Killarney is one of the most notorious places in Ireland. Home to one of the most amazing coastal routes our island has to offer, the Ring of Kerry is roughly 200km of absolutely tantalizing views offered to you around every bend and hairpin turn. Saying this, the Ring of Kerry is just one of the few things that makes a trip to Killarney so special. You can immerse yourself in the beauty of The Kingdom simply by visiting Killarney National Park where there is an array of activities and a plethora of views to enjoy.
I stayed in Killarney for a weekend during the heatwave this Summer and I couldn’t have been more blessed with the weather. My boyfriend and I booked some last minute accommodation on hotels.com for the Castleross Hotel. It’s a hotel outside of the town, just off the lake with stunning views. It definitely draws an older clientele and is a little bit more on the old fashioned side, but you can’t argue with the views that it has to offer. Being just outside the town and off the lake, it’s the perfect place to be if you are driving for an adventure. Just know that while you will get plenty done in a weekend, there is no way you will leave not wanting more – so another weekend will have to be on the cards again in your future! Below are some of the activities that I did, along with some other activities and views I would recommend.
So, What’s There To Do In Killarney?
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park spans across 26,000 acres of Kerry and offers every landscape known to man. From mountains and woodlands to waterfalls and lakes, there is something there for everyone. Obviously, with such vast land comes vast amounts of activities which you can find on the National Park website in great detail. While I was on my visit we decided to take the Torc Red Trail through the national park. We started by viewing Torc Waterfall before walking down to the lower car park and making our way along the Red Trail known fondly to locals as ‘Cardiac Hill’ (and for a very good reason!). Just cross the road and take a right along the path and you can’t miss the first stoney steps jutting out at the base of the hill. This trail takes roughly 1.5 hours and covers 6km in a loop – and trust my when I say it will give you the best panoramic views of the McGillycuddy Reeks, Lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park! If this trail sounds too strenuous for you, there are tonnes to choose from on Torc and beyond so you will be sure to find one that suits you.
The Gap Of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most famous stretches of road in all of Ireland. The ‘gap’ is actually a glacial mountain pass between the McGillycuddy Reeks and the Purple Mountain. The scenery is some of the most beautiful that Kerry has to offer. There is a series of glacial lakes along the gap which are connected by a single stream known as the ‘pater noster’.
This road starts at near Lord Brandons cottage through the gap, leaving you out the other end by Kate Kearneys cottage. The road is very, very slim and only has room for one car at a time so be warned that it isn’t the easiest of routes to drive. Between jaunting cars and actual cars it makes for a tight squeeze even when you find one of the allocated spots at the side of the road which have been purposefully built for cars to allow pass each other. In saying this, all the stopping and pulling in allows more time for you to take in the scenery – which definitely isn’t a bad thing!
One thing I will say about the Gap of Dunloe is that while the Jaunting Carts bring great trade to the local community, the struggle that these horses face on these hilly, bendy roads with sometimes upwards of 5 people in their cart was hard for me to watch, especially on a hot day. I know it adds to the authentic Irish experience, but if possible, I would urge for people to try and drive themselves or walk the trail!
Another Iconic Viewpoint in Killarney, Ladies View is located between Kenmare and Killarney on the Ring of Kerry and is in the heart of the Killarney National Park. The spot derives its name from Queen Victoria who visited in 1861. If you have been going around the park it is the perfect place to stop, soak in the stunning views and get a bite to eat at Ladies View restaurant.
Killarney isn’t just known for it’s beautiful scenery, it is also known for its vibrant town. Any time I have ever spent in the town of Killarney has been brilliant and it’s because it has so much to offer in the world of food and drink. I have enjoyed many a meal here but I actually can’t recall off the top of my head where they were (no future in food blogging for me, so it seems!) but I can definitely point you in the right direction for a drink and that would be at J.M Reidys on the Main Street.
Spa Breaks In Killarney
Never will you find a region of Ireland that has so many high quality Spa hotels! If adventuring isn’t your favourite thing to do, you can make a relaxing weekend of it in Killarney instead and still enjoy the amazing views from your hotel.
Here are a list of some of the hotels that you can stay in to get the best spa experience, while also enjoying the beauty of Killarney National Park from the comfort of your hotel.
- The Europe Hotel & Resort
- The Dunloe House & Gardens
- Aghadoe Heights & Spa
- The Brehon Hotel (no lake views)
If you are looking for more information on Killarney and things to do and missed the links above you can plan a full trip here. Have you ever been to Killarney? If you haven’t does it sound like somewhere you would like to go? Let me know!