An Irish adventure like no other in Killarney National Park

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Forget Dublin, Cork and other big cities. If you want to experience what Ireland is really all about, head down to the South West part of the country, County Kerry, to the small town of Killarney. 

Things to do

For its small size, the town boasts a huge range of activities. For those looking for something traditional, there are Brewery Tours, Whiskey Experiences, Irish Music and Dance Events, and walking tours in town. There are also a few historical sites to visit nearby, such as the Ross Castle and the Muckross House.

But the beauty of this area lies beyond the town itself, in the National Park, right on the doorstep of Killarney. You can go on a bus tour around the Ring of Kerry (ring road around the National Park), take a boat/kayak tour on the Lakes of Killarney, or enjoy exploring on your own by bikes or walking/running the stunning trails in the mountains and around the lakes. You are sure to spot a few deer while you are exploring, and if you are lucky, eagles too.

Torc mountain and its striking waterfall are just 10 km from the town centre; but you can go further into the park and hike up the highest mountain of Ireland, Carrauntoohil. Cycling is one of the best ways to explore here; there is a spectacular route for every rider and ability. The Gap of Dunloe (a narrow mountain pass) is a must if you can manage around 60km in the saddle for a round trip from Killarney.

Where to stay

We stayed in a cosy eco hostel, The Black Sheep Hostel. It offers shared and private accommodation, free buffet breakfast that includes homemade bread and eggs from their own chickens, the use of a fully equipped kitchen and a beautiful living room with a fireplace, board games and a guitar; here you can also snuggle with Lou and Bob, two lovely dogs that live here. In the evenings the hosts offer delicious dinners, utilizing vegetables from their own organic vegetable garden, for an additional small fee. You can also ask for an advice on tours and book experiences at reception. The atmosphere of this place is very warm and welcoming, it really feels like home away from home.

Best time to visit

Ireland is not a hot summer holiday destination, with temperatures rarely above 20 degrees Celsius during the high season in Killarney. But that makes it the perfect time and place for those looking for an adventure, for it is the driest season and you will never overheat while staying active. That being said, we visited at the end of January (the wettest season) and still enjoyed our trip to the fullest, as we didn’t mind the rain. Click here for more climate details in Killarney, Ireland.

Written by our travel reporter Marija:

Click here for her Instagram account. 

This article was last updated on April 25, 2022.