Killarney was the next stop on our road trip through Ireland after leaving Cork. We made this our home base for three nights. Killarney is the perfect jumping off point to drive the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle peninsula, but it has a lot to offer on it’s own too! Check out the best things to do around Killarney.
Ross Castle was built in the 15th century on Lake Leane in Killarney National Park. It’s only a five minute drive from downtown Killarney. It was once the ancestral home of the O’Donoghue clan. Although we didn’t have time to visit the inside of the castle, you can do so for 5 euros. (Please note that Ross Castle is closed in the winter). For more information, check out the link here: Visiting Ross Castle.
Further into Killarney National Park, you’ll find Muckross House. This 19th century Victorian mansion sits on Muckross Lake, surrounded by bright gardens. It costs between 8-10 euros to visit the inside of house, though you can walk the grounds for free. (which is what we did). It’s only a 10 minute drive from downtown Killarney and worth the visit if you’re staying in the area. For more information on visiting and tickets, click here: Muckross House.
Another 5 minutes up the road from Muckross house, you’ll come across another beautiful site: Torc Waterfall. There is a free parking lot off the road, and it’s about a 10 minute walk through the woods to get to the waterfall. It is part of the National Park, free to visit and a quick stop if you’re exploring the surrounding area of Killarney. (We technically stopped here the day we drove the Ring of Kerry but it’s so close to Killarney I wanted to share it here).
Gap of Dunloe
If you’re not staying in Killarney long enough to do the Ring of Kerry, visiting the Gap of Dunloe will give you a taste for some of Ireland’s natural landscapes that are so famous in this region. The Gap is a mountain-pass about 15 minutes driving from Killarney center. There is a free parking lot, where most people leave their cars and walk from there. We didn’t see any signs warning against continuing the drive along the road, but we followed suit and set off on foot. We only made it to the Wishing Bridge, since it would take over an hour to make it to the actual Gap. Separate from walking, I’m assuming you could also drive there or take a horse and carriage ride which were available near the parking lot.
Killarney itself is a quaint town to explore. When you walk down the main roads, live music pours out of pubs and everyone is popping in and out of shops. One evening while in Killarney, Mark and I even had time for a date night to do a whiskey and chocolate tasting in one of the local pubs. We learned about different types of Irish whiskey and sampled local chocolates along with them. For more information on this experience, check out the link here: Irish Whiskey & Artisan Chocolate.
Stay tuned for our post about driving the Ring of Kerry!