Visitors’ guide to the best things to do in Killarney, Ireland. Plan your stay in Killarney with our travel guide to this gorgeous corner of Ireland.
Killarney is one of the most popular vacation spots in the whole of Ireland and all it takes is to look out your car or train window as you approach the town to see why.
Pretty, colorful and surrounded by nature of incredible beauty, Killarney is the Irish town you have in mind when you dream of Ireland and, for many, the highlight of their Irish trip.
There are many things to do in Killarney, to suit most types of travelers. In this guide, we share the best them and out tips to make the most of a stay in this most beautiful corner of Ireland.
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Top things to do in Killarney and Killarney National Park
Killary is a lovely town but is also the perfect base to discover County Kerry and a base to drive the famous Ring.
The best things to do in Killarney, therefore, are a mix of things to do in the city and excursions in the surrounding area.
Take a walk in Killarney town center
Killary is a small and pretty town, with colorful buildings, pedestrian-friendly streets and a plethora of cafes, restaurants and pubs. It is a lovely place for a relaxing afternoon and a great home base to discover the area.
The best way to enjoy the city is to plan a few nights here and take day trips to the many attractions sounding it, enjoying what the city has to offer in the late afternoon and in the evening.
Our favorite places to stay in Killarney are the B&B Old Weir Lodge and the Killarney Hotel, both perfectly positioned to allow easy access to the town’s pretty center without a car.
Visit imposing Ross Castle
Immediately outside the city center, a short car or bike ride away from Killarney town center sits Ross castle, an impressive castle ruin dating back to the 15th century.
The castle overlooks a lake and it is a lovely place to visit: the castle, the colorful boats bobbing on the water and the traditional horse-drawn carriages in the area are atmospheric and a treat for eager photographers!
The castle has an interesting story and it is worth taking part in one of the castle tours to hear about it.
The tours happen at regular intervals during the day in the good season and they are on a first-come first-served basis.
If you are traveling with a big group, advance booking is mandatory.
You can book the tour here.
Did you know? Ross Castle is said to be haunted: according to local stories, every 7 years, on the first of May, his founder O’Doneghue Mor raises up from the lake and circles it on his horse bringing good fortune to anyone who sees him!
Take a walk or a hike in Killarney National Park
Killarney National Par has several walking and hiking opportunities suitable for all levels of fitness.
The most strenuous requires proper equipment and some preparation, however, there are many paths that are perfect for an easy walk and even for kids (the one along the lake was perfect for 3 generations of us: young kids, parents and grandparents!).
Visit Muckross Abbey
If you love ruins and atmospheric places, then you must not miss Muckross Abbey, a short walk from the main park entrance.
Originally a Franciscan Friary, the abbey dates back to 1448 and is now one of the most atmospheric ruins in the whole of Ireland.
The Abbey has an incredible cloister, now half reclaimed by the luscious nature of the park and several rooms that still maintain their original shape but have now the sky as their roof!
Make sure you climb up to the second floor for incredible views over the lake nearby.
Take a tour of Muckross house
Muckross House is only a short walk away from Muckross Abbey but is as different from it as it gets. Unlike the atmospheric abbey, this is an impeccably kept manor house!
The house dates back to Victorian times and can be visited inside joining one of the regular tours offered by the park.
Take a boat tour of the Killarney Lakes
one of the main natural features of the Killarney national park is its lakes and there is no better way to enjoy them on a sunny day than taking to the water.
On a sunny day, you can also take to the water in a more active way: kayaking! To make the most f the experience you can join a kayaking tour that will show you the lakes but also bring you on a tour of Ross Castle.
Take a jaunting cart tour of the park
When you visit Killarney National Park you are likely to notice many jaunting carts, the colorful horse-drawn carriages typical of this area of Ireland.
The carts are pretty to see and the cart tours a fun way to see large bits of the park without getting tired if you have kids, a cart tour can ell stay as one of the highlights of their day!
Drive to Lady’s view
The main area of Killarney national park is beautiful and pristine but if you are looking for more dramatic scenery, then the pace you want to do to is lady’s view.
A short and easy drive up the mountains from the Killarney town center, the view is stunning and one of the most iconic spots in the area.
Visit the Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a beautiful mountain pass near Killarney and a popular spot in the area. You can drive up the pass or you can skip the stress of driving on an Irish mountain road joining one of the day tours in the area.
Go on a day tour of the Ring of Kerry
No article about Killarney would be complete without a mention of the most famous attraction in the area, the famous Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive following the coast of the Kerry Peninsula, one of the most scenic in the West of Ireland and the country in general.
The drive is as beautiful as its fame suggests but can be stressful if you are not used to winding roads or driving on the left. If you have any doubts about tackling it on your own, however, there is a solution: you can catch a bus tour from Killarney and see what the fuss about Kerry is all about, without the stress!
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the best things to do in Killarney Ireland and it helped you plan your Ireland itinerary. Safe travels!