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The Ring of Kerry Area Attractions

The world-famous ''Ring of Kerry'' begins just outside the door of your Old Killarney Village cottage. The winding scenic route on the Iveragh Peninsula connects the communities of Killorglin, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Sneem, and Kenmare in southwestern Ireland. Proceed counter-clockwise around the Ring of Kerry to go with the flow of traffic. There are walking and cycling paths along the route for those who wish to slow down a bit and savor this rare Irish gem. Some of the most popular Ring of Kerry attractions include Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue Fort and Derrynane House, home of Daniel O'Connell.

Neighboring County Cork also has a host of interesting places close by, including the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.

Ross Castle
Just 2 miles outside Killarney, you can drive to Ross Castle or walk a 2-mile path from Killarney along the shore of Lough Leane to get there. This 15th century castle was built by O’Donaghue chieftains.

Much of the castle is no longer standing. However, a recently restored tower is furnished as it would have been in the 16th or early 17th century. The top of the tower offers sweeping scenic views of the lakes and local countryside.

There are boat cruises on Lough Leane that leave from the castle. Some cruises include a stop at Innisfallen Island, where there are ruins of a monastery built more than 1,000 years ago.

The Castle is only open to visitors March – October, and you must take the tour to gain entry to the Castle.

Muckross House
Built in 1843, Muckross House offers a well-preserved view into the life of wealthy 19th century Irish landowners. The living quarters remain furnished in an opulent Victorian style, while other areas provide insight into the daily lives of servants.

Located near Muckross Lake in Killarney National Park, views from the grounds include the mountains and lakes of Killarney. The grounds feature several old and well-tended gardens.

The Garden Restaurant offers a wide variety of fare with stunning mountain scenery. It is open seven days a week and is well worth a visit.

Pubs of Killarney
For many, one of the great joys of Ireland is experiencing the rich social atmosphere of the pubs. It can be the perfect place to reflect on the day with a pint of stout in hand. Mingling with locals and tourists in the casual pub atmosphere surely is both entertaining and educational – not to mention relaxing.

Killarney boasts more than 40 pubs. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere. At The Laurels on Main Street, entertainment often comes in the form of an Irish Balladeer. Local sports fans gather at Tatler Jack on Plunkett Street. And on College Street sits Murphy’s Pub. This traditional pub is filled with local charm and history.

The best way to find a pub that’s just right for you is to talk with residents of Killarney.

Killarney National Park
The Killarney National Park is famous for its 24,700 acres of wondrous natural habitats and stunning vistas. Opened in 1932, the mountains, lakes, moorland and forests of Ireland's first National Park offers visitors an exciting array of unusual geological and biological treasures to experience. The park is renowned for its native natural habitats and species including Oakholly, Yew, Strawberry Tree Killarney Shad, Northern Emerald Dragonfly, and Red Deer.

Park information is available at the National Park Visitor Centre at Muckross House and the Information Point at Torc Waterfall. Access for visitors with disabilities is available at the Visitor Centre. In addition, there is an Education Centre at Knockreer House. There are restaurants at Muckross House, Dinis Cottage and Deenagh Lodge.

Gap of Dunloe
No trip to Ireland would be complete without a thrilling trek through the Gap of Dunloe. Carved by massive glaciers during the last ice age, the wild and rugged views of the cliffs towering above on both sides of the pass are genuinely awe-inspiring. Look for signs posted off the R562 road to Killorglin outside the western perimeter of the National Park.

Parking is ample and no driving is permitted through the narrow pass. Hiking is encouraged and leisurely Pony rides and jaunting cars are available for hire. In addition, there are several places to tour the area by open boat. Some boat trips include walking tours and lunch at one of the area’s scenic open air restaurants.

Dingle Peninsula
Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth” the Dingle Peninsula offers visitors a lovely assemblage of lush green fields, mountainous headlands, rocky cliffs and breathtaking Atlantic beaches. The warm Gulf Stream caresses the peninsula, allowing flora and fauna normally found in more subtropical climates to flourish there. Some of the most dramatic vistas can be seen between Dingle and Tralee. The summit of 3,300-foot Mount Brandon, Ireland's second highest peak can be viewed from Conor Pass.

The Dingle Peninsula is filled with Stone and Bronze Age relics. Many visitors recognize the area because it is where Ryan’s Daughter and parts of Far and Away and The Quiet Man were filmed.

Blarney and the Blarney Stone
The world-famous Blarney Stone is located in Blarney Village, County Cork, less than 60 miles from Killarney. Situated in the country near Cork City, Blarney is a traditional Irish village where a picturesque village square continues to play an important role in village life.

Go to Blarney Castle to visit the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will never be at a loss for words. The thousand-acre grounds of the castle are mostly forested and a special treat for anyone inclined to take a nature walk.

While in Blarney, you may want to try your hand at salmon fishing or play one of the local 18-hole golf courses.

McGillicuddy's Reeks
Ireland's highest mountain range bears the colorful name of McGillicuddy’s Reeks, also referred to locally as “the Reeks.” The picturesque Reeks are defined on one side by the Gap of Dunloe. Hikers who venture onto the Reeks will be treated to close up looks at lakes and waterfalls, plus panoramic views of the region and Killarney’s famous lakes.

At 3,414 feet, Carrantuohill is the highest peak in the Reeks and all of Ireland. Carrantuohill is a favorite for hikers and offers a scenic trail along its ridge. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Killarney to the base of Carrantuohill.

Staigue Fort
Estimated at about 2,000 years old, Staigue Fort is a “ring fort” with 15-foot high walls. The tapered walls were constructed without mortar and are about 12-feet thick at the base. A tunnel through the wall provides the only access.

Located three miles outside of Sneem, the fort is surrounded by hills, except to the south, where it is open to the sea. In addition to providing safety from attacks, the fort is thought to have been used as an observatory and place of worship.

The Spraigue Fort Exhibition Centre offers displays and information about the fort, as well as a glimpse into ancient Irish life. The Centre is open daily from Easter until the end of September.

Derrynane House
Now a National Historic Park, Derrynane House was the ancestral home of statesman, politician, and lawyer Daniel O’Connell. O’Connell was called “The Liberator” for his successful effort to secure the right to vote for Catholics. The large stone house includes a museum and cafe. Guided tours and audiovisual presentations are available.

The grounds cover several hundred acres and include walking paths and subtropical gardens dating back to the 1700s. The strong influence of the Gulf Stream accounts for the region’s warm waters and temparate climate.

The house is located in Caherdaniel on Derrynane Bay, whose sandy beach is among the finest in Ireland. Popular for yatching today, the Bay was once a hot spot for smugglers.

More links


Killarney maps

The Kingdom of Kerry

Visitor Attractions of Southwest Ireland

Heritage of Ireland

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