Killarney, shockingly, is full of Killarney Sights! So many, in fact, that it can be hard to decide what to see. A word of warning, beware of some of the tours which likely won’t take the more adventure-minded people to the places the want to see.
Here is a list of the very best Killarney sights to put on your list:
Killarney National Park – Killarney Sights
This is where all the best Killarney sights are within walking distance of your accommodation. Ireland has just six national parks, and Killarney National Park is a gorgeous place for walking, hiking, or boating. For more information on where to stay in Killarney (and where else to go in Ireland) check out my Ireland 2 Week Itinerary. Here are just some of the things you can see:
At over 500 years old this is one of the best preserved castles in Ireland. Even more interestingly, they’ve done their best to find furniture that matches the original time period, giving you a much better feel for what it would have been like compared to most.
They regularly offer tours during the summer months (which run at least through October). A guide can take you through the shockingly small rooms with a million tripping hazards. From the top there are lovely views of the Loch.
Innisfallen Island – Best of Killarney Sights
This is definitely the coolest thing you can do in Killarney National Park. Just in front of Ross Castle you’ll see a small dock area with a few motorboats. If you ask one of the owners they will take you across the Loch to Innisfallen for around 10 euros each.
Innisfallen is home to the well-preserved ruins of an abbey from the year 640, which remained occupied for over 900 years before being destroyed. Now, it’s home to a colony of adorably small deer. You can make a circuit of the island in about half an hour, which is pretty fun!
Jaunting Car Tours
This is surprisingly super fun! Instead of your average horse drawn carriage, these are small jaunting cars which the horse pulls at a trot (much faster than average). You’ll get blankets in the cooler months to keep yourself warm as it can get quite chilly.
The driver will take you up to Ross Castle by going through the park and by the lake, and give you some interesting information along the way. Don’t book online, go to the meeting place near the entrance to the park, nearish to the train station. If you’re confused, ask at the hotel across from the train station entrance, they’ll tell you. You’ll get a discount for just showing up, rather than booking (we saved about 10euros each).
A bit further than the other options on this list, Muckross House is a beautiful 1800s manor house complete with immaculate grounds. It’s a lovely and scenic spot to stop for lunch on your trip, with a restaurant on the premises.
They also have a great set of traditional farmhouses on the property that you can tour. Traditional workshops are also frequently on display with local pottery and weaving. A great insight into the workings of the Ireland of the past.
Ring of Kerry – Killarney Sights
When it comes to the Ring of Kerry I highly, highly recommend you either take a private tour or rent a car. I’ll be honest I felt like the bus tour we took was primarily a waste of money. Especially since, as I’ve researched for this post, we literally didn’t stop at the vast majority of the amazing Killarney sights to see.
Whatever you do, skip the stupid bog village (although the two Irish Wolfhounds were gorgeous). If you can only do one private tour or you only have time for one thing, I would recommend the Dingle Peninsula over the Ring of Kerry – check out the guide to Dingle to find out why!
Here’s the places you should visit.
Cahergal Stone Fort
A Ring Fort from the Iron Age, the stone walls are still well-preserved and the remains of a home linger inside. Also known as a cashel, this is probably the best and easiest one to see in Ireland. It’s amazing as it just seems to appear on the hill in the mist.
Derrynane is a lot of things. It’s an area, an abbey, a house, and so you can imagine there’s a fair amount to do here. Derrynane House is now a National Monument which sits on 320 acres of historic parkland. This is the house that Daniel O’Connor grew up in, also known as The Liberator – and he had quite the interesting upbringing.
Derrynane has great beaches and history both modern and neolithic. Scenic Killarney Sights are to be had just about everywhere in the Ring of Kerry, but these are particularly lush and beautiful.
Moll’s Gap – Best of Killarney Sights
The only worthwhile place we visited on our group tour, it almost made up for how terrible the rest was. The views in this area are quintessentially Impressionist era Ireland. Around every turn is a painting. Ladies View is a good place to start, said to be one of the most photographed parts of Ireland.
You will need far, far more than the 20 minutes a tour bus will give you to explore. This place is worth wandering through to see the best of the Killarney sights.
Torc Waterfall is also nearby, if you haven’t been waterfalled-out!
Cliffs of Kerry
Said to be even more stunning due to their height than the Cliffs of Moher, you absolutely won’t see these on a regular tour. The roads are too narrow for the large tour buses to pass through.
If you can’t go to the Skellig Isles due to weather or the season you come in, this is the closest viewpoint to the UNESCO World Heritage Islands (where they also did some filming for Star Wars).
If you have time, it’s a great place to do some hiking along the cliffs for spectacular views 1000 feet above the ocean.
One of the nicest beaches in Kerry is Waterville beach, which wanders down along the tiny picturesque town of Waterville. It’s not as rocky as many Irish beaches, and there is a path that goes along the coast for the walkers among you.
It provides some lovely seaside views and it’s a nice photo stop. And that’s it for the Ring of Kerry recommendations!