Best 10 things to do and see in Killarney in under 10 days

October 21, 2006 · 0 comments

1. Jaunting Cars
Take a horse-drawn guided tour by the famous lakes and ancient castles. Jaunting Cars are available for hire at the following locations. Choice of destinations offered. Cost (depending on distance): €25- €57 per jaunting car (up to 4 persons). First Entrance to Killarney National Park (1M). Follow N71 for 3 kms. Car park and jaunting car stand on left. Also available from Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Follow R562 for 5 kms. approx. First surfaced road left after Hotel Europe (unmarked road). Bridge over River Laune. Left at Dunloe Castle Hotel. Left at next junction to Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

2. Ross Castle
Ross Castle is 10 minutes by car from Killarney. It started life in the 15th century as a chieftain’s stronghold but has been adapted many times since. It was opened to the public after restoration in 1990. This Castle may be considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. Probably built in the late 15th century by one of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains. Much of the bawn was removed by the time the Barrack building was added on the south side of the castle sometime in the middle of the 18th century. The castle contains 16th and 17th century furniture.

Picturesquely sited on the edge of Lough Leane, legend had it that the castle would never be conquered by land. In the 17th century, Cromwellian forces successfully attacked the castle by crossing the lake, fulfilling the prophecy. Modern tour guides offer substantial and interesting historical facts, and provide tours of the restored tower and 17th century dwelling house.

After the tour, take the trip to Innisfallen Island on adjacent Lough Leane. It’s home to a ruined 12th-century Augustinian priory where the Annals of Innisfallen, a chronicle of early Irish history, were written. It’s one of the most serene places you’re ever likely to visit. You can take a motor launch but it’s much nicer to row. Ross Castle is open daily (closed November-March) with guided tours every half hour for £3. One-hour water bus tours of the lake, including Innisfallen, cost £5. Rowing boat hire to Innisfallen (two-hour/three-mile round trip) costs £5 an hour.

3. McSorley’s pub.
Probably the most lively place in Killarney, at night at least. Frequent live music with some of the best bands playing during summer months. No cover charge. Great reputation. For the young at heart. Drinking and loudness involved.

4. Muckross House
The focal point of Killarney’s Middle Lake is Muckross House and Gardens. Built for the Herbert family in 1843, the 20-room mansion hosted a royal visit by Queen Victoria in 1861 and many of the items on display date from that occasion. The extensive gardens, famous for their giant rhododendrons, offer panoramic views over the lake and include a 17-acre arboretum. The adjoining Muckross Traditional Farms recreate rural Ireland as it was in the 1930s, with three separate working farms complete with shire horses, donkeys, geese, chickens and traditional farm machinery. Muckross House and Gardens/Muckross Traditional Farms (00 353 64 31440, www.muckross-house.ie). Open daily 9am-7pm. Farms closed November-mid-March, £4, joint ticket £6.

5. Golf
With its world famous golf courses including Killeen and O’Mahony’s Point, Killarney truly is a Golfer’s paradise. Other famous Kerry courses such as Ballybunion, Ring of Kerry, Kenmare, Dooks and Tralee are all within a short drive of Killarney.

6. Walking/Cycle
Killarney National Park is a walker’s and cyclist’s paradise. There are numerous options but try the four-hour/10-mile circumnavigation of Middle Lake. From the ruins of Muckross Abbey, follow Lover’s Walk by the lake shore to the Muckross Peninsula, then along the Arthur Young Trail through one of the largest natural Yew woods in Europe. Keep on to Brikeen Bridge and Dinis Island on the far shore of the lake, returning via Toothache Bridge and Torc Waterfall. £7 for a day’s cycle hire from O’Sullivan’s Cycles, Bishop’s Lane, New Street, Killarney, Co Kerry (00 353 64 31282).

7. Murphy’s Ice Cream, 37 Main Street
Award-winning ice-cream, teas and coffees, chocolates, bakery and other indulgences. Described by ‘Let’s go Ireland’ as “The only cappuccino worthy of the name for 100 miles” and by the Sunday Independent as “The most sinful cakes”. Need i say more?

8. Go to an irish sport event and find out what drives half the population of Ireland (mad). A good place to start is the website of the local Gaelic Athletics Association. Amateur, passionate, popular and a great way to meet locals and understand the culture.

9. Go to Sunday morning Mass. Even if you’re not Catholic its a great way to see and meet locals but above all observe one of the traditions that reveals most about Ireland.

10. Get lost – a personal favorite. Lower your expectations, take a packed lunch, get off the beaten track, take random roads based on their invitingness, stop in the nicest pub around lunchtime, have a pint and a bite to eat, continue and repeat. tip: conentrate on roads that take you up mountains; there are a hundred views around Killarney each just as worthwhile as the famous ‘Ladies View‘. Anyone lacking inspiration should turn left at Molly Darcy’s pub on the Muckross road and visit the ‘blue pool’, a lesser known lake with special qualities, and a little bit of paradise.

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