Killarney is located in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland, Kerry, in the south-west. Any tour of Killarney requires any tourist to invest in a camera as it is one of the most striking vistas in the world. There is so much to do and see in Killarney that you would need at least a couple of days there, just to see the highlights. Although it is tremendously difficult to whittle down the enormous selection of places to see and things to do in Killarney, we have nevertheless put together a synopsis of the best places to go in Killarney.
Ladies view is about twelve miles from Killarney, located between Kenmare and Killarney on the Ring of Kerry and in the center of Killarney National Park. It is a magnificent panoramic vista that will take your breath away. It was so-called after Queen Victoria’s Ladies-in waiting, during the Queen’s visit in 1861. The incredible view absorbs the McGillycuddy Reeks & the remarkable Purple Mountain Range. Ladies view has its own café, bar and a gift shop that has the largest selection of gifts in the area.
Close by, the 18-meter-high Torc Falls vaunts some of Ireland most stupendous panoramic views. This magnificent waterfall is at the base of Torc Mountain which is about five miles from Killarney in County Kerry. The name Torc comes from the Irish word ‘torc’ meaning ‘boar’ and Torc Mountain was named after a charmed boar that was killed there by the fabled champion, Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
Muckross House & Gardens
For those who appreciate exquisite historical buildings, Muckross House & Gardens, a Victorian mansion, cannot be omitted from your tour. The nineteenth century mansion is located in the Killarney National Park and lies beside Muckross Lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes which are celebrated universally for their spectacle and magnificence.
Muckross House was designed in 1839 by renowned architect, William Burn, for his clients Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Mary Balfour Herbert, who was a well known artist. The rooms are well-appointed in a period style and illustrate the 19th Century landowning class lifestyle characteristic of this time.
Around 1850, widespread work began on the gardens in provision for Queen Victoria’s official visit in 1861 which was the stimulus for many modernizations to the garden over the years including the Sunken Garden and the Stream Garden. We are sure that after a relaxing and rejuvenating walk around the gardens, you will be eager to go to Killarney’s Ross Castle.
Ross Castle is an extraordinary 15th century buttress owned by the O’Donoughue Ross Chieftains. It is bordered by a fortified bawn with circular flanking towers. The castle is well-appointed with some very rare and superlative 16th and 17th century oak furniture and is probably one of the most superb 15th century castles in Ireland.
Kissane Sheep Farm
From the old to the traditional, a short drive from Ross Castle takes you to Kissane Sheep farm, where you can see traditional Irish sheep shearing and watch in amazement at the Irish sheep dog trials which are sure to leave you highly entertained. There are a plethora of gift shops to peruse which offer a vast selection of traditional Irish products; Ideal for picking up vacation gifts too.
The Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe has so much to offer in terms of scenery. A visit to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which is a timeless capsule of traditional Irish life, is a must see. There, you can take a ride on an Irish Jaunting Car (Horse & Carriage). Conversely, a tour through the splendid mountains, mystical lakes & valleys which abound County Kerry will produce extraordinary panoramic scenery in which to walk and take photographs. At the summit of the mountain, a light lunch is highly recommended at the Lord Mount Brandon’s Cottage.
For a more unique and intimate perspective of the delightful scenery, a boat ride in a traditional Fisherman’s boat will lead you through the 3 Lakes of Killarney to Ross House.
Activities in Killarney
For those who enjoy fishing, you are truly spoilt for choice with the selection of magnificent rivers and lakes in Killarney. The River Laune, its source located in the Killarney lakes and exits at Lough Leane approximately 300m upstream of Laune Bridge. It is a highly recommended spot for anglers as it provides some excellent salmon and sea trout fishing hot spots.
The River Laune in Killarney, Co Kerry comprises of Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and the Upper Lake. Anglers will be delighted to know that fishing is free on these lakes which means fishermen regularly take home large salmon as their token catch. The best time of year for salmon fishing is usually the latter end of July to September when the river fills with fish.
Many tourists, the world over, thoroughly enjoy horse riding in Killarney because of the delightful views that the natural scenery has to offer. Riding tours offer tourists hacking, trekking and trail riding in Killarney National Park. Horse riding tours provide a unique way to see views of Ross Castle (mentioned above), Ross Island and stunning views of Killarney’s lakes and mountains.
