The 10 best things to do in Killarney

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Muckross House Killarney National Park
Muckross house, in the heart of Killarney National Park

Once you arrive in Killarney and see its magnificent setting, you’ll know you made the right decision in coming to the famous Kerry town. But how do you decide what to do when you get here? Your hosts at Coolclogher House can give you great tips on what to do to make the best of your holiday in Killarney, and here are some tips to get you started:

Muckross House & Gardens

Located on the Kenmare side of Killarney, on the N71, Muckross House is a 19th-century Victorian mansion set among stunning gardens in Killarney National Park. The house overlooks Muckross Lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes, and is surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens, a fine arboretum, and extensive rockery. You can take a guided tour of the house and visit the adjacent traditional working farm.

Ring of Kerry

Only got one day in Killarney? Take a tour of the Ring of Kerry and see the entire county in all its splendour. This 180km tourist trail around the Iveragh Peninsula hugs an expanse of spectacular beauty. Stop off at some of Europe’s finest beaches and savour the atmosphere in towns like Killarney and Kenmare.

Gap of Dunloe

A dramatic landmark, the great chasm between the Purple Mountain and the Bull Mountain in the McGillycuddy Reeks is one of Western Europe’s finest examples of a glaciated valley. The Gap of Dunloe is 10 km long and can be enjoyed on foot, by pony, in a jaunting car or by bicycle. Local tours combine a trip through the Gap with a boat ride through the lakes.

Fishing on the Lakes of Killarney

The celebrated Lakes of Killarney are angling heaven. You will find brown trout, as well as an annual run of salmon. You may even find Arctic Char, which many believe were left behind after the last Ice Age. A fishing permit is not required for the lakes, but you need one for the rivers (Flesk and Laune). You can buy a permit in local tackle dealers.

Golf

Kerry is golfers’ paradise. The county has some of the best natural golfing terrain in the world, including the stunning parklands of Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, which hosted the Irish Open in 2010 and 2011. 

Climb Carrauntoohil

At 1,039m (3,414ft), Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s highest mountain. Climbing it is only for the fit and well equipped, so hire a local guide to direct you up the mountain along any of eight different routes. It’s a tough few hours of hiking, but the views are worth it.

Take a Boat Trip

Head down to Ross Castle, just outside Killarney town for boat trips on the Lower Lake. During the summer season, you can take a trip on the water bus, and you can also visit the monastic island of Inisfallen.

Admire the view from Aghadoe

About 5km from Killarney town, just off the main Killarney-Tralee road, you’ll find Aghadoe, home to the remains of a 12th century round tower and church, as well as panoramic views of the lakes and mountains.

Go Horse-Riding

Go pony-trekking in Killarney National Park and immerse yourself in the beauty of the woods and forest trails. Local riding stables cater for all levels of ability, whether you are a complete beginner or an equine expert.

Take in a Show

From musicals to cabarets and concerts by international stars, the INEC in Killarney has an impressive line up all year round. Check out their programme for the dates you’re in town. 

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