Choose from 12 Fun Things to Do in Killarney
- With lakes, greenery, and mountain peaks surrounding it in all directions, Ross Castle is one of Killarney National Park’s finest photo opportunities.
- Ross Castle is not well-suited to visitors with mobility impairments. Many parts are difficult if not impossible to access because of steep inclines.
- Tours are limited to a maximum of 15 people; arrive early to ensure a spot.
- A one-way walk along the length of the pass, from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandon’s Cottage, typically takes about 2.5 hours.
- Wear comfortable footwear and bring rain gear in case of showers.
- Choose to end your tour on a high note by adding an optional boat ride across the Lakes of Killarney.
- If you are afraid of heights, kissing the Blarney Stone may not be for you, as there is a long drop below it.
- The stone is located on the castle’s roofless battlements, where visitors are exposed to the elements. Bring rain gear and sunscreen so you aren’t caught off guard by the weather.
- The Blarney Stone is only accessible via a steep, spiral staircase.
- Muckross House is a must-see for history and Victorian architecture buffs.
- A Killarney National Park information center is located at Muckross House.
- The estate has an on-site restaurant overlooking pretty flower beds.
- The house is accessible to wheelchair users as are the gardens, with the exception of the rookery. An accessible shuttle bus transports visitors to the farms, though the farm sites themselves are only partially accessible.
- Killarney National Park is a must-visit for walkers, wildlife lovers, and history buffs.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring rainproof gear, as the weather here can be unpredictable.
- Day tours typically last between six and 11 hours.
- Most areas of Muckross House are accessible to wheelchair users. Ross Castle has only limited accessibility.
Explore southern Ireland on a road trip along the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile (180-km) scenic route of narrow roads winding around the Iveragh Peninsula. As you cruise along the Atlantic Coast on this mountain road through Kells, Derrynane, and Glenbeigh, you’ll find a number of impressive sights.
Most travelers start and end the loop in Killarney and make stops all around County Kerry to see historic seaside villages, Killarney National Park, the rugged Atlantic coast, and a few Irish castles. Many tours depart from other Ring of Kerry towns such as Sneem, Parknasilla, Cahersiveen, and Killorglin, the home of the famous Puck Fair festivities, but if you need transportation to southern Ireland from elsewhere in the country, Ring of Kerry day tours are offered with starting points in Dublin, Kenmare, Cork, Limerick, and Kinsale.
Things to Know Before You Go
- As with many ring roads, there is little room to pass at some points. It’s good to note that all tour buses travel counterclockwise from Killarney and that self-driving travelers can head clockwise for less traffic.
What to See Along the Ring of Kerry
From Ross Castle and Muckross House to Torc Waterfall, Bog Village, and the glacial valley of the Gap of Dunloe, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled and your camera out. The ring also passes the golden beaches of Inch Beach, the Lakes of Killarney, the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, Ladies View, and Dingle Bay looking out to the Dingle Peninsula. The coastal side of the loop offers a taste of the Wild Atlantic Way, and in County Kerry’s Waterville, visitors tend to stop for photos with the waterfront Charlie Chaplin statue.
How to Tour the Ring of Kerry from Dublin
The Ring of Kerry loop is one of the most popular day trips available from Dublin, as WiFi-equipped coach tours make it easy to see dozens of sights in one day. Bus tours depart from a main street in Dublin city center and head out on a four-hour drive 185 miles (300 km) southwest to then embark on the 110-mile (180-km) loop. Day trips tend to be quite long (upwards of 14 hours) due to all the driving. If a single day isn’t enough, multi-day tours include accommodation and allow you to see more at a slower pace. The ring can also be reached from Dublin on a rail tour, during which travelers take a train to Killarney and then hop on a coach bus to ride the ring.
Founded in 1440 as a Franciscan Friary, Muckross Abbey has an exciting and violent history typical of Ireland. In 1589 the monks were expelled by Elizabeth I, and in 1653 Oliver Cromwell's troops burnt it down when he reclaimed Ireland for the English bringing to an end the Irish Confederate Wars. Despite this setback, the friars continued to live here until 1698 when the new Penal Laws against Roman Catholics introduced by the English occupiers forced most in exile in France or Spain. These days it is a ruin but one of the most complete examples of Irish medieval church building you'll see.
Today, the Abbey still has its bell tower and church, and massive gothic arcades and arches. Four of Ireland's leading poets of the period were buried there, three in the church, one in the nearby cemetery. In the centre of the inner court is an old Yew tree. This grew from a sapling taken from the abbey on Innisfallen Island and planted in the new abbey at Muckross. In turn, a slip from this tree was planted at the abbey in Killarney Town.
Within the Killarney National Park, the abbey is a five minute walk from the carpark of Muckross House. It is 3 miles (4.8km) from Killarney Town.
Here on Aghadoe Hill stand the ruins of the 12th century Aghadoe Church and Round Tower. There was a monastery on the site since the 7th century, however, founded by St Finian Lobhar, and no wonder as the views are sublime and perfect for a life of contemplation. There are lakes and at night the town lights of Killarney twinkle, alongside the flood lights of Ross Castle in the distance, although that is a bit more recent dating from the 15th century! To appreciate the landscape, you'll find a few benches nearby so bring a picnic.
Although ruined, there is still plenty to see of interest at Aghadoe Church. The Romanesque door is well-preserved, there is a carved crucifixion scene on another sandstone block, two ca rved faces on the eastern window, and an Ogham Stone - carved writings in the ancient Celtic language. Not much is left of the Round Tower. It is really just a small stump of the sandstone building standing in an old cemetery.
Not far north-west of Killarney (2 miles / 3.2 km), the ruined church and tower are close to the Aghadoe Heights Hotel. You can park in a carpark just before the hotel and walk across to the church.
- Though Dingle is part of an Irish-speaking area known as a Gaeltacht, English is widely spoken.
- Like most of County Kerry and Ireland as a whole, Dingle’s weather can be unpredictable, so rain gear is a must.
- Book a boat tour from Dingle during summer and you might spot killer whales, minke whales, or even humpback whales, all in addition to several species of dolphin.
The Uragh Stone Circle, a neolithic stone circle with some stones reaching almost 10 feet tall, is also located along this journey. A few islands are located just off the coast of the peninsula. One in particular is Dursey Island which is reachable by cable car. Healy Pass offers the best viewing point on the Beara Peninsula. A rock tunnel called Caha Pass connects Kenmare to Glengarriff in Cork County. There is also a 122 mile walking trail for those who would rather take it slowly and see the area on foot.