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Killarney – The Wilderness Guide

By Patricia Doe, General Manager
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A hub for all things adventure, the quaint town of Killarney has much to offer the enthusiastic explorer.

In the heart of Co. Kerry, the colourful and lively town of Killarney provides a fantastic base to explore all of Kerry’s wild places. Bask in the strong lilting accent of the locals, the warmth of the people, the encroaching nature and the cosy pubs.

Here are the top five things to do/see on your trip to Killarney with several more suggestions.

1. Killarney National Park

Walking through the mountains of Kerry.

Acting as a safe haven for the many areas of wilderness, lakes and mountains, the vast Killarney National Park stretches for over 26,000 acres – and sits just at the edge of town. The majestic Muckross House, farm and gardens is one of the focal points, and a beautiful reminder of country life in the 1920’s. Head over to Ross Castle and hire a rowboat or kayak to visit Innisfallen, a magical miniature island on Lough Leane.

Even better, discover Killarney by your own two feet – by either hiking or biking! If you want to really embrace your tourist status, take a jaunting car (open topped horse and carriage) to the Gap of Dunloe. Watch in awe as the native red deer roam freely about the Park. If you are truly lucky you will get a glimpse of the newly reintroduced White Tailed Sea Eagles.

2. Do the Ring of Kerry

Overlooking Ladies View in Killarney NP.

The Ring of Kerry is a 179km long scenic circuit of the Iveragh Peninsula. Take a day to drive it, stopping along the way to capture the many Kodak moments en route. The Ring of Kerry should be on every avid cyclists bucket list who visits Ireland! The best way to see it is from the saddle of a bike. The rolling green hills, the winding back roads, the medieval castles and ruins, the golden beaches and dark blue lochs all combine to capture the rose tinted image of Ireland that many have in their minds eye.

3. Climb Ireland’s Highest Mountain

carrauntoohil-5

The peaks of Carrauntoohil and others in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain rise from the Iveragh Peninsula.

Although our mountains are not considered high, it’s always impressive to boast that you have reached the summit of the highest mountain in a given country. Kerry is home to Ireland’s highest peak. Carrauntoohil stands at 1,038m (3,405ft), but it is still a tough climb! Choose either the Coomloughra Horseshoe route which encompasses the second and third highest peaks, or for those who prefer a challenge, take the MacGillacuddy Reeks. The ridge trail hammers out six peaks in a day’s walk.

4. Walk the Kerry Way

torc_waterfall

Glistening waters of Torc Waterfall.

If you are committing to holidaying in Kerry as opposed to a road trip of Ireland, then you must attempt the Kerry Way. Walk the 213km way-marked trail that will show you the best of the peninsula. It takes 8-10 days to do and can be sectioned off to walk from one accommodation to the next.

If you want a trip that is off the beaten track, then this is definitely for you.  If it sounds too gruelling, simply pick one of the sections to do. The first leg, Killarney to Torc Waterfall is just 6km long. The breathtaking waterfall is worth the sweat and effort alone.

5. Take a Day Trip

healy-pass

Winding roads of the dramatic Healy Pass.

Killarney is ideally located in the centre of Kerry, therefore is the perfect place to leave your luggage in the hotel, rent a car and take a day trip from. The choices are plentiful:

Take time in the evenings to kick back and relax. The town of Killarney has as much to offer as the wild places surrounding it! Spend a night discovering its hidden gems such as sipping whiskey at the counter of old Irish pubs while listening to live traditional Irish music. Check out what festivals will be on at the time you are there. Take a whiskey class at the local brewery. In winter, there are the Christmas markets and in summer, plenty of outdoor concerts. Do the Kerry Craft Trail or the Killarney Mile Road Race… Killarney is not a place that you’ll risk boredom!

Want More? Visit the wilds of Killarney and Kerry with Wilderness Ireland!

If none of these trips whet your appetite, see how you can make a tailor made trip just for you! See also our hiking and biking trips in other exciting destinations in Ireland.

Meet the Author: Patricia Doe

“A Sligo native, Patricia spent several years in the upscale hospitality industry and knows everything there is to know about luxury accommodations in Ireland! A keen cyclist and runner, Patricia has travelled the world - including a honeymoon road trip through Middle America! Patrica is Wilderness Ireland's General Manager, having joined the team in 2015.”

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