Killarney National Park
The Killarney National Park is a national park in County Kerry in Ireland. There are mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls in the park. It is home to 26,000 acres of lush mountains, aboriginal forest, walkways, rivers, castles and stately homes, cycle paths and disused mines, castles and waterfalls, bat caves, and islands populated by swimming deer. It also has the biggest collection of mature trees in one spot in Ireland, well-preserved castles and the country’s tallest mountain range, the McGillycuddy's Reeks.
Killarney National Park has something to appeal to everyone, from adventure junkies (climbing, amazing hiking, canyoning, kayaking) to nature enthusiasts (last herd of native red deer, deer ruts, white-tailed eagles etc) to history buffs (Ross Castle, Muckross House) to families with young or old people (pony-and-trap rides, boat trips etc).
It’s accessible by walking from the town, and even this easily accessible section is stunning. You can see deer here and at the right time of year hear them rut in the early morning.
The Killarney National Park is among the most scenic, the most historic, the most accessible, the most varied, the safest, the most relaxing visitor attractions in Kerry and maybe even in Ireland.
WHAT TO DO THERE
Facilities are many and varied. There are boat trips from Ross Castle to Muckross House, Inisfallen island, the Meeting of the Waters, the Gap of Dunloe, and O’Sullivan’s Cascade.
Outdoors Ireland runs kayaking trips around the lakes for various abilities.
The park has an abundance of cycling trails that take you deep into the wilderness! little traffic and abounding with rabbit, deer and hare. The park side of Killarney town is dotted with bike rental companies that advise on routes to take.
There is also a combined boat-cycle-bus-pony tour of the forests and mountains above the lakes, traversing Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe, Lord Brandon’s Cottage, Kate Kearney’s Cottage, and other scenery.
And in poor weather, there’s plenty of indoor stuff, at Muckross and Ross Castle. There is an excellent tour of Ross Castle, a highly recommended interpretive centre and tour at Muckross House and Gardens. Most of the touring boats are covered.
HOW TO GET THERE
It may be the only such outdoor district on the doorstep of a sizeable Irish town. Accessible by car, train, bike and on foot, the park is easy to get in and out of. The park converges on the town from almost every angle, and its edges are within walking distance of the train station.
There are also bike rentals for €15 for a day scattered around the town. To go to Muckross, or further afield to Toomie’s Wood, you’d need a car or bike.