The top attractions to visit in Killarney

If you are looking to discover all that Killarney has to offer, well check out Wild N Happy Travel’s helpful guide to the best attractions in Killarney. 

We will have you experiencing this beautiful destination that uniquely combines a magical national park with a vibrant town. Discover that is nestled on the edge of a vibrant town. Discover through a local guide’s eye the best places to visit, each telling a story of how Killarney has been shaped. From its national park to the ruins of a 15th Century Castle on the Lakes of Killarney, Killarney has so much to offer.

So if you are taking one of our many Guided Tours of Killarney or are simply on a short visit to discover the land of eternal youth, then check out this recommended list of the best attractions to visit in Killarney.

 

1. Killarney National Park

View of Killarney National Park

 Killarney National Park is Ireland’s first National Park and was initially known as the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park and comprised about 4,300 hectares. It was given to the State in 1932 by Arthur Vincent and his parents-in-law, in memory of Maud who died in 1929.

Today the park is called Killarney National Park and it is more than double the size it was in 1932. It includes the three lakes, Knockeer Estate, Ross Island, Innisfallen and the townlands Glena, Ullauns and Poulagower. The options for outdoor activities in the national park are almost unlimited, as they include, hiking, walking, cycling, kayaking and much more. Red deer is very common in the area and it is not unusual that they cross your path without hesitation.

Location and Key Information

Address: The National Park, Dromyrourk, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

 

2. Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

 

View of Muckross House & Gardens

Muckross House is a 65 room mansion house designed by William Burns and completed in 1843. Queen Victoria visited Killarney and stayed at the house in 1861. 

This is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland with house tours, traditional farms, garden restaurant and craft shop to enjoy. In 1932, William Bourne and Arthur Vincent gifted Muckross House and the accompanying 11,00 acres to the Irish State and also created Ireland’s first National Park.

Location and Key Information

Address: The National Park, Dromyrourk, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.muckross-house.ie

 

3. Muckross Abbey

Image of Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey is an ecclesiastical site in Killarney National Park. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan Friary and is 1,5 km from Muckross House.

The central feature of Muckross Abbey is a central courtyard that contains a huge Yew tree surrounded by a vaulted cloister. It is traditionally said that this tree is as old as Muckross Abbey itself. The abbey was burned down in 1654 by Cromwellian forces under General Ludlow and fell into ruin over the years. But also after the Cromwellian war it was used as a burial place of local chieftains.

Location and Key Information

Address: Carrigafreaghane, The National Park, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

 

4. Killarney House & Gardens

Killarney House & Gardens

In the 1720s Valentine Browne built a French chateau style residence on today’s site, which was called Kenmare House as it was the residence of the Earls of Kenmare. 

Since then, the house and gardens have seen many new owners, changes in styles and ultimately a new direction in its life. In 1959, the then owner, Mrs Grosvenor sold the Kenmare House together with 100 km² land to an american syndicate, which resold it to John McShain, an american building contractor in 1959. McShain and his wife extensively renovated the building and renamed it Killarney House. In 1978, they sold the house and most of their grounds to the Irish state in order to protect its beauty and make it part of the Killarney National Park.

In 2011, restoration works began and in 2016 the house was opened to the public. It is now used as a visitor centre of Killarney National Park, offers tours through the historic rooms and the garden and holds changing exhibitions.

Location and Key Information

Address: Killarney House & Gardens, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

 

5. Ladies View

A Mountain Ash Tree at Ladies View

Ladies View is a scenic viewpoint on the Ring of Kerry tourist route. It is located around 19 km south west from Killarney town and is ranked as one of the most photographed places in Ireland. 

The name refers to Queen Victoria’s and her court ladies’ admiration of the view, when they visited Killarney in 1861 and stayed in Muckross House. The view includes the lakes of Killarney and the valley and is breathtaking at every time of the year. 

