References to the town of Killarney or Cill Áirne (Church of the Sloes) date back to the year 1604, but it was only when Lord Kenmare developed four major roads into the area in 1750 that Killarney was opened to visitors. Tourism is now the mainstay of the economy here. The town has acquired many fine buildings, which enhance a pleasant morning or evening stroll. Of particular interest are the churches. St Mary’s Cathedral (1842) was designed by Augustus Pugin, and St Mary’s Church (1870) still has its original organ. The Franciscan Friary (1864) has stained glass by Harry Clarke. The essence of Killarney is its natural beauty. Worshipped by druids, fought over by chieftains, coveted by landlords, Killarney Valley with its forests and castles and monasteries is in the words of Arthur Vincent, who presented Muckross House & Gardens to the nation, ´a playground for the world´. We want you to enjoy this great natural treasure.
“It is impossible to write here. Beautiful visions crowd on the mind too rapidly to record…Oh Killarney! Thou art the most delightful provoking place that I ever visited.” Lady Chatterton – Rambles in the South of Ireland, 1839.
Descriptions such as this have brought visitors from all over the world to Killarney. Today you will have no problem finding first-class accommodation, great restaurants, and entertainment in a town that has been welcoming visitors for over 200 years.
Although much has changed, the magnificence of Muckross, Ladies View, Aghadoe, Inisfallen Island, and the spectacular trip through the Gap of Dunloe and the Lakes remains largely unchanged.
Recently World Magazine reported that the Killarney Valley is ´of unsurpassed beauty, undisturbed by the exploitation of the 20th century´. As you follow in the footsteps of the good lady and admire the beauty of the lakes and mountains and explore the monasteries, castles, and mansions, no doubt you will echo her sentiments and say to yourself and others: “This is a magical place.”
Poets, painters, and visitors from all corners of the world agree on one thing about the Killarney Valley – “it is a magical place”. Leave your accommodation in the early morning and travel to one of the many viewing points on the surrounding hill sides. Here your spirit can take flight in a valley that has escaped the ravages of the 20th century – the last real sanctuary of primeval countryside in Ireland. Down below you will see the morning sun glisten on Killarney´s jewels – its three lakes, surrounded by Ireland´s highest mountains. Here Irish Red Deer roam freely in the remnants of the Irish oak and yew forests. Hidden in the woodlands are buildings from times long gone, the castles of the great chieftains, the monasteries of the holy men and the houses of the gentry – all now filled with an eerie silence.
Queen Victoria, who came here in 1861, probably best described Killarney as a ´fairyland´ – where else would you find such magic?
These run throughout daylight hours, please enquire at reception.
Some of the most impressive archaeological remains in Killarney date from early Christian times and the most important of these is the ruined monastery found on Inisfallen Island in Lough Léin. This monastery was founded in the 7th century by St. Finian the Leper, and was occupied for approximately 700 years. Over a period of about 300 of these, the ‘Annals of Inisfallen’ were written, which chronicle the early history of Ireland as it was known to the monks. The Annals are therefore an extremely important manuscript, and the original copy is kept in a controlled atmosphere in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The monastery here is also thought to have given rise to the name Lough Léin, which means “Lake of Learning”. We run boat trips to Inisfallen on a regular basis. For more information please email us, or to reserve you boat trip, please enquire at reception or check out Killarney Day Tours for information.
Times may be subject to change or cancellation due to weather conditions. All times are flexible for group bookings.
O’Sullivan’s Cascade is a quiet, secluded cascade on the Western shore of Killarney’s Lower Lake, Loch Léin. A popular tourist spot in Victorian Times, the area can also be visited via Tomies Wood. Enquire at reception for more detials.
The Gap of Dunloe day tour is a journey which encompasses Killarney’s entire National Park. During the tour, passengers will see such sights as the Kate Kearney’s Cottage, the Gap of Dunloe, the Old Weir Bridge and Ross Castle. for information, please check out the Killarney Day Tour site.
Take a boat tour in Killarney, see Killarney Day Tours for information.
The “Lily of Killarney” Water cruiser is a large covered, heated all-weather cruiser and is licenced to carry 78 people. The cruise sails from Ross Castle, takes 1 hour and the sailing times are: 10.30 a.m, 12.00 noon, 1.45 p.m, 3.15 p.m. Please enquire at reception.