A kayaking tour is the best way to experience the Lakes of Killarney and offers a unique lens through which to discover the otherwise unseen gems of Killarney. Why not uncover the history of Ross Castle (mentioned above) and the immensely beautiful surroundings of the lakes in a very matchless way?
One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground and take in plenty of amazing vistas and historical gems in Killarney is to avail of a cycle tour of Killarney. Many cycle tours gently take you through the very best that Killarney National Park has to offer. A lot of the Park is narrow but very well paved, traffic-free paths and is an ideal activity on a family tour of Ireland.
It is well known that you will find a different walking route for every day of the the year in Killarney. Walkers can choose from low level parkland walks around beautiful lakes and some of Irelands oldest oak lands. For walkers who prefer more of a challenge, there are also higher level hill walks on the old coach roads and bridle paths. For the truly adventurous, there is a 3000 feet hike to the summit of the famous MacGillicuddy Reeks.
Killarney also offer a plethora of “loop walks” where walkers who want a more interesting route can complete their walk without retracing their route. For the ultimate in bucket list items, taking a hike to the summit of Carrauntoohil Mountain will be sure to one of the the highlights of your vacation in Ireland.
Irish Jaunting Cars
A jaunting car allows you to view the most beautiful parts of Killarney in is one of Irelands most traditional forms of transport. It is probably one of the most unique and intimate ways to see the hidden gems in Killarney such as the Killarney National Park and the Lakes of Killarney. Most jaunting car tours travel in traffic-free zones which offers a more unique and undisturbed tour. It is one of the best ways to learn about the history, legends and folklore of the area.
Dining in Killarney
The Laurels Pub/ Restaurant
The Laurels pub and restaurant is a family run (O’Leary’s ) business for nearly a century and is one of Killarney most renowned eateries. Internally, it exudes an old world charm with beamed ceilings, an abundance of alcoves and shadowed corners. The staff are extremely friendly and always attentive which only add to the charm of your dining experience. There is plenty of entertainment at the Laurels during the season with live music and traditional Irish dancing a plenty.
The Laurels offers a lunch and dinner menu with exceptional dishes throughout. Their lunch menu offers a range of lighter dishes from Creamy Chunky Seafood Chowder to Breaded Butterflied Prawns & Golden Scampi and Philly Cheese Streak Sandwich to Beef and Blue Cheese Salad. There is something to suit everyone.
The Dinner Menu offers a selection of tantalizing starters such as Mussels poached in White Wine and Coconut Milk or Roast Scallops with Crisp Pork & Maple Syrup while the main courses offer exceptionally good dishes such as The Laurels Fish Platter which is a medely of Poached Mussels in Coconut & Lime Curry Sauce, Roast Monkfish in Basil Pesto, Grilled King Prawns in Garlic Butter, Roast Salmon with Chilli, Pan Roasted Cod, Crab Claws in Saffron Cream and Breaded Calamari.
Gaby’s Seafood Restaurant
One of the finest restaurants in Killarney and one I would highly recommend is Gaby’s Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant is full to the rafters (literally) with character with an open fire, wine cellar old timbers. Gaby’s provides a mottled menu of superb seafood dishes and starters include Half Dozen Atlantic Rock Oysters, Smoked Salmon Pate and Atlantic White Crab Meat.
Main courses include mouthwatering dishes such as Fillet of Atlantic Salmon, Atlantic Prawns and Kerry Shellfish Paltter which comprises 5 oystersm crabclawsm ½ lobster among other seasonal seafood.
Rozzers Restaurant is a wonderful dining experience with exceptionally high quality food and presentation. The main menu offers a wide selection of choice from oysters to Slow Roasted Pork Belly to Open Ravioli of Seared Scallops and Prawns. The main dishes offer a enticing selection of lip-smacking dishes such as Pan Seared Medallion of Monkfish, Surf & turf including Grilled Prime fillet of Beef and Dingle Bay Lobster and Roast Barbary Duck Breast.
