Killarney Things To Do & See on your holiday
Ring of Kerry – full day tour
166km of magnificent scenery, where a different vista awaits to greet you at each twist and turn of the road. This circular anti-clockwise tour from the bustling town of Killarney with its many shops, pubs and restaurants follows the River Laune to Killorglin famous for Puck Fair each August, then onto Glenbeigh and 5km of beach at Rossbeigh. Continuing on our journey to Caherciveen where the great Daniel O’Connell was born. Take a detour for Portmagee and Valentia Island, back to Portmagee and on to Ballinskelligs, panoramic views of Skellig Rocks. Then to Waterville, which many years ago was a favourite haunt with Charlie Chaplin, more recently where Tiger enjoys a round of golf. Travelling along the coast via Coomaksta Pass, stopping at Derrynane where secluded beaches await and where Daniel O’Connell eventually settled, onto Caherdaniel, Castlecove and to the village of Sneem. Here you have the option of travelling over the mountain to Molls Gap or continuing on the N70 to Kenmare, before heading up the mountain to the magnificent views of Molls Gap and Ladies View – watch out for the Leprechaun Crossing. On your descent down to Killarney, the mountain road twists and turns giving you fabulous views of the 3 lakes of Killarney and the flora a fauna of the region.
This is a full days tour – but, you will be sure to want to revisit as there are many a narrow winding lane off the main Ring, passing through wild countryside giving you spectacular view of the Atlantic.
Dingle & Slea Head – full day tour
The Dingle Peninsula is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area, steeped in history and ancient sites. Dingle Town, renowned for traditional music with its many pubs, seafood restaurants, and shops. Dingle is also home to Fungi the Dolphin. Along winding roads abundant with fuchsia hedgerows by the roadside, through small villages, historic ancient sites, the marvelous sandy beaches, Inch with 6km of sandy beach, breathtaking cliffs and deep coves, the scenic drive of Slea head and the panoramic views of the Blasket Islands, to the dizzy heights of the Connor Pass with breathtaking views over Dingle and Tralee Bay, a drive not for the faint hearted. Dingle Town is just a 61km leisurely drive from Fossa, like the Ring of Kerry the flora and fauna is prolific on this spectacular peninsula.
Gap of Dunloe – full day tour
Not to be missed. Do not forget the camera! This day tour takes you by vintage bus from Fossa to Kate Kearneys Cottage, where you alight and have the option of walking 11km through the Gap to Lord Brandons Cottage or you may take a Jaunting Car or Pony. The road zigzags up through this glaciated valley, with its magnificent views, isolated lakes, the chance to see white-tailed eagles soaring through skies. Descending via the remote Black Valley to Gearhameen and Lord Brandons Cottage on the shores of the Upper Lake. Here you have time for a picnic lunch before the boats depart Lord Brandons to bring you on the final leg of this tour. The boatmen will entertain you on your journey down through the 3 Lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle of folklore and stories of Killarney. On your arrival at Ross Castle the vintage bus will return you to Fossa.
Ballaghbeama & Caragh Lake – ½ day tour by car
This ½ day tour takes you from Killarney to Molls Gap, through the Black Valley and the south side of Carrantuohil, over Ballaghbeama and onto Caragh Lake. This drive is not for the faint-hearted, 96km of wonderful rugged scenery over the mountains, the drive from Molls Gap to Loch Brin needs careful concentration, while the road is surfaced it is very narrow with only space for one car and very few passing places, sheer drops, a maximum speed limit of 15-20kms. Caragh Lake is one of the largest lakes in Kerry.
Beara Peninsula West Cork – full day tour by car
From Killarney a combined route of approximately 248km, best done over 2 days, this peninsula is probably the least developed, but, that is not to say it is any less spectacular. This panoramic route follows the coast. A rugged landscape of smugglers coves. The roads – like Ballaghbeama – are not for the faint hearted, they twist and turn and are by in large very narrow with steep climbs and dramatic falls, but what scenery to be seen. Some places of interest along the way, Derreen Gardens and Woods, Standing Stone at Gortgariff, Allihies, where there are remains of copper mines which were immortalized in the ‘Hungry Hill’ by Daphne du Maurier, Dursey Sound – take the cable car (weather permitting) over the sea to Dursey Island, Puxley Hall, Dunboy Castle, Blue Pool at Glengariff and Garnish Island, Pass of Keimaneigh, Gougane Barra and not forgetting the Healy Pass. Suggested route: Peninsula day 1 (approx 230km) and Inland Day 2 (approx 155km).
A 30 minute drive from Fossa over the mountain passing through Castlemaine, birthplace of the Wild Colonial Boy and you arrive in Tralee, the capital town of Kerry and home to the ‘Rose of Tralee‘. Shopping and Visitor attractions in abundance should the day be soft, Siamsa Tíre, Blennerville Windmill and Steam Train, Kerry County Museum, The Geraldine Experience, and the Kingdom Greyhound Stadium offers a great night out of entertainment and craic with family and friends.
