if you spend at least an hour travelling from one end of the town to the other at peak times. If you do hit Killarney at peak time then I would heartily advise that you know exactly where you are going by studying a map first - believe me when I say you do not want to be going round in circles here! So after fighting our way through traffic hell we eventually got to our B&B. If this opinion does anything I hope it is to convince anyone who is visiting Killarney to stay in the Northwood House B&B. This was without doubt the best B&B I have ever stayed in. The whole place was immaculate, the breakfast was excellent and our room had a balcony with spectacular views over the lakes and mountains of the Killarney National Park. You can have a look at http://www.northwoodhouse.com/ but the site doesn't real
ly do the B&B the justice it deserves. For our first night we decided to go and see a show in the famous Gleneagle Hotel, one of the most popular cabaret venues outside of Dublin. We looked up the local "what's on" brochure and seen that Brendan Grace was appearing that night. Excellent, he is one of my favourite comedians! Not wanting to trail around looking for somewhere to eat we decided to splash out and have dinner in the hotel restaurant. Well, we thought it would be splashing out, but it turned out to be very reasonably priced and a really excellent meal. The night was only dampened by the fact that Johnny McEvoy was the support act (if you have ever heard Johnny McEvoy you will know how torturous that was!!). A great night out and a great start to our time in Killarney. Next morning we were up bright and early to drive round the 'Ring of Kerry'. The Ring of Kerry can truly boast scenery to match anything I have ever seen before. I will write a full opinion on the Ring of Kerry in due course, so I will just give a basic run down here. 'The Ring of Kerry' is the term used to describe the route round the Killarney National Park, around the coast of County Kerry, and back into Killarney Town. My tip is to get up early and start off well before the coach trips do! The best way to drive is in an anti-clockwise direction because a) the best views are that way, and b) the roads are quite narrow and driving in the opposite direction from the bulk of the traffic is not recommended!! If you don't stop, the drive will take three to four hours - but you will stop frequently so give yourself lots of time. When we eventually got back to Killarney we didn't have a lot of time to get shifted and out again - we had decided to go back to the Gleneagle to see 'The Wolfe Tones'. On our way to the Gleneagle we stopped in for dinner at the Whitegates Hotel (Muckross Road). If you are in Killarney
and looking for a bite to eat you really should go here! The meals are fabulous and far more food is served that you could possibly eat (a bit of a waste, but excellent value). Added to great food in abundance and at a reasonable (cheap) price is the fact that there is always a live act on. When we visited the group was belting out some Irish ballads and they were very good indeed. That night seeing the Wolfe Tones at the Gleneagle was one of the best nights out that I have ever had (well, it was his turn to drive next day so I had more than my fair share of the black beer!). Next day we took a drive round the Dingle Peninsula in the morning. Had the weather been better we would have spent more time doing the Dingle thing, but as it happened it was rather overcast and a bit foggy in places so we decided to head back and explore Killarney Town in the afternoon. The town itself is a wonderful place and well worth taking the time to explore. If you have read my opinion on Ennis, Co Clare, you will know that I love the narrow cobbled lanes there, and similar are to be found in Killarney Town. Numerous unusual shops can be found dotted around the town, and as much as I dislike shopping I have to say I did enjoy wandering in and out of them. In the lanes in particular you will find little craft shops and artists studios, small pubs and eateries. Did I mention pubs? Stop, rewind, yes pubs - there are loads of them! They range from modern bars like you would find in any town, through to traditional pubs. One peculiarity of this area of Ireland is that snugs can often be found at the rear of shops, which actually makes shopping more enjoyable since you can have a swift half while you are waiting on your purchases being bagged! As well as many pubs there are also loads of restaurants and cafes which cater for every taste and budget. As for attractions in Killarney itself there isn't really anything of great note. We did take a walk u
p to the Cathedral where there is a massive tree which marks a mass grave of children who died during the great famine. While I say there isn't anything of note, the town itself, and in particular the architecture could well be described of being of note. Some of the buildings date back a couple of centuries and the whole town really has an 'olden days' feel to it. I think that is really about all I can say about Killarney town (we stayed in the town all evening but to be honest some of my memories are rather sketchy - I wonder why that would be!!). The real beauty of staying in Killarney is that it makes an excellent base for visiting the surrounding areas. If you are the outdoor type I would seriously recommend Killarney as being unmissable. There are many activities on offer including fishing, walking, boating, cycling and a few nearby golf courses. Me, I will be returning to stay in Killarney as a base for a hillwalking holiday at some point. The MacGillycuddy's Reeks are among the highest peaks in Ireland (one of the mountains, Carrauntuohil, is actually *the* highest in Ireland) and after viewing them from our balcony for a few days I just have to get out there and clamber up them at some point. Even if you aren't the outdoor type it is definitely a place which is well worth a visit - I can heartily recommend it. [Footnote: I have posted a few scenic photographs from our trip on the site which is listed on my profile as my homepage. There are a few pics from the Ring of Kerry in there in case you fancy having a look!]
