Kerry - Do & See
Killarney National Park
Situated at the foot of Ireland’s highest mountain range, McGillycuddy’s Reeks, Killarney National Park covers an area of 10,000 hectares and is Killarney’s most important attraction. The park is home to the famous Lakes of Killarney, Innisfallen Island and the renowned Muckross House, and has the most extensive areas of natural woodland remaining in Ireland. The park also protects a huge variety of wildlife. The Killarney National Park Visitor Centre at Muckross House is the main information point, with an audiovisual tour and exhibition.
Muckross House And Traditional Farm
Muckross House is, with good reason, one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions. The magnificent Victorian mansion is located amidst stunning botanical gardens overlooking one of Killarney’s lakes. The working traditional farm adjacent to the house recreates traditional farming methods of the 1930s. The walled garden centre incorporates a restaurant and craft shop.
House and gardens open all year round (excluding Christmas). Farm open May-September. Entrance to the gardens is free. Combined tickets are available for the house and farm.
5 km west of Killarney lies the wonderful panoramic view at Aghadoe. From the ruins of the 12th century church and round tower (rumoured to have been a pagan site before Christian settlement) you can look over the Lower Lake, Innisfallen Island and the Gap of Dunloe. A rare and glorious view.
This dramatic 18 metre high cascade can be reached by a winding wooded pathway which begins in the car park outside the gates of the Muckross Demesne. Once at the top, there are glorious views of the lake area, the Black Valley and the surrounding mountains.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral
Don’t miss Killarney’s magnificent cathedral, one of the finest examples of revised Gothic style in the UK and Ireland. Designed by the architect Pugin and finally completed in 1912, this beautifully proportioned building is noted for its long slender stained glass windows and pointed arches. The cathedral was restored in the 1970s and the interior reveals fine stone work and a wood panelled ceiling. Admission free.
The ruins of the Monastery of Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane can be reached by boat from the pier at Ross Castle. The Monastery was an important centre of learning in early Christian Ireland and was the site of completion of the Annals of Innisfallen, now at the Bodleian Library in Oxford University. The island was later much frequented by the romantic poets and writers as a place of peace and inspiration.
The Gap Of Dunloe
Discover mystical Killarney on a stunning day trip to the Gap of Dunloe. Travel by jaunting car to Kate Kearney’s Cottage (11km from Killarney), the starting point of the Gap. From here you can walk, or continue by pony and trap, the 11km to the shore of the Upper Lake and Lord Brandon’s Cottage, where boats await to steer you through the Gap to Ross Castle. The Gap is a rugged series of massive boulders carved out by ice, decorated with an abundance of wild ferns and flowers. A wonderful day out. Open Easter-September 1000-dusk.
This traditional Irish keep built on Ross Island by the shore of Lough Leane was the last place to fall to Cromwell’s forces in 1652. This imposing structure has been restored and furnished in the style of the 17th century. It is accessible by guided tour only and is well worth a look. Admission €5. Open Apr. and Oct., daily 1000-1700 May and Sept., daily 0900-1800 June-Aug., daily 0900-1830.