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Things to do in Killarney feature image

Whether you are travelling with family, friends or loved ones, there are many things to do in Killarney. Take a hike, ride a bike or explore the town and many of the activities in Killarney.

With a history dating back to 640AD, Killarney is one of Ireland’s earliest settlements. Since then, it has become home to many notable people, including Michael Fassbender. The town has continued to develop, and there is now an abundance of things to do in Killarney.

Start planning your Irish holiday and keep the family entertained with so many activities in Killarney…

Hiking in Killarney National Park

Deer in killarney national park

If you are visiting Killarney, the national park is one of the best places to explore. With over 10,000 hectares of stunning green landscape, Killarney National Park is home to lakes, woodland, mountains and Muckross House.

The beautiful national park is perfect if you want to get a little closer to nature. You can find anything from wild birds and deer to slugs and lizards.

Taking a walk among the impressive woodlands and lakes will lead you to a plethora of photo opportunities.

Among Killarney National Park, there are several historic homes. The Muckross House & Gardens offer extensive insight into the history and heritage of the area. You even have a chance to explore the unique Mucros Craft Shop.

You can find over 50-holiday cottages in Killarney National Park for your next visit.

Getting here: Killarney National Park is accessible via car, train and bus.

Exploring Ross Castle

Ross Castle

Ross Castle is tucked away inside the Killarney National Park. On Killarney’s Lower Lake, the castle dates to the 15th century. The castle was in fact, the last stronghold in Munster to hold out against Oliver Cromwell.

If you are looking for things to do in Killarney, Ross Castle is a great choice. On your visit, you can take a tour and explore the ancestral home of the Clan O’Donoghue or take a walk around the castle grounds and the surrounding national park.

After a long day of walking, you may want to sit back and relax in the castle coffee shop and enjoy a piece of cake to boost your energy.

If you enjoy hiking, why not try take a look at An Mhangarta, the 9th highest mountain in Ireland.

Parking: Ross Rd, Ross Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 V304
Opening times: Monday – Friday: 09:30 – 17:45

Driving the Ring of Kerry

Views from the ring of kerry

If you are visiting the South West of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is a must. The scenic drive will take you through some of Irelands most stunning countryside. Along the way, take a break at one of the white, sandy beaches or explore the quaint town of Sneem

On your visit, it is definitely worth taking your time to explore the Ring of Kerry route. The 179km drive is perfect all year round. However, throughout the summer months, the journey is ideal for cyclists and hikers.

If you feel adventurous, cycling the route can be one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Ring of Kerry.

Killarney is a great place to start your Ring of Kerry tour. Choose a holiday cottage in Killarney to make the most of your visit.

Discovering Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey

With another Killarney attraction located in the National Park, Muckross Abbey is a set of 15th Century ruins free to explore. The adjacent graveyard is still in use today and sees a handful of burials throughout the year.

As part of the national park, Muckross Abbey is perfect if you are looking to find out more about the history of Killarney. At the Abbey, you can find a Chancel, graveyard and an ancient yew tree that is rumoured to be as old as the Abbey itself.

To make the most of the activities in Killarney National Park, hiring a bike from the town is a great option. Cycle paths connect a lot of the main attractions, and it is perfect to see as much as possible.

Parking: There is parking at Muckross Gardens, just off the N71.

Indulging in the Local Food


Killarney has many choices when it comes to sampling some of the country’s finest cuisine. The town is ideal if you are looking to treat the family, friends or partners.

Tuck into an Irish stew or get rid of the hangover with a mouth-watering Ulster fry. Whatever your reason for visiting the Killarney attractions, the food is one thing you will struggle to avoid. With hearty portions and bold flavours, sampling the local food is one of the best things to do in Killarney.

In the town, you can find traditional Irish food on almost every street. Most serve vegetarian and vegan options and are perfect for the whole family. Treyvauds Restaurant serves delicious potato pancakes and is a great place to enjoy some locally grown produce. Or head over to Bricin to indulge in a hearty boxty.

Wherever you decide to stop, you are sure to find delicious food and welcoming staff. It is the perfect chance to refuel and rest after a long day of seeing the many things to do in Killarney.

Why not find out more about Ireland’s traditional foods.

Kayaking to Innisfallen Island

Innisfallen island

Known as an enchanted island, Innisfallen Island is a unique thing to do on your trip to Killarney. Found in the heart of County Kerry, Innisfallen Island sits on Lough Leane.

Most people access the island starting from Ross Castle. Kayaking is one of the most common ways to get to the island and is a fun way of bonding with your friends and family.

The journey immerses you in the local surroundings and gives you exclusive views of the onlooking mountains. You may even be lucky enough to glimpse a herd of local deer swimming to Innisfallen Island.

The island is home to some of Ireland’s most impressive creatures. Located in Killarney National Park, you can see majestic animals such as deer, cormorants and white-tailed eagles. To get the best views of the island and the boat journey, be sure to pack your binoculars.

The island has no facilities, so make sure you bring everything with you. Take an enchanting walk around the beautiful island and get away from the busier tourist hotspots.

How to Get Here: Pre-book your kayaking tickets in advance and set off from Ross Castle in Killarney National Park.

Star Gazing in the Dark Sky Reserve

Stargazing in Killarney

County Kerry is home to the only gold tier dark sky reserve in the Northern hemisphere. It is one of the best places in the world to view the night sky without pollution from the local towns and cities.

With the ability to see the Milky Way and thousands of star clusters, the 700km2 reserve is perfect for inspiring our future stargazers.

Part of the International Dark Sky Association, the reserve adheres to many strict requirements. That ensures you have the best chance to see some of the wonders of the night sky.

While taking a high-tech telescope may give you a better view of the stars, you will still be amazed at what you can see with the naked eye.

To get the best possible views, try and plan your visit when the moon is not visible. That will prevent any of the moon’s reflective light from interfering with the stars.

Top Tip: You can see meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere throughout the year. Check here to find the next meteor shower visible from the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve.

Cycle the Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe

Situated between Purple Mountain and the MacGillycuddy Reeks, the Gap of Dunloe is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Killarney.

The route is accessible by walking, bike and cars. However, we strongly suggest leaving the car behind to enhance your experience of this stunning destination. Plus, throughout the day, driving through the Gap of Dunloe can be extremely dangerous with the number of cyclists and walkers along the route.

Cycling is a great way to see the Gap and can be extended for experienced cyclists. The route starts at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and finishes at Lord Brandon’s Cottage near Upper Lake.

The views you will get along the way are breathtaking, and the sense of achievement you will get after completing this 22km round trip is unbelievable.

The route is restricted in terms of stopping points, so you should make sure to prepare everything you need beforehand. Whether you are cycling or walking, pack water, snacks and warm clothing.

There are a few bike rentals close by if you don’t have access to your own bike.

Killarney is one of the most magical places to visit in Ireland. The region is full of natural wonders, ruins and delicious food. Plan your holiday with some of these things to do in Killarney, and you are sure to have a fun holiday with the whole family. You can find out more about staycations in Ireland on our blog.

Check out our other guides on things to do in Donegal and things to do in Cork.

Image Credits – NicholasH – (CC BY-SA 4.0); Bernd Thaller – (CC BY 2.0)