How To Spend A Brilliant Weekend In Beautiful Killarney, Ireland

Upon our arrival, Glenbeigh village greeted us with bright blue sky and warm sunshine. Good weather makes a huge difference for travelling around Ireland, particularly in early spring, so we literary jumped from joy and rushed straight to nearby Rossbeigh beach.

The ocean is the closest thing to my heart, and as we walked down the erratic shoreline, I couldn’t help but question what is streaming trough Ericeiras mind? Does she notice lacy ripples, velvety sand and every shade of blue before us? Is she curious about treasures hiding in depths of the uncharted aquatic world?

Located in southwest Ireland on the shores of Lough Leane and surrounded by beautiful valleys and mountainous landscape, Killarney is a place like no other. The town itself, with candy coloured buildings lining little streets, is small enough to explore on foot.

In Killarney, you’ll find perfectly poured pints of Guinness, authentic Aran sweaters, traditional lamb stew served with soda bread on the side, traditional music and jaunting cars. There is so much to see and do that you could easily spend your whole Irish holiday in Killarney and surrounding areas.

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Beautiful Rossbeigh beach, located 2 miles from the village of Glenbeigh.

 

How To Have A Brilliant Time In Beautiful Killarney National Park

No trip to Killarney is complete without a drive trough Gap of Dunloe and along world famous Ring of Kerry, not to mention Killarney National Park, Skelling Michael, Dingle Peninsula which is less crowded and Slea Head.

This place has so much eternal beauty to offer and so many unusual places to see that creating that perfect itinerary can be challenging. Make sure you don’t over plan-leave some room for flexibility and fun!

We only had a weekend to wander around this part of Ireland and decided to visit 3 of the most famous spots; we can highly recommend them to our fellow travellers.

 

#1. Explore fairy tail forests in Killarney

Head into the wilderness and start your journey by exploring beautiful woodlands! The timing of our long weekend voyage to Killarney couldn’t be any more immaculate as scenic woodlands around the region and everywhere else in Ireland turned in to something special.

I adore this time of the year because magic happens when a little plant with glossy green leaves and bell-shaped blossoms wake up. It’s safe to say; bluebells are the spring seasons most beautiful wildflowers. Thriving beside each other in their thousands, they visually revive forests back to life.

Wild garlic starts to blossom around the same time as bluebells, and the best places to look for them are damp shady woodlands. A lush blanket of little white star-shaped flowers combined with distinctive garlic smell makes it easy to identify them.

My earliest memory of wild garlic comes from childhood when my family would make annual trips to the forest to pick the bright green leaves to make a salad. But it was here, on the Emerald Isle, that I had a chance to see them in full bloom. The leaves of the plant are not only edible, but they are also popular in cooking, especially in making Wild Garlic Pesto we have yet to try out.

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Bluebell wildflowers can be seen from April each year.
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The trails starting from Ross Castle in Killarney National Park where beautifully framed by blooming wild garlic and were less packed with visitors.

 

#2. Wander around Muckross House and Gardens

As this was Ericeiras very first trip to the Kingdom of Kerry, we set out on the mission to show her most beautiful sights, starting with a 65-room Muckross House, located about 6 km outside of Killarney town.

We settled to explore the Gardens(free of charge) and decided to leave the interior of the house for the next time. If you are interested though, entrance costs 9 euros for an adult.

We made an effort to get up early, and it certainly paid off, we had a rare chance to walk around the mansion gardens with no one else around. On the grounds itself, we had a lovely surprise. Rhododendron trees were in full bloom, and they are a sight to behold, showing off a fantastic array of pink and purple colours.

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Beautifully manicured gardens are well worth a visit.
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Magical looking Muckross Gardens are one of many Kerrie’s attractions.

 

#3. Visit beautiful Ross Castle

Further down the road, sitting pretty on the lake shore and attracting visitors from all around the world, is one of Killarney’s main attractions-beautiful Ross castle (built in the late 15th century by O’Donoghue Mór).

Back in a day, Ross castles functions were to safeguard its inhabitants against enemy attacks and to provide shelter. In the summer of 1644, the English reduced a good deal of the castle to ruins.

Today, Ross castle has been carefully restored and is open for visitors from April to October. You can see inside only as part of a guided tour which costs 4 euros for an adult and usually takes 40 minutes.

I’m so glad we ventured outside the castle walls into surrounding woodlands and managed to cram in The Ross Castle and Demesne Loop walk. The hiking trail was wide enough for a buggy (quite bumpy in some parts), and at the end, we were rewarded with a fantastic view over the lakes.

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Beautiful Ross Castle sits on the edge of Lough Leane.
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The Lakes of Killarney consists of three lakes-Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake.

 

How to get to Killarney 

The quickest route to get to Killarney with the car is to take N7 all the way to Limerick and then to whichever town/village you are staying at. We drive to Kerry at least once a year, and it takes nearly 4 hours, sometimes more if we stop for snacks in a beautiful Adare village. Driving to Kery is the fastest and cost-effective option if travel in a group.

Another option is to travel by train. Trains depart for Killarney from Dublin Heuston Station every two hours (23 EUR one way). Travel time is just over 3 hours, and it’s best to buy a return/round ticket right away instead of separate one-way fares(works out cheaper). It takes around 5 and a half hours to travel from Dublin to Killarney by bus, with one change in Limerick and tickets cost around 30EUR.

