Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ireland travels - Killarney National Park

After our brief stops in Kilkenny and Cork, we continued our Irish driving by heading further south to Killarney. Killarney town is just outside Killarney National Park, and the region is home to stunning scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. It also features the Ring of Kerry drive, a loop around the Iveragh Peninsula and some of County Kerry's most beautiful views.

Killarney national park

After lots of sunshine earlier in the trip, Irish weather caught up with us and we had a very wet drive around the Ring of Kerry. This wasn't a huge inconvenience given we were mostly in the car, but did mean some of the views were misty, and others were masked entirely by clouds and rain! The drive takes most of a day so we didn't have time to repeat it, but if we're ever in Ireland again it will give us something to return to.

Misty views

We stayed just inside the national park border at Killarney lakeland cottages. Even the smallest cottages were bigger than we needed, with 3 bedrooms, but with 4 nights in the area we were keen to have a kitchen and the location was perfect. Even with the extra space, the price was reasonable and the cottages would be great value if staying as a larger family.

Killarney lakeland cottages

I will share details of our meals in another post, but the fire in the living room was a non-food perk and we liked being able to walk straight into the national park.

Fortunately we had sunny weather in the region too, and we made full use of that by walking some of the trails and sights within the national park. The park is huge and it would take many hours (perhaps days) to walk it fully, but there is a lot clustered to the western edge closest to Killarney town.

Muckross House and Gardens, set on the edge of Muckross Lake, provide a helpful focal point for exploring and we also took in one of the tours of the 19th century mansion house. Nearby is the semi-ruined Muckross Abbey, free to wander at leisure, and it is an easy 1 mile walk between the two attractions.

Driveway leading to Muchross House

The house, gardens and abbey were enjoyable, but it was the outdoor component that I liked best. We did a walk from the abbey and house up to Torc waterfall. Unlike Powerscourt waterfall, it was free! I liked it much more than Powerscourt too, and eating a picnic lunch alongside it was a highlight of the day.

Torc waterfall

In all, the Killarney region was one of my favourite parts of Ireland. If you were to visit just one part of the country, it would be my recommendation of where to head. It supposedly gets very busy in summer and may be less enjoayble with the crowds, but the border seasons of spring/autumn are less busy and still have a decent chance of clear weather.

Details of Killarney National Park can be found at .

Do you have a favourite national park?


  1. Did you grow up with Bing Crosby playing all Christmas like I did - I can't think of Killarney without hearing Christmas in Killarney in my head - it has a line that says "and santa claus is one of the boys from home" so I thought the song said that Santa actually came from killarney! But I digress. It looks very atmospheric in the mist though not great driving conditions. And glad to see you had some lovely sunny days and a waterfall to enjoy

    1. I actually couldn't remember the song when we were there, but having seen references, looked it up at home and recognised it then :-) Killarney locals still like to mention it so I'm sure they'd be happy with the idea that Santa comes from there!

  2. All so pretty!
    My fav national park is bout an hour south of Sydney - there's a really pretty spot where a lake nearly meets the ocean edge! I just love it!

  3. The scenery is so gorgeous! I feel like i'm traveling along with you. :)

  4. Hi Kari
    It has been so mental at my place I haven't been to visit. When I do you are at some very amazing places. This is such an incredibly beautiful place . I have only been to Killarney once before may years ago and my passport was stolen so that wasn't a great memory. I love the picture of the cottage in the middle of the meadow with the big big cloudy sky!

    1. It may be that your visits are timing with my very drawn out recaps of one trip ;) It is lovely to hear from you though and I'm sorry your own Killarney memories are tainted by the passport drama! You will have to go back to enjoy it without that stress.

  5. It's all very beautiful and so green. As you know, we just don't have that depth of green over here. It's a shame about the weather but I guess that's Ireland! The cottages are gorgeous and sound like very good value xx

    1. I had to remind myself the rain allowed the green ;) The colours really are so different to in Australia.

  6. Gorgeous... thanks for taking the time to chronicle this for all of us. My husband and I are heading to Ireland in about two weeks. Will be staying in Killarney and Doolin areas most of the time. Your blog and beautiful pictures are stoking my excitement!


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