I don’t like to pick favorites. But I will.
I think that Killarney was my favorite little place that we visited in Ireland. Dublin is amazing for it’s cool urban vibe. Kilkenny is fun for it’s small village charm. But I feel like Killarney has it all. The town is adorable, very clean, but big enough to have everything you would need! You are minutes away from amazing hiking and incredible views while still having tons of choices for where to grab a pint and hear some authentic music.
We spent our whole first day in Killarney National Park and we wish we had MORE time to explore it!
Our first stop was Torc Waterfall. This was kind of a must-see because it wasn’t even a hike at all. Minutes from the parking lot, this is a feature you can’t miss and it only takes you about 15 minutes to walk there. For that reason, however, it was very crowded. It was a very cool stopping point, but you don’t need more than a few minutes to check it out.
In stark contrast to the crowds around the Muckross House and Torc Waterfall, we spent the rest of our day hiking throughout the park and hardly ran into anyone!
We chose the Dinnis Cottage Trail. This trail was perfect for spending 5-6 hours in the park and being able to hike to wonderful overlooks and many, many lakes. The first lake we encountered on the hike was Muckross Lake. This was just a beautiful spot to take a little rest!
It helped that the weather was an absolute dream, staying around mid 60s the whole time.
The hike continues to a really cool spot called the ‘Meeting of the Waters.’ There are three waterways meeting at this exact spot – one coming in from the left of the frame, one from the right, and one on the other side of that bridge. This little spot had amazing reflections that day, also, which was an added bonus!
The trail we were taking continued on for many miles, but we were trying to make this beautiful bridge our turnaround spot.
Like our last stop, this bridge marks the meeting of different bodies of water. One side of the bridge overlooks Loche Leane and the other side overlooks Muckross Lake. We ended up meeting a group of Irish cyclists while taking these pictures. They, like all the locals we met on the trip, were as friendly as could be. We chatted for a while about our trip, where we were headed, the good places to eat in the area, etc. We went on to see them several times throughout the day. Meeting warm people on your travels does make all the difference!
After we finished our hike, we made our way to Ross Castle. It was closed when we got there, which we expected, but it was fun to walk around the ruins of such a massive castle on the lake.
Our last stop around Killarney National Park was my absolute favorite. This is a viewing area called “Lady’s View.”
This is a spectacular place to visit no matter what, but especially if you aren’t into long hikes. This was another short walk from a parking lot, but this view WOW. It seriously took my breath away. You can see so many layers when staring out at this landscape and when the sun would poke out of the clouds it would LIGHT up golden green. It was amazing!
After an exhausting 30,000 step day, we were ready for some dinner! As I mentioned before, the town of Killarney did not disappoint.
The town was so charming! But was actually pretty big! There were shops, pubs, restaurants, botanical gardens, historic buildings, lots of boutique b&Bs and small hotels and of course lots of shops you would utilize during a longer stay like grocery stories, pharmacies, department stores, etc. I loved it here!
For dinner, I was THRILLED to take Brad to Bricín for boxtys because I had been telling Brad about my obsession with boxty’s for years! A boxty is basically just a very thin potato pancake filled with savory foods like cream sauces, meats, and veggies. YUM.
Since we were lucky enough to spend two days in Killarney, we began our next day with Irish coffee and a bus tour around the Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry is a stunning ring road winding up and down mountains and offering beautiful vistas, but it is a little difficult to navigate in your own vehicle. The bus tour wasn’t the best.. but it got us to some wonderful spots we wouldn’t have seen on our own!
Besides the views and walks in the mountains, our favorite part of this bus tour was our stop at a sheep dog demonstration!!
This was seriously so informative and so entertaining! We met a real Irish shepherd with the thickest accent imaginable who graciously introduced us to all 12 varieties of sheep he herds. He then let us meet his two border collies and gave us a thirty minute demonstration on the amazing skills of these dogs and their ability to hear a teeny tiny whistle or command and herd the sheep into different groups, different shapes, and bring them from the top of the mountain down to the shepherd quickly and efficiently. It was seriously impressive. We need to teach Millie!
We finished up our Ring of Kerry tour with lunch in this amazing spot!
Our stay in Killarney was exceptional and I wish we could go back! Bonus info: If you are going, we would definetly recommend the International Hotel. It’s right in the middle of town and within walking distance to everything. It’s a good price, a beautiful hotel with friendly staff, and THIS is the free breakfast they offer each morning! They had tons of yogurt, fruit, and pastries and let you order delicious entrees made hot all included in your stay.