Killarney Ireland: A Place Filled with History and Heritage – An Ultimate Guide of the Top 7 Locations

Muckross House, Killarney, County Kerry

Updated On: June 03, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Killarney is a town in County Kerry, located in southwestern Ireland. It’s a part of Killarney National Park and contains many landmarks, in addition to the park, St Mary’s Cathedral, Ross Castle, Muckross House and Abbey, the Lakes of Killarney, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Mangerton Mountain, the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall.

Killarney won the award for Best Kept Town in 2007. It’s also known as the tidiest and cleanest town in the country.

Ross Castle

One of the most famous castles in Ireland, it is located on the edge of Lough Leane. Built in the 15th century by O’Donoghue Mór, Ross Castle came into the hands of the Browns, who became the Earls of Kenmare and owned an extensive portion of the lands now part of Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle, County Kerry, Killarney
Ross Castle, County Kerry

According to local legends, O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. Ross Castle’s strength proved itself when it became the last stronghold in Munster to hold out against Cromwell’s attacks until It was taken over by General Ludlow in 1652. During the summer months, Ross Castle is open to the public.

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap is at least 11 km from north to south. A narrow Mountain pass between the MacGilly cuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain, that is where The Gap of Dunloe is located. You can take a jaunting car through the pass and return to Killarney by boat. Also, you can go for a ride on your bicycle for morning exercise.

Killarney National Park

The park is located near the town. It was the first park established in Ireland, and Muckross Estate donated it to the Irish state in 1932. The park, which has been expanded to about 102 km, also includes the lakes of Killarney and mountain peaks. It is an area of stunning natural beauty.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

The church was established in 1840 by an architect named Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, and the foundation stone was laid in 1842. However, due to a shortage of funds, the church was constructed later.

MacGillycuddy’s Reeks

MacGillycuddy’s Reeks is a sandstone mountain, and most of the highest peaks in Ireland are found there.

The Lakes of Killarney

These are Lough Leane (the lower lake), Muckross Lake (the middle lake), and the Upper Lake. The lakes are linked and comprise almost a quarter of the park’s area. Although all the lakes are interlinked, each lake has a unique ecosystem. The lakes join at a popular tourist area called the Meeting of the Waters.

Lough Leane is considered the largest of the three freshwater lakes in the region. It is also rich in nutrients.

Muckross is the deepest of them all; The lake lies between the Sandstone Mountains to the south and west and the limestone to the north.

The smallest of the three is the Upper Lake. A 4 km channel separates it from the others.

Things to do in Killarney

Most people know that Killarney is a great destination to go to. Here are some things you can do while you visit this beautiful Irish town:

Take a Jaunting Car Ride

Made up of a horse and cart, jaunting cars are an old tradition for seeing the entire town. The driver and guide are called the jarvey. You will have a great time listening and exploring the city. Jaunting cars are always located in the centre of the town and take you anywhere you want.

For all the visitors, the horses only work every three days from mid-March to mid-October.

Explore the City Centre

The town is a beautiful and amazing Irish city with colourful buildings, doors and flowers. While walking through town, you will see all the pubs with the original publican’s name above the doors. You will find kegs before you enter any pubs, unlike any bar in other countries.

Shopping in the Town Centre

There are many shops and boutiques all over the town. One of the best places to shop is The Killarney Outlet Centre, Ireland’s Premier Outlet Centre.

The centre attracts over two million people each year with its variety of stores, including the famous Nike Factory and Blarney Woollen Mills. It also has many other popular Irish and international outlets that sell jewellery, sportswear, books, coffee shops, and more.

Drive the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry, Ireland | A Cinematic Travel Film

The Ring of Kerry is one of the best tourist spots and is popular with tourists. They stop by to see its beautiful beaches, ancient buildings, panoramic views, and dramatic mountains and valleys.

It’s a must when you are passing or coming through Killarney.

Explore Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall is a waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain, about 8 kilometres from Killarney in County Kerry. It is an easy 5-minute walk from the car park to see these often thundering falls, which are unmissable. It is one of the popular stopping points in this area of Ireland.

