Not yet an immensely popular destination among tourists, Killarney is indeed a hidden countryside gem. Located in the southwest of Ireland, in County Kerry, you can let your eyes feast on different shades of green, and see before your eyes what “unspoilt nature” actually means as you hike through the Killarney National Park. Tease your taste buds by touring the Killarney Brewing Company, and find out the secret magic making formula behind those irresistible beers! Spend the night interacting with friendly locals at the local Irish pub and singing away to classics like The Beatles. There’s so much waiting to be explored here in Killarney. Listed below are 10 adventurous things to do in Killarney for the ultimate countryside escapade:
1. Take a scenic stroll along Muckross Lake Loop
Much of Killarney’s activities centre around its awe-inspiring Killarney National Park, which is home to several trails and breath-taking views of unspoilt nature at its finest. The Muckross Lake Loop (15 kilometres / 9.3 miles) is a great walk to explore. It’ll bring you through several spectacular spots, such as past Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle, and more. Begin your journey with a free map from the tourist office. You’ll start at Muckross House, a majestic 19th-century Victorian mansion with lots of period furnishings. Muckross House has pretty grounds and gardens worth wandering about, so allow some time for that too.
Address: National Park, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Price: from 10 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm
Contact: +353 64 667 0144
Website: Muckross House
2. Sidetrack to Torc Waterfall
Situated at the base of Torc Mountain lies the spectacular Torc Waterfall. Sidetrack off the Muckross Lake Loop and you’ll soon hear the roaring waterfall cascading into the depths below. It’s especially impressive and powerful after heavy rainfall. To get a better view of the waterfall, climb up the 100 steps to the left of the waterfall. Not only do you get a fantastic angle for pictures, it’s great exercise too! Do note that it’s often crowded with tourists, so go early in the morning if you can!
Address: Co. Kerry, Ireland
Access: 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) from Muckross House
Website: Torc Waterfall
3. Experience castle life at Ross Castle
Feel like an ancient king or queen at Ross Castle! This 15th-century medieval wonder stands tall on the edge of Lough Leane. It is a relatively small castle but it is very picturesque. Don’t pass up the opportunity to experience the peaceful serenity of these grounds! Tours are available, taking you through the main highlights and providing you great insight of the history of the castle. While you can just wander about the castle grounds on your own, the guided tours are highly recommended as they offer great value and you get fabulous views from the top floor!
Address: Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Price: from 4 USD
Opening Hours: 9.30 am - 5.45 pm. Closed on public holidays
Contact: +353 64 663 5851
Website: Ross Castle
4. Discover Killarney’s little gem of Innisfallen Island
Innisfallen Island is certainly a gem in Killarney. Accessible via a boat ride from the back of Ross Castle, this peaceful historic island is indeed a beautiful charm. It’s awash with foxgloves and fern, and you’ll just feel like you’re in someplace magical. On a remote island with the occasional deer walking around aimlessly, it feels great just knowing that you’re away from the hustle and bustle of city life. You’ll have about 40 minutes or so to explore the little island. Check out the incredibly well-preserved monastery and the small Romanesque church that was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. You can also pack some lunch for a mini picnic at the picnic table on the island!
Address: Innisfallen Island
Duration: around 1 hour required
Access: by boat from the back of Ross Castle
Website: Innisfallen Island
Hiking through the stunningly beautiful Gap of Dunloe surely tops many travel bucket lists. With its spectacular landscape filled with majestic mountains, pretty lakes, and peaceful sheep, it’s no wonder why! The total walk is about 7 miles (11.3 kilometres), which will take you about 2 hours on average. Walking around this breath-taking wonder is an experience you’ll never forget. With each step you take, you can feel the light breeze and cool weather, savour the smell of nature, and simply be amazed by its beauty. It is definitely the highlight of a trip to Killarney for walking or cycling enthusiasts!
There are several full day trips available; book yours today!
The Gap of Dunloe Full-Day Tour from Killarney
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
6. Gain a sense of achievement as climb the rocks to the top of the Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a rock climber’s paradise. With excellent quality rocks, it provides an ideal setting for rock climbing. Get a taste of pure Irish adventure when you try out rock climbing and abseiling right in the iconic Gap of Dunloe! You’re in for a real adventure experience that combines exhilaration with a fantastic sense of achievement. When you’re at the top, pause to take in the stunning views of steep sided cliffs and glistening lakes before descending with an amazing abseil experience. Rock climbing can be dangerous so always be mindful and take precautions!
