Nestled in a mountain valley on the edge of a glorious lake, Killarney is renowned for its natural beauty and has been a favourite tourist destination since the 18th century. Further developed as a tourist centre by Lord Kenmare, the town and its stunning surroundings attracted royalty and dignitaries with their legendary charm and air of romance.
Today Killarney town blends quaint tradition with contemporary style and service. The Jaunting Cars still carry visitors around the scenic highlights and the picturesque laneways are as bright and colourful as ever, but the bustling streets are now lined with independent craft shops, small galleries, traditional pubs, fine restaurants and plenty of accommodation options, making the town a great base to explore the Region’s lush landscape and stunning vistas. After all, it was nature itself that first began to draw the crowds.
Killarney is the gateway to the Killarney National Park, one of the country’s best-loved parks, with its magnificent scenery, famous lakes and numerous historical and archaeological remains. You can visit the stunning Victorian Muckross House, the atmospheric ruins of Muckross Abbey, medieval Ross Castle or the tranquil ruined Monastery on Innisfallen.
Throughout the park the rich forest drips with moss and fern, the mild climate here supporting a diverse range of plant species and playing host to a series of sub-tropical gardens unique to this part of Ireland. Exotic species such as rhododendron and azalea thrive here adding a blaze of colour to the picture postcard views at every turn. Elsewhere picturesque waterfalls cascade between the rocks making their way down the slopes to the stunning lakes at the heart of the park.
West of the Killarney valley the dramatic MacGillicuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range, form a backdrop to the park and offer fantastic outdoor opportunities for hikers and climbers. The area also offers ample choice for golfing, fishing, horse-riding, canoeing, cycling and swimming, letting you choose how best to experience the natural highlights of the area.
Take a leisurely lake cruise, explore the dramatic Gap of Dunloe or enjoy the ethereal mists at Ladies View and soon you will understand why this area has been an inspiration to poets, writers, artists and musicians for many centuries.