Play a Round of Golf

There are many golf courses around the town, such as Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, Ross Golf Club, Dunloe Golf Club, Beaufort Golf Club and Castlerosse Golf Club.

Irish coffee

Irish coffee is one of the best drinks here; you can’t go to Ireland without having a cup of steaming hot Irish coffee. You can try Irish coffee everywhere in town and become an expert in preparing coffee. Some coffee shops worth checking out in the city are Lir Cafe, Curious Cat Cafe and Gloria Jean’s Coffees.

Fishing on the Rivers and Lakes of Killarney

Take a guided fishing trip on the Lakes of Killarney with experienced guides who have a vast knowledge of the area’s lakes and rivers.

Horse Riding in Killarney National Park

It’s an excellent way to see the amazing Killarney National Park. While riding on horseback, you can check out the unique landscape around you from 1 to 3 hours through the park, which includes many sites, such as Ross Castle, Killarney Lakes and various mountains.

Best Killarney Hotels

The International Hotel

A 32-minute walk from Ross Castle, it is located in the perfect town location, making it one of the best hotels. This magnificent 4-star hotel has been welcoming guests for a long time and offers that famous Irish hospitality that makes you want to come back again and again.

The International Hotel is family-run, and it is ready to make you feel at home while you are away from home. You’ll uncover history and charm at this hotel in Killarney.

Muckross Park Hotel & Spa

Ideally located in Killarney National Park and a short 4 kilometres from the town centre. The Muckross Park Hotel and Spa have been awarded the best ‘5-star Accommodation in Ireland’, so you know when you stay here, you’ll be treated like a King or Queen and get the best Irish service.

Luxurious facilities and the nearby Killarney National Park mean you can enjoy the fantastic walks and trails.

The Brehon

The Brehon is 500 metres from the International Conference Centre and overlooks Killarney National Park. This is another hotel in Killarney that will make your trip to Killarney a bit more special. Honest Irish services, comfortable rooms and a relaxing spa at the Brehon Hotel.

The Malton Hotel (The Great Southern Killarney)

The most popular hotel in the area, the Malton Hotel, dates back more than 100 years, making it also one of the oldest in the area. It is one of those places you’ll visit that will take your breath away—a unique and memorable hotel in Killarney surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Killarney Restaurants

There are many great restaurants and cafes in this beautiful town and some famous spots for a good meal.


Located at 26th High Street, Bricin means ‘small trout’ in Gaelic and is also the name of a charming stone bridge on Dinis Peninsula in Killarney National Park. It’s an old restaurant in town owned by brothers Johnny and Paddy McGuire, with natural stone walls, the warmth of antique timber, and the magic of stained glass.

The restaurant serves special dishes such as traditional Irish potato pancakes with a choice of chicken or lamb and, of course, fish dishes.

Quinlan’s Seafood Bar

It has old-style cooking and excellent service and is home to its award-winning wild Irish Smoked Salmon. Famous for its great range of fish meals and snacks, where the fish is delivered fresh every day directly from their boats and ready to be cooked.

Wholesome Fayre Deli and Café

Located on East Avenue Road, it offers fresh meats, salads, dressings, and sandwiches. The restaurant was created by three fabulous chefs working together to create a great one. They use a classic cooking style with a modern touch to give you something different in Killarney.


A 20-minute drive from the town, you should take a short break to the Gap of Dunloe to see Denis Pio Moriarty and his wife running their business in Moriarty’s and taste their cheeses and other artisan foods from West Cork and Kerry makers, along with fresh Kerry lamb to enjoy.

Overall, Killarney is a place filled with great attractions, places to stay, and nice places to eat that make for the perfect break in County Kerry.

We would love to know if you have been to Killarney and what you loved most about the place.

Check out more of our blogs that may interest you:

Take a Trip with Us around County Kerry | Arranmore Island: A True Irish Gem| A Visit to County Wicklow Awaits | Exploring Ireland Ancient East|

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