Location and Key Information

Address: Ladies’ View, Derrycunnihy, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

 

6. Torc Waterfall

Water flowing at Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall located at the base of Torc Mountain. It is 70-80 feet (20 metres) in height and is located around 8 km south from Killarney. 

The waterfalls are a 200 metre walk from the car park just off the N71 road and the climb to the top of the waterfalls is by way of a stone path of about a hundred steps (and circa 55 metres in elevation gain), and takes around 30 minutes to complete. The name Torc comes from the irish translation for “wild boar”, as the area is associated with many legends involving wild boars. You can hike  to the summit of Torc Mountain or walk the nearby Muckross loop trails in blue, red or green for a great experience. 

Location and Key Information

Address: Cloghereen Upper, Killarney, Co. Kerry – Find on Google Maps

Website: www.killarneynationalpark.ie

 

7. Ross Castle & Island 

View of Ross Castle on the Lakes of Killarney


Ross island is a beautiful setting on the shores of Lough Leane on the Lakes of Killarney. The island is famous for having one of the oldest copper mines in Europe, dating back to the Bronze Age (5,00 years ago) and it is also home to a 15th Century castle known as Ross Castle. 

This impressive castle which sits proud on the edge of Lough Leane was once ruled by the O’Donoghue clan and famously was amongst the last to surrender to the notorious Roundheads of Oliver Cromwell. There are daily tours available to enjoy all of its fantastic interior and history.

Location and Key Information

Address: Ross Rd, Ross Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry – Find on Google Maps

Website: www.heritageireland.ie

 

8. The Gap of Dunloe

 

The magnificent Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a stunning glacial formed mountain pass between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks (west) and Purple Mountain (east). Its names from Gaelic (Irish) Dún Lóich, means “Lóich’s stronghold”, otherwise known as Bearna an Choimín meaning “gap of the common-land”.

It is about 11 km (6.8 miles) from north to south and within the valley are five lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough (north to south). These lakes are connected by the River Loe. Between the first two lakes is an old arch bridge called the ‘Wishing Bridge’ so named because it is said that wishes made while upon it are destined to come true.

Location and Key Information

Address: The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Map

 

9. Aghadoe Abbey & Viewing Point

Aghadoe Abbey & Viewing Point

Aghadoe is a spectacular viewing point that overlooks Killarney town, the lakes and mountains of Killarney.  

It takes its name from Acha Dá Eo, which is Gaelic (Irish) for “The place of the two yew trees” which was a tradition to have in churchyards to protect the building and cemetery from evil. The area is famous for its views of the lakes and islands, including Innisfallen Island. There is also the ruins of a 13th century Parkavonear Castle and of “Aghadoe Cathedral,” an old Romanesque church which makes it a stunning location for views, historians and archaeologists. 

Location and Key Information

Address: Aghadoe, Killarney, Co. KerryFind on Google Maps

Website: www.killarney.ie

 

9. Visit Innisfallen Island  

The majestic Innisfallen Island

This is a must do for everyone. The island is located on Lough Leane and is home to a herd of wild deer and the ruins of Innisfallen abbey and monastery which was founded in 640 by St. Finian the Leper

It was occupied for approximately 850 years and during this period, the monks wrote the Annals of Innisfallen, which chronicle the early history of Ireland as it was known to the monks. According to tradition the Irish High King Brian Boru received his education on the island. You can explore this amazing island by hiring a rowing boat or taking the relaxing Innisfallen Kayak Tour from Ross Castle. 

Location and Key Information

Address:  Innisfallen Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry – Find on Google Maps

Website: www.moractivetours.com

 

There are many more places to visit but the list goes on and on. So hopefully my humble recommendations on best attractions to visit has helped you in planning your discovery of Killarney.

If you need any advice on planning or further recommendations on what to see and do, then please feel free to contact one of our many dedicated tour experts. They are full of free knowledge, always ready to answer any questions you might have and will offer you the best advice in achieving your dream holiday.  

Take care and safe adventures!