The town of Killarney hardly needs an introduction. Nationally and internationally renowned as the undisputed centre of tourism in the South West of Ireland, Killarney has it all. While its wild beauty and glorious scenery have, for centuries, established it firmly in the affections of all who have visited, Killarney is also a thriving commercial town offering an abundance of attractions and entertainment. Over seventy pubs line the streets of this Kerry town while a vast array of restaurants and accommodation ensure that every imaginable taste can be catered for. The popularity of the town is not a modern day phenomenon though. It has welcomed visitors for over 200 years. Famously, one particular lake view was dedicated to the Ladies in Waiting of Queen Victoria, who visited the area in 1861. Travel around its famous lakes, walk through its picturesque streets or relax in its many cafes and pubs. Some of Killarney’s best attractions include:
Muckross Gardens & National Park
Location and botanical collection make this one of the greatest gardens in the world. Many tender and exotic trees and shrubs flourish in the mild climate and sheltered location of Muckross Gardens. Attractive features include a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, an outstanding rock garden on a natural rock outcrop and beautiful tree fringed lawns. There is a great collection of dwarf and slow-growing conifers, prostrate shrubs and climbers and alpine perennials. Killarney National Park was Ireland's first (and is now Ireland's largest) national park. The park itself covers over 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of mountain, garden, park, woodland, waterway and moorland. It has an unusual and varied ecology as a result of its geology and the climatic influence of the Gulf Stream. The red, mountainous sandstone uplands support large areas of blanket bog. The remoteness and relative inaccessibility of some of these areas helps the continued survival of Ireland's only remaining wild herd of native Red Deer. The well preserved remains of Inisfallen Abbey, a monastic settlement which was founded in the 7th century and remained inhabited until well into the 14th century, can be seen on an island in Lough Leane. Muckross Abbey, built in 1448, the central feature of which is a huge Yew tree, said to be as old as the abbey itself
Lakes of Killarney:
Situated in the National Park, the world-famous Lakes of Killarney comprises three individual lakes. Lough Leane, measuring some five miles long and with over 30 small islands, is the largest; Muckross Lake lies in the middle; while the Upper Lake is also peppered with magical islands, each filled with a pleasing variety of trees and shrubbery.
This Castle may be considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain but it was probably built in the late 15th century by one of the O'Donoghue Ross chieftains. It is surrounded by a fortified bawn, its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. 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. Access for people with disabilities to the ground floor only by prior arrangement.
Occupied by the Franciscans in 1448, the abbey was suppressed during penal times. The surviving ruins include a 15th century nave, a magnificent window, a belfry tower and south transept. The striking cloisters, which have 22 arches set about an open court, are rendered more dramatic by a giant yew tree reputedly dating from the abbey’s beginning over 500 years ago.