Killarney is the Switzerland of Ireland. It is undoubtedly, the most favorite tourist destination in the country. People come here for all sorts of reasons. Be it sight-seeing, outdoor activities, food & entertainment or just relaxing. Its central location makes it the automatic start and end of Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. Hence, it is ideal to be based in for a few days, to explore the South-West.
Killarney gained international fame when Queen Victoria visited the town in 1861. Although, the preparations of her visit were so expensive, that the Herbert family (the then owners of the Muckross House) faced a lot of financial difficulties after she left and eventually had to sell the Estate. But on the bright side, Queen’s visit made Killarney a premium travel destination, attracting the rich and the high-class from around the globe. To date, it is one of the most expensive places to visit in Ireland and 23rd famous tourist attraction in Europe.
After a very adventurous trip to the Gap of Dunloe, we settled in for a nice relaxing day viewing the beautiful Killarney.
List of the places to visit:
1. Ladies View
Our first stop, when we left Kenmare for Killarney, and went up the Ring of Kerry on N71, was the Ladies View. It is said, that Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting stopped to look at the scenery from this spot. They were so taken by the beauty of this location that the spot is named after them. And no doubt, it is one of the most scenic views in Killarney, overlooking the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, Purple Mountain, the Upper and Middle Lakes and the hills & valleys.
2. Torc Waterfall
Second on the list was Torc Waterfall. The 60 ft/ 18 m high waterfall is at the base of the mountain Torc. The moss covered woods look like scenes from Hobbit or some fairy-land. Some 100 or so steps on the left of the waterfall takes you to fabulous views of the lakes. For those interested in jaunting car rides, can take one from here to the Muckross House and Gardens. All encompasses the Killarney National Park.
3. Muckross House
So, the next on the list was the Muckross House, the very core of Killarney National Park. The 65 room Victorian mansion, was built in 1843. The extensive Gardens were built at the time Queen Victoria stayed here. Hence, Muckross apart from being immensely beautiful is also historically important.There is an hour-long guided tour to view the inside of the house.
4. Ross Castle
After Muckross, we headed towards Ross Castle – a 15th century structure built in Ross Island by the shore of Lough Leane. This fortress has a long history of battles and legends. It was built by one of the O’Donoghue Ross Gaelic Chieftains. The legend has it that, O’Donoghue exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. After every seven years, he rises from the lake on the first morning of May and circles the lake on his magnificent white horse. Luckily or unluckily for us, it wasn’t May and this wasn’t the seventh year of his grand appearance on the lake… 😀
The Ross Castle
The view from Aghadoe is so spectacular, cannot be described in words. Aghadoe is a large townland overlooking the towns and lakes of Killarney. Nice for a five minutes stop and some memorable clicks!
6. Gap of Dunloe
We visited Gap of Dunloe the previous day. You can read my blog about our fun and adventurous trip to the Gap of Dunloe and Sneem by clicking here.
If you are staying in Killarney for a few days, a trip to Dingle is a must!! I’ll be writing more about it in my later blogs. However, if you plan to visit Dingle do it for atleast 2 days and stay there as well, so that you don’t have to travel back and forth from Killarney everyday.
List of things to do:
1. Boating/Kayaking: Super recommended to do kayaking in the lakes of Killarney. I missed it this time, but its definitely on my to-do list.
2. Jaunting car ride: It’s the easiest and most-fun way to visit the Killarney lakes and stop for some scenic views.
3. Horse riding: You can go horse riding in Killarney National Park. Killarney Riding Stables has some great guided tours for daily trails or you can book a trail itinerary for a few days.
4. Scuba Diving: This was on my to-do list for a very long time and finally I got to do it. Thanks to hubby for being my partner in crime and to support all my shenanigans.
5. Shopping: I’m not the shopping-kind, esp. on a trip to a beautiful location like this. But, in case you are, Killarney town-center has some fabulous boutiques and designer outlets to offer. We visited Quills Woolen Market and bought some sweaters and woolen accessories as souvenirs.
Awesome! Isn’t it? So when are you next visiting Killarney?