About Killarney


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?

Ponies & Horse Drawn Traps

These run throughout daylight hours, please enquire at reception.

Inisfallen Island

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.

Boat trips to O’Sullivan’s Cascade

O’Sullivan’s Cascade is a quiet, secluded cascade on the southern 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.

Gap of Dunloe Day Tour

The world famous, Gap of Dunloe day tour, which is the most famous visitor excursion in Ireland. Mountains, lakes, woodland & legend in scenery that has no equal worldwide.

Travel by coach from Old Weir Lodge or numerous other locations in Killarney to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, where you will travel through the world famous Gap of Dunloe by pony and trap. Upon arriving at Lord Brandon’s Cottage you will board an open boat for a cruise along Killarney’s lakes, passing under the Old Weir Bridge, and Bricin Bridges, and past Innisfallen Island and Dinis Island, to the historic Ross Castle, where your bus will return you back to your destination Killarney has long been famous for its beauty – mountain, lake and woodland richly overlaid with legend, archaeology, history and folklore.

Killarney Day Tour is the perfect way to see the rich and varied vegetation and the spectacular scenery in comfort and the company of experts on its many stories. The tour begins by coach past St Mary’s Cathedral, the great Pugin’s masterpiece, built during the famine by a people whose faith was stronger than their hunger. We go past the Hill of Aghadoe with its twelfth century monastery and Round Tower and on over the River Laune to Ireland’s highest mountains, the MacGillicuddy Reeks.

Here we change to horseback or carriage to go through the Gap of Dunloe, hewn two million years ago by giant, slow moving ice. We stop at Lord Brandon’s Cottage for a snack, looking out at Serpent’s Lake where legend has it that St Patrick imprisoned the last of the great snakes. Here we change to boats to float down the first Killarney’s three famous lakes, the Upper Lake. This lake is surrounded by a huge natural oak woodland. We pass Ronayne’s Island, where the great mathematician lived, and Eagle’s Nest Mountain, which inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem to “set the wild echoes flying”.

The following are the hours to or from the boats: Pony / Traps from Kate Kearney’s Cottage; 11a.m., Boats from Lord Brandon’s Cottage; 2.00p.m. Times maybe subject to change or cancellation due to weather conditions All times are flexible for group bookings

O’ Donoghue’s Boats

Take a boat tour in Killarney, see Killarney Day Tours for information.

The “Lily of Killarney” Watercoach

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.