…The likes you’ve never known, of Christmas in Killarney…” Ahh… doesn’t that remind you of sitting around the Christmas tree, opening your presents and gorging on sweets while Mum plays her old Bing Crosby records? (Or is it just me…? :) Okay, so it wasn’t actually Christmas – closer to summertime really – when we arrived in Killarney, a charming little town in the heart of County Kerry in the south of the Republic of Ireland. Having just spent a couple of days in Dublin and Cork, Killarney was quite literally a breath of fresh air. Though still somewhat touristy, the town is surrounded by spectacularly picturesque scenery: rolling hills, vast lakes and dense forests as well as an array of interesting historical monuments. We arrived in the early afternoon and made our way to Neptune’s Hostel (just off New Road). Around ten minute’s walk from the bus station, Neptune’s was excellent value at only IR£8.50 (UK£6.80) per night for a dorm bed. The hostel itself was quite pleasant, including a decent kitchen, common room, TV room, baby-sitting facilities, laundry and bike hire (more about that later!). They also had one of those coin-op internet machines, but it was pretty expensive (IR £2 for 2 minutes), so I’d recommend checking out one of the net cafes in town if you need to check your email. After checking in we went for a wander through the town. First stop – the Tourist Information Centre on Main Street. I have to admit I wasn’t too impressed – it was fairly small and didn’t offer any free maps (we ended up buying one). We then went to look for some lunch, again without much success. We’d just planned on a takeaway, but our only options in that area seemed to be Burger King or somewhat pricey fried food – we opted for the later but immediately regretted it. In the window-shopping department, however, we were
considerably more satisfied. Killarney seemed to abound with small, interesting shops selling all sorts of interesting trinkets. We quite happily spent the afternoon wandering about before buying the makings for dinner at the local Tesco and heading back to the hostel. The next day, feeling bright and energetic, we decided to hire bikes in order to check out the surrounding area. The hostel runs a deal with the next-door bike-hire shop – the bikes were only IR£7 (UK£5.40) for the day (I believe the average cost in most places is IR£10). We set off first to St Mary’s Cathedral and Knockreer House and Gardens (both still within the bounds of Killarney Town) before heading off along the bike paths through the National Park. Next stop was Ross Castle, a quite small but aesthetically pleasing structure by the edge of the Lower Lake, from where if you felt like it you could pay for a dinghy tour around the lake (we didn’t, so I’m afraid I don’t know how much this cost). Then on a mile or two to Muckross Abbey, which was a rather fascinatingly decrepit building surrounded by a graveyard. You could actually climb via winding stone staircases most of the way to the top of the Abbey, or lose your way in the many identical stone chambers down below. We cycled on through the Yew Woods (with several breathers along the way) to the Meeting of the Waters, which is the point where the Upper, Middle (or Muckross) and Lower Lakes all run into each other. There is some very attractive woodland in this area as well as a nifty little stone bridge you can walk across while you look out at the various lakes (try to avoid using the public loos here though – they’re pretty gross). From here we went on to Torc Waterfall. As by now we’d travelled close to 20 kilometres (about 14 miles I think), as you can imagine we were beginning to tire (and don’t even ask how our derrieres were feeling!) Which is
why we decided only to undertake the 200m walk to the bottom of the waterfall, as opposed to the rather more arduous upward climb to the top of the falls. It was still quite impressive (you can hear the roaring of the water from a good distance away). The only downside was the scores of tiny insects that attacked our faces (later to come up in a nice little rash). We should have followed the example of several people around us, and picked up a palm frond to wave in front of our face to keep them away! Then on to Muckross House and Gardens, a grand stately home surrounded by well kept hedges and vast rows of well tended flowers. We didn’t spend a lot of time here, as it was late afternoon by this time and we were pretty much looking forward to getting back! Besides, when you’ve seen one National Trust house you’ve seen ‘em all… We gradually made our way back to the main road and slowly, painfully, completed the trek and made it back to the bike shop mere minutes before it closed. After long showers, an hour or so’s rest and a good hearty dinner, we decided to venture out and see what Killarney had to offer by the way of night-life. As it was the Sunday night before a public holiday the town was pretty crowded, and the first few places we stopped were either way too full, too smoky or weren’t playing any music. As anyone who’s read my Cork op will know I was keen to hear some live traditional music, so imagine my delight when, just as we were about to give up, we happened across Scott’s Garden, a lively bar which had exactly that and, though also quite crowded, had a beer-garden with a couple of free tables. Though it took me some time to get through the crowd at the bar, I finally secured us a couple of pints and we sat down to enjoy the music. Though I can’t actually recall any specific songs (and no they didn’t sing ‘Cockles and Muscles’) a lot were familiar
to me, and it was really good to watch the amount of audience participation going on. I only wished I knew more of the words! :) All in all a great day, a great night and a great little interlude in Killarney (the next day we continued on to Tralee, Limerick and Galway: stay tuned for more ops!). I only wish we’d had more time there. Perhaps one day we shall return… For more info on Neptune’s Hostel go to www.neptunes-hostel.com or phone +353 64 35255 For general info on Killarney go to kerry.local.ie/killarney The following free guides are also useful if you happen to come across them (usually found in cafes, hostels etc): Where Killarney Kerry Gems (‘your priceless holiday guide’)