Day Tours from Killarney
Coolclogher House in Killarney makes the ideal base for touring the regions of Kerry and West Cork. You really are spoiled for choice here, where you can enjoy some of the world’s most epic driving routes, boat tours around the lakes, nature walks and trails as well as a wealth of cultural and historic tours.
At Coolclogher House, we love to help our guests organising and planning their day trips and tours. With our intimate knowledge of the area, we can give you an insider’s view on day trips in the area and let you in on some secrets that the guidebooks may not know. Don’t want to drive? You’re on holiday! Let us advise you and book your transport for you.
Here are some of our favourite day trips from Killarney:
The Ring of Kerry
It’s on everybody’s bucket list, and for good reason. The Ring of Kerry is a 180km loop of the stunning Iveragh Peninsula, and, although it may take only a day to drive around The Ring Of Kerry, the memories will stay with you for life. Starting from Coolclogher House, admire the views of Ireland’s highest mountains as you head in the direction of Killorglin and continue along the rugged Atlantic coast. You’ll take in the pretty towns of Cahersiveen, Waterville, Sneem, and Kenmare before you return to Killarney.
In Cahersiveen, admire ancient and recent history with visits to the Stone Circles and the Old Barracks. Stop at Derrynane House, and Gardens/beach the ancestral home of Daniel (“The Liberator”) O’Connell, wonder at the ancient Staigue Fort, and leave plenty of time for breath-taking photo stops, interesting shops, and great food. If you have time, wander off the Ring of Kerry to a the road less travelled, Rossbeigh Beach, and Valentia Island a stop in Kenmare, one of Ireland’s heritage towns. After that, get ready to plunge into the lush scenery of Killarney National Park, making time for Ladies View (named after Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting for her 1861 visit) and Muckross House & Gardens, before you head back to the comfort of Coolclogher House in Killarney.
Dingle, Blasket Islands & Slea Head
About an hour’s drive from Coolclogher House, you’ll find the wild beauty of Dingle, perched on a craggy peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. The town itself is a busy fishing town, full of quirky shops, lively cafes, restaurants, and many pubs.Impromptu music sessions, memorable conversations, and eccentric characters are the order of the day. Leave the town for a while to appreciate the magic of the Slea Head drive, a clockwise route around the dramatic western tip of the Dingle Peninsula. Make time for the stunning beaches and historical attractions including the tiny early Christian church called Gallarus Oratory and the monastic beehive huts.
The Blasket Islands
From the village of Dun Chaoin, 15 km from Dingle, the otherworldly Blasket Islands are just a 20-minute ferry ride away, but their timeless magic makes them feel like another planet. The islands were inhabited until 1953, when all of the islanders left for the mainland. Their unique Irish-speaking culture continues to exert an influence that is celebrated across the world to this day. The island itself is largely undeveloped with a pristine white beach called the Tra Ban and unspoiled cliff walks for you to explore.
Guests at Coolclogher House can enjoy sea fishing for a couple of hours during their visit to Dingle. Fungie, Ireland’s favourite dolphin, who has been busy entertaining visitors off the coast of Dingle since 1983 is another favourite with guests.
Although it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, Skellig Michael (Sceilig Michíl) only really hit the headlines in recent years, when it appeared in the Star Wars movie franchise. Skellig Michael is one of Ireland’s oldest monastic settlements, a testament to the faith and indomitable spirit of the ancient monks, who lived in simple stone huts on an exposed rock in the middle of an unforgiving Atlantic Ocean, subject not only to inclement weather but also to attacks by Vikings.
Take a Trip
Boat trips to Skellig Michael depart from Portmagee in season, and if the boats can land (and you have a head for heights), you can climb the 670 steps to the remains of the monastery, with its beehive huts and commanding views of the Little Skellig. The history of the St. Fionnan’s monastery dates back to 600 A.D., with monks remaining on the island until the 13th century.
The Little Skellig
The neighbouring Little Skellig is home to the second largest colony of gannets in the world, with more than 27,000 of the magnificent seabirds nesting here. Puffins are another favourite here, their rotund little bodies and colourful beaks making a welcome sight as they sidle past. Indeed, they are so charismatic, they even inspired a new Star Wars character – the porg!
Tours of the island are available from Portmagee, but they are weather-dependent and you must book well in advance.
You have heard of the Ring of Kerry, but the Ring of Beara may not be so familiar to you. Once you’ve seen the Beara Peninsula, however, you’ll wonder why it isn’t more famous. Nestled along the wildly beautiful coast between Kerry and Cork, the Beara Peninsula has a unique craggy landscape and magical atmosphere that you won’t want to leave. Drive the 137km Ring of Beara and take in stunning coastal views and picturesque villages while you meander along at your own pace.
The Healy Pass will stay with you long after you’ve seen it. This road cuts through the Caha Mountains between Kerry and Cork and provides all the drama of an epic fairy tale. Catch your breath as you wind your way along the craggy coastline, panoramas of dramatic landscape unfolding around you.
Try to make time to stop in Glengarriff. This oasis of lush greenery is your gateway to the tropical Italian gardens of Garnish Island. If you have enough time, a boat trip out to the Garnish Islands & Italian Gardens is a wonderful treat. The exotic surroundings, serene atmosphere, and magnificent views will make for lasting holiday memories.
The Wild Atlantic Way
When you stay at Coolclogher House, you might be surprised to discover that you are just minutes from one of the world’s longest and most epic driving routes. Longer than either the Garden Route in South Africa or the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the Wild Atlantic Way is some 2,500km of awe-inspiring coastal scenery from Cork to Donegal. Fortunately for you, arguably its most interesting section lies within reach of your accommodation in Killarney, County Kerry.
You can do a good 350km section of the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry. Set out from Killarney to the Dingle Peninsula and enjoy the gentle beauty of Castlegregory and the craggy allure of Slea Head or head for the peaceful retreat of Valentia Island. Or you can drive in the other direction and explore the Kenmare end of the Wild Atlantic Way, as you head toward West Cork.