Dating back to the 15th century, Killarney National Park is not only Ireland’s oldest park but is also one of the greenest places to visit on planet Earth. It is located less than five miles southwest of the town of Killarney in County Kerry in southwestern Ireland. The park extensively spreads over 25,000 acres of land, so there is plenty to explore here.
Set amidst pastoral lands and picturesque landscapes, and surrounded by the highest mountain range of the country, cascading waterfalls, serene lakes, medieval castles, huge mansions, and abundant wildlife, Killarney National Park is a must-visit in Ireland with plenty of attractions to offer. It is an idyllic place for a quick getaway in County Kerry. Rest assured that you will be spoiled for choice with so much to see and do at the National Park that a day will never suffice for a visit.
The place invariably offers something for everyone. It is of as much interest to kids, as it is to the youth and seniors. Plenty of open space invites children to run around. Young adults and teenagers are attracted to hiking and biking. History lovers can dig into the past, exploring the mansions and castles on the premises; whilst, nature lovers and the romantics at heart can enjoy the scenic beauty of the place.
The place is a beautiful blend of stunning geographical scenery and historical sites. Let us give you a lowdown of some of the things you can expect to see and/or visit at the National Park in the section below.
What Not to Miss During Your Visit
Ross Castle — It is a 15th-century castle/tower house overlooking a placid lake. It was built by an Irish chieftain who ruled the Killarney area at the time; the castle is located on the Lower Lake in Killarney National Park. The place is believed to have been the battleground between the Anglo-Saxon conquerors and the Celtic Irish throughout the middle-ages. The castle was among the last to surrender to Oliver Cromwell during the Irish Confederate Wars. By the 1700s, the castle had changed hands twice. Legends and folklores surround the place.
The horse carts are so reminiscent of the bygone eras. Grazing buffaloes, the green stretches, open lands, and more make you feel and live the experience with abandon. Tour guides at the place can share more accurate information about the castle.
The Muckross Mansion — Located between Muckross Lake and Lough Leane, it was originally a private mansion belonging to the wealthy Herbert family who were originally from Wales but settled here around 1665. They built the mansion in 1843 in the fashion of Tudor design and architecture. The house had 65 rooms. The House is surrounded by one of the most beautiful floral gardens in the country. The Herbert family is believed to have almost bankrupted themselves in preparation to make the house fit for the Queen (Victoria) when she visited the mansion for a two-night stay in 1861.
It is open daily to the public and tourists today. Admission to the gardens is free, and you are free to join one of their guided group tours to learn more about the history of the place.
Torc Waterfall — The famous Torc Waterfall lie just 2 kilometers away from the Muckross House. The gushing waters of the falls are one of the scenic highlights of the National Park. Typical of the Killarney weather conditions, it rains often. The falls boom and swell during the rains. You can enjoy the sight from the pathway, or you can venture to hike around the loop trails in the vicinity. The place offers an ideal photoshoot point and is very close to the parking lot.
Boat Tour — You can avail of boat rides on the lake to explore the entire estate better, and make observations from closer quarters. There are several boat tour options. Onboard commentary can help you gather more information about the area. On a side note, Killarney National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna.
Lake Hotel — The legendary four-star hotel has been welcoming guests since the 1820s. It has a long tradition of warm, Irish hospitality. The hotel scores brownie points on attention to detail, first-rate customer service, food quality, and cuisine, and in offering unrivaled and spectacular panoramic views of the Killarney neighborhood.
Do You Need Tickets?
You need not spend a dime/euro to be here at Killarney National Park. No admission or parking ticket is required to spend a beautiful day at the park. The only time you need your wallet is when you pay for the food you buy on the premises or the time you spend at the hotel. You may even have to spend a nominal fee for entry into some of the places with guided tours. It is a massive area that cannot be covered on a single visit, so it is best to prioritize.
Phone, Address & How to Reach
The Killarney National Park is located at Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 HE3C, Ireland. For queries or help, you can call these numbers – +353 1 539 3620 (General), +353 64 6635851 (Ross Castle) or +353 64 6670144 (Muckross House). You can also write to [email protected]
It is always best to drive down to the Park if you have your vehicle; parking is free. Alternatively, the hop-on-hop-off Killarney shuttle service is a good one to consider to get to the Park. The National Park is located within 4 miles of Killarney town. You can also reach the place by horse cart, tour van, or bicycle (if you have one) for a more adventurous tour (you can go biking around the place).