A boat floats in a lake in Killarney, Ireland, with rolling hills in the background
Photo by Alison Day  –  Link

Killarney

Ireland

The town of Killarney in southwest Ireland is one of the most popular spots on the scenic Ring of Kerry road trip route - and it's easy to see why. Dramatic landscapes, a rich history and famously welcoming locals give Killarney a distinctive charm that's hard to resist. Add to that a slew of top-notch hotels and highly rated spas and you've got yourself an ideal holiday destination. It's no wonder that in 2016 Trivago named Killarney as one of the top 10 destinations in the world.

Killarney National Park

It would be a crime to visit Killarney without spending some time in Killarney National Park. This 26,000-acre space is a truly spectacular oasis filled with verdant woods, rolling green mountains and the glittering Lakes of Killarney. No matter the weather (and it can be changeable around here), it's the perfect place to go for walks, hikes and long bike rides. You can also explore the park in a jaunting car (horse drawn carriage) with a knowledgeable tour guide.

Highlights:

  • Muckross House - a beautifully maintained 19th-century mansion with extensive gardens
  • Muckross Abbey - an old Irish monastery that was founded in 1448.
  • Ross Castle - the ruins of a 15th-century tower house built on the edge of Lough Leane lake. Visitors can hop on boat trips from Ross Castle to Muckross House
  • Torc Waterfall - a spectacular waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain about 30 minutes' walk from Muckross House
  • Lakes of Killarney - Lough Leane, Muckross Lake (aka Middle Lake) and Upper Lake, surrounded by the rugged MacGillycuddy's Reeks mountain range

Killarney is a 3 to 3.5 hour drive from Galway, a vibrant harbour city that was named European Capital of Culture 2020.

The Ring of Kerry route is one of our top 10 choices for most amazing European road trips to include on your travel bucket list. Check out the rest of our choices on our blog page.