There are also plenty to choose from Day Tours from Dublin (around 65 EUR). Keep in mind, pick-up times are super early, just after 6 am. Day trip routes usually include all the top tourist attractions from Muckross House and Gardens to Dingle Bay and Inch Beach.

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Adare is a charming village situated in County Limerick, and you can stop to admire hatched cottages on your way to Killarney.
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Rossbeigh Strand is disappearing and getting shorter and shorter every year.

 

Tips, hints, and things to do in Killarney

  • Give yourself a whole day or two, if possible, to drive The Ring of Kerry. The drive itself may look small on the map, but there is a lot of ground to cover with plenty to see and do.
  • Many visitors choose to travel around Ireland with a tour bus. Don’t be put off by driving on the left-side, rent a car, keep your eye out for pull-offs on the side of the road and stop for photos as much as you like.
  • In Ireland, weather can change in seconds, and you can even experience four seasons in one day. Pack your rain jacket and don’t wait for the rain to stop.
  • If you want more than just scenic views, than look up! When conditions are right, and skies are bright at night, Star Clusters, Milkey Way and Nebula’s are on display.
  • Sort out your accommodation well in advance. Hotels along Ring of Kerry in Killarney book up very fast in the summer and around Bank Holiday weekends.
  • Some of the best coastal views are from the Skellig Ring Scenic Loop which does not allow bus traffic. On a bright and sunny day, you can even see the Beara Peninsula and Bull Rock.
  • Reach out to the locals and other hotel guests. Ask sightseeing recommendations from your B&B owner and get tips from travellers who have already toured the area.
  • Shop around for Skellig Michael boat trip tours and pick a right one as some boats only circle the islands
  • Ross Castle is a hectic place during the summer month( and if you wish to visit inside of it keep in mind that site is restricted and can only accommodate groups of 15), and photography is not permitted. 
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The Ross Castle and Demesne Loop is an easy 1 hour (5 km) walking route from Ross Castle.

 

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Now, over to you!

Have you been to Killarney National Park and Killarney town? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Killarney National Park and have travel related questions!

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Our Crossings follows daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

27 thoughts on “How To Spend A Brilliant Weekend In Beautiful Killarney, Ireland

  1. I was in Killarney a few years back and absolutely loved it! I only had the chance to see Ross Castle and Muckross House while I was there. Muckross was one of the highlights of that trip!
    If you have a chance to go to Bunratty Castle outside of Limerick I would definitely recommend it.
    Safe travels!

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    1. Thanks so much, we absolutely loved Killarney too and wish we had more time to explore different parts of it. This was our third trip and we are nowhere near the finish line, Skellig Michael is still high on our list as well as surrounding mountains. Thanks for your recommendation, we love Irish castles and would love to visit every single one. Happy travels 😀

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks so much for lovely compliments, I would love to improve my photography skills even more, there’s so much to learn and know. Happy travels and best of luck with exploring Europe 😀

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, Ireland is a place full of magic and I hope you get to explore it one day, there are plenty of direct flights between Dublin and Florida, happy travels 😀

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  2. Love the fairy tale forest shot – I think I saw an elf? I live in a forest in Texas, hot and steamy! On a trip to Galway my husband and I visited a cave where there was an impression of where a bear had slept eons before. The earth had solidified into stone.

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      1. I have been many times to Ireland. My mum was born in Sligo but she immigrated to the states in the 50s. My Dad was Mexican American. Once, in the 60s we visited and I was wearing a handmade Aran sweater. All the Americans wanted to take shots of the sweet little colleen so my mum whispered, ‘Don’t tell them you are American…’ 🇺🇲

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  3. Wow, your family history sounds fascinating and thanks for sharing the funny story about Aran sweater. After 10 years in Dublin, we packed our bags and moved to Sligo for good, one of the best decisions we ever made as we love every part of this county. Have a lovely weekend 😘

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    1. Hope you had a great time exploring Killarney! Our time in Kerry was short yet we made most of it and absolutely loved it too, it was well worth the 5 hour drive!
      Safe travels xx

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  4. How lovely to see Killarney featured in a blog. It’s one of my favourite places in Ireland, one of many. My last time there though was 3-days spent in a constant heavy drizzle in which we took a jaunting car to the Gap of Dunloe covered with a tarpaulin, ending up at Kate’s Cottage for a very welcome Irish Coffee. I know it’s all very touristy but Killarney wouldn’t be Killarney if one didn’t do the touristy bits! After that we drove along some deserted roads and ended up in some gorgeous little places.

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    1. The magnificent Co Kerry countryside with its vast expanse of the rugged landscape is something needed to be seen at least once in a lifetime if not more. This was our third trip around Killarney and its surroundings and we are yet to go for a ride through the Gap of Dunloe. I don’t mind the tourists at all, some places are busy for a reason and its a great way to meet people from all around the world. Safe travels my friend

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    1. We loved Killarney too and wish this beautiful region was a little bit closer to where we live at the moment so we could visit Killarney National Park and its surroundings more often, thanks for stopping by and safe travels x

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  5. Very enjoyable and useful travelogue with wonderful photos. Ireland is high on my travel list, and Killarney looks very appealing. I’m happy to discover your blog. Looking forward to exploring more of your travels.

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