Lough Leane is Killarney's largest lake and a popular spot for boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. This lake has a long history with the local O'Sullivan clan, who lived on its shores. In fact, it was known as the Lake of Learning because many famous scholars came here to study with their tutors at Ross Castle.
Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 179km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula, which can be explored by car or bicycle. It's known as one of Ireland's most famous tourist trails and has been voted one of the leading places to visit in Europe by National Geographic. The ring itself is part of the Wild Atlantic Way—a long series of roads stretching from Kinsale to Achill Island that showcase some of Ireland's most stunning scenery. The scenic drive will take you past miles upon miles of rugged cliffs, green hillsides, and sweeping beaches before looping back on itself to return home again.
Kerry Way walking trail
The Kerry Way is a long-distance trail in County Kerry, Ireland. It begins at the town of Killarney and ends in Sneem, passing through many of the most scenic parts of southwestern Ireland.
The trail can be walked or cycled for part or all of its length. A map book is available from most shops selling outdoor equipment in Ireland, as well as from many tourist information centers along the route (see "Getting Around," below). The entire walk takes about 16 days, though there are also options to walk shorter sections such as Tin Mine Valley (about 6 miles), which climbs high up onto MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range before descending into a beautiful valley containing waterfalls and lakes.
Several other trails run alongside or near the main route:
St Mary's Cathedral
St Mary's Cathedral was built in 1855 on the site of a previous church founded by St Mary in the 7th century. After being designed by architect J.J McCarthy, it was enlarged by adding a side chapel, vestry, and sacristy during Ireland's nineteenth-century famine. Make sure you head inside and see the beautiful stained glass windows.
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is Ireland's oldest national park, established in 1932. This beautiful area of 10,236 hectares contains the Lakes of Killarney, MacGillycuddy Reeks mountain range, and the oak and yew woodlands of Killarney. The park is home to several rare plants and animals, including the Kerry slug, which can be found only in this area.
Muckross House was built in the 1840s by Sir Cornelius O'Callaghan, who had a large estate on the peninsula. The architect was William Burn, whose other works include Belfast Castle, which we visited earlier this trip. Muckross Abbey and Muckross House are located within Muckross Traditional Farms (a working farm), as is Muckross Lake and Park.
The peninsula itself is known as "Muckross Peninsula." It extends from Killarney town to Ross Castle at Shrule Castle Bay on one end and Dinis Island at Ross Bay on the other (where Ross Castle stands).
The headland of this peninsula is called Muckross Head; it's a popular spot for watching whales during their migration season from May to September each year!
Located in Killarney National Park, Muckross Abbey was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor. The abbey and its surroundings were later bequeathed to Henry VIII by Murrough O'Brien, who was exiled from Ireland after the Battle of Knockdoe in 1580.
The abbey buildings were restored in 1857 by Sir Edward Guinness (1830-1901), who also commissioned paintings that now hang inside the abbey. Today, these include works by John Waterhouse and James Barry and an altarpiece painted by William Conor around 1640 depicting St. Mary Magdalene holding her jar of ointment (the same subject matter tackled by Waterhouse).
Muckross Abbey is famous for being where Eugene O'Curry (1802-1861) was laid to rest after his death at age 59. He was one of Ireland's most remarkable scholars during the 19th century. He had been appointed to teach Irish language classes at Oxford University but never lived long enough to make good on this appointment due to illness during his stay there.
Today, there are three main kinds of visitors: day-trippers who come for sightseeing; those who stay overnight for a more extended holiday; and people who live locally but want some peace away from home without traveling too far.
Ross Castle is a 15th-century castle located on the edge of Lough Leane. It was built by the O'Donoghues, one of the Gaelic clan chiefs who lived in Killarney during those times. After its restoration, the castle was once again open to the public.
Unlike other historic castles in Ireland, Ross Castle has a unique look because it was constructed with bricks instead of stone. Many features were used to defend against invaders, such as ramparts and moats around Ross Castle's perimeter walls. They also used gun ports at every corner, which could shoot arrows or guns at attackers from above ground level and were high enough that they couldn't get shot back at by defenders inside Ross Castle's walls!
Lakes of Killarney
Killarney's lakes are one of the most famous and essential parts of the scenery in the area. The three lakes that make up Killarney's natural beauty are Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and Upper Lake. Lough Leane is the largest, but all three have their own unique characteristics that make them equally charming.
Boats are another essential component of Killarney and its lakes; they can be rented from either Ross Castle or Muckross House hotels to take out on your own or as part of a guided tour through Ross Bay or Kenmare River (which connects both). You can also find various tours available from these two locations as well as other points around town offering boat options like jaunting cars and even scenic cruises onboard M.V St Columba (among many other choices).
The island is a monastic settlement started in the 7th century by St. Finian the leper and was home to an abbey for over 1000 years. In 843 AD, it was attacked by Vikings when part of the monastery was destroyed but rebuilt later that century. The Annals of the Four Masters were assembled on Innisfallen Island between 1598 and 1601 by Franciscan monks who lived there. Afterwhich they were banished from their monastery on nearby Mount Brandon. The island was abandoned in 1773 when it became uninhabitable due to landslides that caused frequent Lough Leane flooding.
Torc Waterfall is a 5km trail from Killarney National Park or 5km from Muckross House. It's also 5km from Muckross Abbey. Torc Waterfall is named for the shape of a loop of wire that was once used to fasten a cow's neck as it grazed by the stream. The name comes from the Irish torc, meaning "a necklace or collar worn around the neck by ancient Celtic people," and torcach (Irish), meaning "round in shape."
This is an easy walk, but you need good boots and waterproof clothing if you intend to stand under these falls on their hottest days in summer when they can spray up onto your face! Once you reach the first fall itself, there are several places where you can climb down onto rocks beside it – don't fall into any holes, though, as there may be deep pools beneath them!
Carrauntoohil, which at 1,039 meters (3,406 feet) makes up the highest peak in Ireland, is part of the MacGillycuddy's Reeks range. Carrauntoohil's name comes from the Irish words for "rocky hill." The mountain is located in Killarney National Park and is included as one of the 50 best hikes in the world to take by National Geographic magazine.
The city is well-known for its shops and boutiques, including shops selling outdoor clothing, footwear, jewelry, and gifts. The Killarney Outlet Centre is located in the center of town with over 25 shops. It's a great place to purchase items for a low price. There are also many shopping centers in the area whose primary purpose is to provide customers with an opportunity to shop at discounted prices.
Killarney's tourism industry had its roots in the 18th century. The town grew up to support the influx of tourists who arrived by stagecoach and horse-drawn carriages, eager to see the "forbidden land" of Ireland. In 1853 a railway line was opened, making it easier for people from all over Europe to visit Killarney, where they could enjoy its breathtaking scenery and breathe fresh air among its lakes and mountains.