North Kerry offers in total contrast to the scenery of South Kerry. Along the North Kerry coast there are kilometres of excellent sandy beaches, at Beale, Ballybunnion and Banna Strand, ideal for swimming, surfing and angling. Ballybunnion also has some unique seaweed baths. Top class golf can be enjoyed at Ballybunnion just ask Bill! – Bill Clinton that is!
History both modern and ancient is all around you in North Kerry. Fenit, Kerry’s Patron Saint St Brendan was born here in AD484, a castle in nearby Barrow was built by the Anglo-Norman Fitzmaurice in the 13th Century and Roger Casement attempted to bring guns ashore for the 1916 Easter Rising, which led to Irish Independence. Ardfert – medieval churches and Friary. A perfectly preserved 10th Century Irish Round Tower can be found at Ratoo. Carrigafoyle Castle built in 1490 is just outside Ballylongford. Tarbert Bridewell Interpretative Centre an 1830’s Courthouse recreation. The Knight of Glins Castle a refurbished Great House can be found on the N69 to Listowel. Listowel, this lively North Kerry Market Town is home to the renowned literary writers John B Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Brendan Kennelly and Seanchaí storyteller Eamonn Kelly. Visit Seanchaí The Kerry Literary & Cultural Centre and Listowels 12th Century Castle. Take a stroll around The Garden of Europe or take a trip on the unique Lartigue Monorailway. On the Listowel to Tralee at Leam, Kilflynn, road you will find A Day in The Bog Museum & Boglands Information Centre, where you can see the skills and customs associated with turf cutting. Castleisland, another busy Market Town where you will find Crag Cave which was discovered only as recently as 1983 and is thought to be over 1 million years old.
Killarney National Park – 10,121 hectares
Most of the National Park is motor vehicle free area, while walkers, cyclists and jaunting cars are permitted in all suitable areas.
At a glance some places to visit within the National Park:
Muckross House & Gardens
Muckross Traditional Farms
Meeting of the Waters
Take the Waterbus cruise on Lough Léin (Lake of Learning). Some notable landmarks include Ross Island and the 4,000 year old copper mines, the oakwoods at Tomies Mountains, the ruins of the medieval monastery on Inisfallen Island.
Killarney National Park is a walkers delight, from a leisurely stroll at Muckross House and Gardens, rambles to moderate walks along by the lakes to hiking the Kerry Way, for the more adventurous mountaineering on the MacGillycuddy Reeks.
An unhurried, but traditional way to see Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Gardens or Ross Castle, Knockreer Estate and Loch Léin is by Jaunting Car. Guided pony trekking is also available in the National Park.
Killarney National Park is host to an abundant array of flora and fauna, home to the Red and Sika Deer, a naturists heaven, in Spring when the Rhododendrons bloom, fields of bluebells, the colours are ablaze all Summer long. In Autumn the trees turn to golden colours of yellows, oranges, browns and reds. Here in Beauty’s Heaven in all of Mother Earths seasons there really is something for everyone to see and enjoy.
For the cyclist – ½ day tour
A ½ day tour, from Fossa along the Fossa Way entering the National Park either at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club or by the Castlerosse Hotel to the Knockreer Estate and Knockreer House and Gardens, Deenagh Lodge following the Deenagh River along the lakeshore to Ross Castle taking in Ross Island, viewing points around the island include the Old Copper Mines, Governors Rock, Hydes Bay, Honeycomb Bay on to Library Point back to Ross Castle along the lakeshore and through the Game Wood and back out on the Fossa Way. Allow a full day for the Muckross/Dinis tour. 22km circuit takes in Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Gardens, cycling through yew woods to the middle lake, Colleen Bawn Rock. Yews, Oaks, Holly and Arbutus woods to Bricín Bridge, Meeting of the Waters to Dinis Cottage and Torc Waterfall, and back to Muckross Abbey. For the more energetic and adventurous you can relish in a 48km tour via the Gap of Dunloe, Black Valley to Molls Gap and Ladies View following the N71 to Killarney Town.
Killarney Town Centre (Cill Airne – The Church of the Sloes)
Now you’ve toured part of the ‘Kingdom of Kerry’ and seen some of Beauty’s Home and her delights, so why not give the car the day off. Hop on the bus, (the bus stop is on our doorstep) and on into Town.
Killarney Town is a lively tourist town, bursting with colourful shop fronts with enchanting floral displays to show off their wears. Art & craft shops, souvenirs, book shops, antiques, galleries, traditional Irish handcrafts, jewellery linen & lace, crystal, Aran hand knits and Donegal tweeds. Nestled in amongst the shops are a vast array of bars, cafes and restaurants offering Irish and International cuisine and catering for all budgets. There are only 3 main streets in Killarney, but, hidden down many a cobbled laneway you will find further small shops and cafes.
Places of historical interest in the town are, Killarney House & Gardens, St Mary’s Cathedral, Franciscan Friary, St Mary’s Church of Ireland, Knockreer House & Gardens, to name a few. Take the Town Trail. A signposted walking tour of Killarney giving you information of the history of this famous tourist stop (a guide booklet is available in the Tourist Office).