Killarney is a location which boasts a wealth of natural beauty, a rich history, the buzz of a modern urban hub and a superb variety of attractions and activities to suit people of all ages and interests.
Let us give you a guide to Killarney, Ireland’s tourist hotspot from a local perspective.
Guest post by Mary Smith of Killarney Hotels
The history of Killarney
Killarney’s roots are believed to date back to the 7th century AD, with the earliest known monastery discovered on nearby Innisfallen Island by St Finian the Leper. Religious settlements such as this were a prominent feature in Killarney’s early history, and characterised Ireland’s long-standing religious heritage, with the country boasting a huge array of monastic sites which have survived for centuries.
Castles also feature abundantly throughout Ireland, and indeed in Killarney and its surrounds. Parkavonear Castle, for example, was built during the Anglo-Norman invasion of the 12th century, while the fascinating Ross Castle, a defensive tower house, was erected three centuries later by the O’Donoghue Mór clan which ruled the area.
Killarney was also heavily involved in the Irish War of Independence 100 years ago, with the staunchly republican local populace often standing up to invading British forces. By sharp contrast, modern day Killarney welcomes people from all corners of the globe, and has lost none of its historical appeal.
As with the rest of Ireland, Killarney has the comfort of a stable, temperate climate where, irrespective of the time of year, visitors are unlikely to feel bitterly cold or unbearably hot. The average temperature generally stays between 5-15°C (41-59°F), although this can dip below 0°C (32°F) in winter months and rise above 20°C (68°F) on warm summer days. The summer of 2018 was especially hot in the region, with temperatures staying above 20°C for almost six successive weeks, and occasionally breaking 30°C (86°F) as locals and visitors basked in glorious sunshine.
However, visitors to the region are advised to prepare for rain at any time, thankfully harsh snowy conditions are very rare in Killarney.
Getting to Killarney
Kerry Airport, the nearest to Killarney, is only a 15-minute drive from the town, although long-haul flights are more likely to touch down in the international airports of Shannon (1.5-2 hours’ drive) or Dublin (3-4 hours’ drive).
Whilst the town is very well served by public transport links, visitors are advised to hire a car if they want to truly immerse themselves in the magnificent surroundings of Killarney and County Kerry. Roads in the area are quite decent, with speed limits typically between 50 and 100 kilometres per hour (31-62 mph). Caution is advised on some country roads as these can sometimes be rather narrow.
One thing is for sure: you will not be bored in Killarney. If you’re up for some adventure and you want to try out some high-octane activities, there are places nearby where you can try rock climbing, paintballing, kayaking, abseiling or mountain hiking. The latter is especially popular in the region, given Killarney’s proximity to one of Ireland’s most stunning mountain ranges.
If you’d rather spend time on more relaxed activities, you could hire a bicycle and indulge in beautiful natural surroundings at a leisurely pace. If you truly want to spoil yourself, a stay in luxury accommodation such as The Europe Hotel & Resort, resplendent with spa treatment and succulent dining, will make you feel like royalty for the duration of your visit.
Within the town itself, there is always a vivacious and friendly atmosphere. Killarney offers a diverse shopping experience while also boasting a rich variety of nightlife; an evening spent in a pub listening to traditional Irish music is especially recommended and you won’t need to go too far to find some.
This is just a taster of the delights which Killarney offers:
A family day out at Killarney National Park is a must, with plenty of authentic scenery, and the presence of Irish wildlife in its natural habitat. You could also undertake a leisurely walk past refreshing waterfalls like Derrycunnihy Falls. Fancy taking a trip out to sea? Innisfallen Island is a tranquil haven with captivating ancient architecture. We’d also advise you visit the town’s heritage sites such as Muckross Abbey and Killegy Celtic Cross.
There you have it; Killarney has something for just about everyone. From extraordinary natural beauty to fascinating cultural heritage; relaxing countryside to a bustling, friendly urban hub full of warm atmosphere. You won’t find it hard to make an itinerary for your trip to this magnificent Irish town.
Whether you’re travelling with your partner, a group of friends or taking the family, there are sights and activities which you’re bound to enjoy together.
For a colourful synopsis of the town, have a look through this infographic from Killarney Hotels.
Mary Smith works as a Marketing Executive with Killarney Hotels, a group which run special offers for guests wishing to stay in Ard Na Sidhe Country House, The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens or The Europe Hotel & Resort in Killarney. They can suggest suitable activities for you and your travel companions based on your interests.
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