Killarney has been welcoming visitors for over 250 years. Known for its scenic beauty, atmospheric town and welcoming locals, Killarney is a great base for exploring Kerry – though there is much to experience in Killarney itself.

A visit to Killarney town can lead to a taste of locally made ice cream, enjoying a traditional session in a local bar or a shopping trip to one of the town’s many stores. When it comes to dining, there are many options to choose from, including casual-dining fish restaurants, family-friendly bistros and romantic restaurants for couples.

Killarney National Park contains 26,000 acres of lakes, mountains, waterfalls, woodlands and Ireland’s highest mountain range, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. A popular highlight of Killarney National Park for visitors is Muckross House and Gardens, a 19th century Victorian mansion sat on the shores of one of Killarney’s three lakes. Muckross House and Gardens are open daily for visitors (except Christmas), and the House is only accessible by a guided tour.

Other attractions to visit during your time in Killarney include Ross Castle, where you can hire a boat out on the lakes or to Inisfallen Island, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the only cathedral in County Kerry, Muckross Abbey and Killarney House and Gardens.

Killarney is an idyllic area for any photographer, with a number of spectacular viewing points – including the  popular Aghadoe Viewing Point, Ladies View, located 19km outside Killarney on the N71 towards Kenmare. Photographers and artists may also enjoy the top of the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. The Gap is 11km in length and can be accessed by boat from Ross Castle, or you can rent a bike or jaunting car.

Located 7km outside Killarney on the N71, Torc Waterfall is a sight to behold. The waterfall is 20 meters high and best viewed after a heavy rainfall. A short 1km from Torc on N71 brings visitors to Dinis Cottage, behind which lies the hidden gem Meeting of the Waters, the spot where the three Killarney lakes meet. This area is full of tranquility and peace to enjoy.

It will be no surprise that Killarney is full of outdoor activities, including walks, hikes and cycle routes, horse riding through the National Park and enjoying the views of the lakes and mountains. Take a trip to Muckross Traditional Farm to learn about the traditional farming methods or a horse-drawn jaunting car trip around Killarney town or Killarney National Park. And these are just some of the the activities on land! 

A golfing experience is very popular for those visiting Killarney that wish to experience a round of golf on a prestigious and historic golf club. Killarney Golf & Fishing Club offers two 18-hole courses at Killeen and Mahony’s Point, as well as a 9-hole course at Lackabane. Beautfort Golf Course is a short 10 minutes from Killarney town and offers a superb 18-hole parkland course to enjoy. Explore Killarney by lake, enjoy a boat trip or cruise across the lakes of Killarney, a fishing trip to catch your dinner or a sunset kayak with friends. There is so much to enjoy in Killarney that choosing your favourites will be the biggest challenge!

Killarney’s event calendar is full of entertainment and festivals. The Gleneagle INEC Arena plays hosts to the best of international and national musicians, comedians, singer-songwriters, musicals and acts throughout the year, and their calendar is worth checking out on our events page. Killarney’s festival calendar kicks off in March with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This family festival celebrates everything Irish and takes place over a few days, with the highlight being the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Later in March comes the Wander Wild Festival, a weekend full of unique outdoor experiences from mountain hiking to kayaking on the lakes. Ireland's BikeFest takes place annually over the June Bank Holiday Weekend, a festival full of free entertainment, as well as the Bike Parade, Ride Outs, Custom Bike Show and a super carnival beloved by all the little bikers out there. Celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks and a parade at the 4th of July celebrations, a great family event full of spectacle and wonder! Killarney also has a busy racing calendar with races meetings in May, July and August. Killarney Racecourse is one of the most scenic race courses in Ireland and well worth a visit.

The final festival of the year is Christmas in Killarney, which takes place over a number of weeks in December. The town is dressed in festive decoration, a Christmas Parade takes place every Saturday evening with a special guest, and you can even enjoy a festive sleigh ride!

Festivals in Killarney

Stories from Kerry

Grounded in heritage yet open to ideas, Kerry is a place to gain and share perspective. Keep exploring the county with our latest blogs.