Where to stay in Killarney
The Europe Hotel
The Europe Hotel in Killarney has by far one of the most arresting settings in Ireland. The five-star hotel surveys the world famous Lakes of Killarney, and has superb views of Kerry’s McGillycuddy Reeks mountain range in the charming South West of Ireland. The eight bedroomed Europe Hotel & Resort in Killarney offers luxury accommodation with elegant bedrooms and splendid suites in a immutable style all overlooking the gardens or Killarney lakes. Innumerable rooms and suites have sizable balconies with impressive views of Loch Léin,
The Europe Hotel offers a variety of dining options from a reserved setting to a restful meal. The Spa Café with its enclosed terrace facing the lake and gardens, offers a peaceful feel to diners seeking a light, healthy Spa cuisine and refreshments. The The Brasserie Restaurant offers Al Fresco Dining, on its terrace with extraordinary vistas of the lakes. It has an unequalled range of light snacks, and its flamed grill streaks have to be tried to be believed. The restaurant offers an A La Carte, desert, cheese and children’s menu to suits the palates of every discerning guest.
Equally, The Panorama Restaurant, again with magnificent view of the Lakes of Killarney, the mountains and the resident gardens and recently won ‘Best Hotel Restaurant in Kerry’ at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2015. The bar at the resort is enchanting and serene and ornamented with dark wood paneling while deep leather arm chairs sit alongside the open fires while traditional music plays in the background.
ESPA at The Europe is a beautiful resort spa that appropriates the majesty and tranquility of its surroundings. The spa offers a array of holistic treatments that will reinstate even the most beat traveler with the use of couturier essential oils. It features 16 Treatment Rooms, 2 Express Beauty Suites, Private Spa Suite for Two, Manicure & Pedicure Thrones and a Make Up Counter.
The Killarney Park Hotel – Kerry
The Killarney Park Hotel is located in the picturesque and very historic town of Killarney in county Kerry and accommodation offers guests a selection of traditional but well-designed décor that is exclusive to this five-star hotel.
There are countless voguish dining experiences for you relish such at The Park Restaurant which includes genuinely resplendent feature ceilings & chandeliers & is the definitive in Dining in Killarney. The 5-Course & A La Carte menus offer a selection of customary with a modern twist, mouth-watering dishes that are served whilst you enjoy the gentle tones of the resident pianist playing in the background. Best of all, the restaurant is home to a walk-in wine cellar, which has a vast range of full and half bottles.
The tasteful garden bar, endowed with a hand crafted mahogany bar, wood paneled alcoves and ornamental fireplace is the absolute choice to relax and soak up the ambiance. The all-day bar menu extends an arousing selection of artisan light meals and snacks.
This hotel should unquestionably be your first option if relaxation is your top priority. The Spa offers a ample list of treatments from facials to stone treatments & body wraps to Swedish massage. There is also a pool & health & fitness center for you to enjoy. Now doesn’t that sound like heaven after a day of sightseeing in Ireland?
The Killarney Plaza
The Killarney plaza is located in Killarney Town Centre and offers guests luxury rooms, exceptional restaurants, bars and a must visit spa. Although a magnificently designed building, the interior is very stylishly designed with a marble floor foyer with marble pillars.
The Plaza has a unique style that is transported through every room which are chic, spacious and very light and airy. The rooms are furnished with beautiful wood piece and lush fabrics which are complimented with marble touches which add an air of sophistication for every room.
There are three restaurants in the hotel and offer menus with truly varied and interesting combinations of textures and flavors from locally produced and sourced meats, vegetables and artisan foods. Diners can enjoy a casual, but vogue dining experience in either The Plaza Bar, The Window Lounge or The Piano Bar.
The Plaza Bar & Grill has three bars spread over two floor, the upper level sports the Plaza Bar and Grill which has a very relaxed feel and a very varied and imaginative lunch and dinner menu. I would highly recommend the Spillane’s Seafood Chowder, to die for!!
The Lounge Bar on the upper level of the building is a sophisticated space which offers superb views of Kenmare Place and Main Street. They offer a broad wine list and craft beer selection, which is becoming ever so popular. A must try dish on the menu is the I=tiger Prawn Linguine Pasta – very more-ish!
The Piano Bar is a snug and intimate setting and is the perfect spot for pre or post dinner drinks or cocktails. It offers an extensive range of fine wines, liquors and cigars. Over the years, the bar has gained a rep for late night sing-songs!!!
Sundari is the spa partner and is unique to the Killarney Plaza. It offers guests an uplifting and relaxing experience, leaving you rejuvenated. The spa offers a great selection of treatments from Indonesia, Thailand and India and also offer a large selection of tailor-made healing treatments. Treatments include Facial & Hot Stone Back of Body Massage. There are also a wide variety of treatments for men including the renowned Golfers Recovery – a regenerative full body massage using warm oils.