Rock Climbing in the Gap of Dunloe
Price: from 55 USD
Duration: around 4 hours required
Website: Rock Climbing the Gap of Dunloe Tour
7. Hop on a jaunting car
When in Ireland, you have to take a jaunting car for a true Irish experience. It’s the kind of experience that is exclusive to Ireland. Super vintage and nostalgic, it brings you back to the olden days where jaunting cars were the main type of transportation. Carrying people through scenic places like the Gap of Dunloe, jaunting cars are aplenty and you won’t have a hard time finding one. While hiking through the Gap of Dunloe is a great experience, it’s another experience altogether when you’re riding in a carriage pulled by a horse. Not that it’s better than hiking, but it’s a different charming experience when you’re on this vintage vehicle. The standard rate is about 20 EUR (22 USD) per person. The guides are friendly and informative, sharing with you more from a local’s perspective. Taking you through beautiful mountain meadows and through a pass through the mountains, jaunting is certainly an experience not to be missed.
8. Push yourself to greater heights on the Mangerton Mountain
With pretty steep pathways, hiking on the Mangerton Mountain is slightly challenging. But that doesn’t mean only the fit survive here! About a 4-hour hike up to the Devil’s Punchbowl, push yourself to greater heights even though it gets tough. Nothing comes free in this world! Just think of the magnificent views and scenery, and know that it’ll be worth the effort, grunts, and complaints! Set off early and pack some food and plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated (you can even picnic at the top). And remember to check the weather before going, as rain, snow, and adverse temperatures can ruin a wonderful experience.
Arguably one of the top things to do in Ireland itself, the Ring of Kerry is an absolute must when in Killarney! The whole drive takes about 4 hours (179 kilometres / 111.2 miles) without stopping, and you can expect to experience first hand the natural beauty and unspoilt landscapes of Ireland’s Emerald Coast. Make this a whole day affair, because it’s simply impossible to not stop with the plenty of lookout points for Insta-worthy photos to beautify your feed. Expect to see lots of rugged land-meets-sea scenery, rural seaside villages, cute towns, and much more as well! You’ll also pass by incredible places such as the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Cahersiveen, and Ladies Point, which is said to offer the finest view of Ireland. It’s an absolute must-do for a laid-back and relaxing tour. The stunning landscapes soothe even the toughest souls!
Several tours are available. Get started by checking out the one below!
The Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park Tour
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes
10. Sing the night away at an Irish pub
Killarney is famous for its singing pubs and craft beers! Be sure to stop by an Irish pub and sing the night away accompanied by some great drinks. Frequently raved about by many locals and tourists, Courtney’s Bar is a relatively small bar with an authentic traditional Irish charm offering a great selection of beer and whiskeys. With friendly staff, a mixture of locals and tourists, the open fireplace, and a live band singing songs ranging from classics like the Beatles to recent pop bands like The Script, all these little details add to the atmosphere. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself singing along to the music! It’s totally worth popping by if you would appreciate a great drink complemented by an awesome ambiance! They take reservations too, so make sure to book ahead to score a table!
Address: Plunkett St, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Opening Hours: 5 pm - 11.30 pm. 2 pm - 12.30 pm on Friday & Saturday
Contact: +353 64 663 2689
Website: Courtney’s Bar
Bonus: pop by the Killarney Brewing Company for some fine beer tasting
Here’s an additional point, because the Killarney Brewing Company is not to be missed, especially if you’re a hardcore beer fan! Located at the very end of the Ring of Kerry driving route, it is a perfect way to end your day of sightseeing, complete with some delicious, hand-crafted Killarney brews and wood-fired oven-baked pizza! They also conduct tours with beer tasting opportunities and can get a deeper insight into how beers are made!
Fun fact: wonder what’s the magic ingredient behind these fantastic tasty beers? Their hand-crafted beers are brewed using the purest natural water originating from atop Mangerton Mountain, the home of the legendary Devil’s Punch Bowl!
Killarney Brewing Company Tour
Address: Muckross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Price: from 14 USD for the brewing tour
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 3.30 pm, 5 pm, 6.30 pm
Access: at the very end of the Ring of Kerry driving route / 5-minute walk from the town centre
Contact: +353 64 663 6505
Website: Killarney Brewing Company
Step out of your comfort zone on the Emerald Isle
Ireland is frequently dubbed as the Emerald Isle for its spectacular unspoilt landscapes with hilly terrains, sublime rugged coastal scenery, splendid waterfalls, and woodland spreading beneath a skyline of 1,000-metre-plus (3,281-foot-plus) peaks. But beyond its pretty panoramas, the beautiful area of Killarney offers you plenty of opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone. Conquer your fear of heights as you climb the Mangerton Mountain and emerge victorious at the peak, taste all sorts of beers, sing the night away at an Irish pub, and make a wealth of wonderful memories. Here in Killarney, it’s more than just a pretty surface, but an opportunity to seek comfort outside your usual boundaries and discover a part of you that you never knew before.
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