(Muckross House)
Killarney National Park, a 25,000 acre gem to the west and south of Killarney Town, is a treasure which delights both visitors to Killarney and those lucky to live nearby.
The facility comprises but a portion of two large estates which dominated the town and its economy, in particular during the 19th century. Set in the Killarney Valley, the Park is surrounded by mountains and contains 3 lakes within its boundaries. The scenery is magnificent, one of the most scenic locations in Ireland. Now owned and run by an arm of the Irish Government, the Park is now an available to be enjoyed by all who choose to visit it and for walkers and hikers it is paradise.
The writer is a regular walker through Killarney National Park. The consequences of the spread of the Corona Virus to Ireland, and some nice weather has allowed me recently to explore this park even more than I have before. Despite living in this area for over forty years, and having spent thousands of hours in the park during that period I can never say I have seen and experienced all it has to offer. I probably never will.
Killarney is a gateway to the south west region of Ireland.  This region offers many attractions, some (including the park) highlighted in the short video attached. But while many visitors coming to Killarney use it as a good base to tour the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Blarney and Kinsale, allocating two days to explore this jewel of Killarney’s crown is highly recommended would be time well spent.
(The Lower Lake, Killarney National Park)
Some of the prime attractions in or around Killarney National Park include –
(1) Muckross House and Gardens: the centerpiece of Killarney National Park. Completed in 1843 for the Herbert Family, this downtown Abbey type estate house is preserved and is simply magnificent to tour. Guided tours are available daily and last approx 1 hour.
(2) Torc Waterfall: An awesome waterfall situated approx 1 mile from Muckross House, this is a must see location. You can either walk from the house along pedestrian pathways, take a traditional ‘Jaunting Cart’ from the house or park in the nearby car park.
(3) Walking Routes: several tarred walking paths are provided around the National Park, most easily accessible from Muckross House. I would recommend the circular route from Muckross House around the middle lake to Dinis Cottage and Torc Waterfall. For the brisk walker this would take approx 2 hours. The scenery is stunning.
(4) Killarney House and Gardens: recently renovated to a very high standard, Killarney House is a smaller version of Muckross House and is well worth a visit. Located on the edge of Killarney Town Centre, it also has enjoyable walking paths in its vicinity.
(5) Ross Castle: a restored 15th century castle adjacent to the Lower Lake, Killarney. Easily accessible from Killarney Town Centre this is a fantastic attraction in its own right. Another jewel of Killarney’s crown!
(6) The Gap of Dunloe: an area of outstanding natural beauty situated on the outskirts of a naturally beautiful valley. For walkers, the walk from Kate Kearney’s Cottage into the Black Valley is an experience you will never forget. A must see in this area.
(7) A Boat Tour through Killarney Lakes: a brilliant experience with never ending jaw dropping scenery. Can be combined with a walk or Jaunting Car ride through the Gap of Dunloe.
Killarney National Park offers unsurpassable enjoyment to all who visit and explore. If you are touring Ireland, including the south west region, you can incorporate and enjoy Killarney National Park as part of a private guided tour with Classic Ireland Guided Tours. Email: classicirelandguidedtours@gmail.com