If your idea of a perfect Ireland trip includes rolling green hills, clear blue lakes, and charming, colorful villages, then visiting Killarney is a must. This picturesque town in the southern part of the beautiful County Kerry only has a population of 15,000 but it thrives in tourism, with Killarney National Park as its main attraction. It’s also home to historic attractions that beg to be discovered.
Planning to visit Killarney soon? Here are our tips to make the most out of your trip.
1. Know your accommodation options in Killarney
One of the perks of being a tourist hub is Killarney has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. It’s also a great base for travelers who’s want to stay longer and explore some of Ireland’s most beautiful attractions.
If you’re willing to splurge, you can find luxury hotels, charming manor houses, and boutique hotels in Killarney that will make you feel like a VIP. For those who’d love to lodge like a local and see more of the Irish rural landscape, there are homey B&Bs and guesthouses to choose from. If you’re traveling on a budget, there are a lot of backpacker hostels and cheap hotels that will suit your budget.
Killarney is a gem but not hidden. In fact, this south Ireland town can get crowded especially during peak months. Book your accommodation in advance to secure availability and better rates.
2. Getting in and around via public transportation
Killarney can be reached via car, bus, or train. It’s also easily accessible from other major cities like Dublin, Galway, and Cork. If you plan to travel by air, Kerry Airport is about 13km (7 miles) from the city centre.
Just take note that some B&Bs and upscale properties are located in the outskirts of the city. While they’re ideal for travelers who are planning to rent a car, other travelers who rely on public transit might have a hard time visiting the city centre.
When booking a hotel in Killarney or any accommodation, check the property’s proximity to your target attractions to avoid burning your cash to cabs.
3. Ride one of the jaunting carts
Looking for a fun way to explore Killarney? While it’s easy to get around by foot, you might want to get some help from our four-legged friends. You’ll notice horses and carriages throughout the town. These “jaunting carts” are a great way to discover the sites around Killarney National Park.
Aside from the fun ride, you’ll also learn a lot of things about Kilkenny from a local perspective — thanks to our accommodating and knowledgeable drivers.
4. Best (and worst) times to visit Killarney
If you’re visiting Killarney for the best weather, we’d recommend going during the last weeks of May until September. The weather is great, with limited rainfall and a soft or pleasant atmosphere.
Just keep in mind that Killarney is quite popular and it can get touristy (and expensive) during the summer months (June, July, and August). The busiest month for tourism is in July, followed by August and June. Expect hotel, flight prices, and tour packages to surge during these months.
With all things considered, you might want to time your trip in May and September, when the weather is nice and the season is low. Tourism is also slow during the autumn (September to November) and it’s a good time to visit if chilly weather doesn’t bother you.
5. Top-rated places to visit & things to do in Killarney
Now that you know when to visit, where to stay, and how to get around Killarney, let’s talk about the main reason why you’re there: to experience the beautiful destination,
Whether you’re here for a romantic getaway or a group trip with friends and family, here are top-rated places to see and things to do:
Visit Killarney National Park
- This is the first national park in Ireland. It encompasses over 102.89 km² of diverse ecology including the Lakes of Killarney, Torc Waterfall, woodlands, mountain peaks, and the only red deer herd in Ireland. Killarney National Park is also home to many of the main attractions in Killarney including Ross Castle, Muckross House, and Muckross Abbey.
Take a jaunting cart and visit Muckross House and Gardens
- Muckross House is a 19th-century Tudor house that epitomizes the grandiose lifestyle of the olden days. Step inside to adore its elegantly furnished interiors. Check out Muckross Abbey too, an Old Irish Monastery that’s only a five-minute walk from the mansion.
Visit the 15th-century Ross Castle
- Ross Castle is one of the most historic locations in the region, renowned for being one of the last strongholds to fall to Cromwell’s forces in the mid-17th-century. The charming castle looks like it’s taken straight from a fairytale book, overlooking the picturesque lake and distant mountains.
From Ross Castle, take a boat trip on the Lakes of Killarney
- The Lakes of Killarney is comprised of three lakes: Lough Leane, Muckross Lake (Middle Lake), and Upper Lake. There are several walking, hiking trails, and boat tours to enjoy. If you’re just there for viewing, head to Ladies View, which is one of the most beautiful viewing points for these lakes.
Head to Innisfallen Island in Lough Leane
- The historic island is home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland; the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey.
Walk around Killarney Town
- The colorful downtown of Killarney is packed with everything you’ve ever wanted for your Ireland culture trip: quirky storefronts, amazing restaurants, cafes and pubs, cozy breweries, and friendly locals.
Drive along the Ring of Kerry
- The Ring of Kerry is the best-known driving route in Ireland. It’s one of the most scenic drives too, offering sights of rugged, majestic landscapes and crashing waters of the Wild Atlantic.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel and lifestyle writer. Aside from taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Cahernane House Hotel Killarney.