Friday, March 25, 2011
Killarney (Cill Airne in Irish) promotes its-self as the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and has been Ireland's top town for tourism for many years, only losing its crown to Dublin in recent times. The town, although attractive, is outshone by the surrounding countryside with it's mountains, lakes, woods and overall beauty which attracts visitors worldwide.
You can take a ride though part of this beauty by taking a Jaunting Car, the local form of horse drawn carriage. Always take a raincoat as the weather can be unpredictable. Killarney town has much too interest the tourist, not least, the fine restaurants, gift shops and traditional pubs, of which there are many.
Founded in 1440 on the site of an earlier monastery, Muckross Abbey has very extensive late Gothic remains. Three of Kerry's four great Gaelic poets are buried inside the Abbey and the fourth (Piaras Feirtear) in the graveyard.
Built in 1843, the 65 - room Victorian mansion house is one of Irelands leading stately homes. It stands majestically on the lake shore in the National Park, Killarney.
The Location and botanical collection make this one of the "Greatest Gardens of the World". Extensive areas of natural rockery, water garden, large lawns, arboretum, flowers, trees - surrounded by woodland set among lakes and mountains.
Muckross Traditional Farm
A more recent addition, the Muckross Traditional Farm recreates the houses and activities of rural Ireland prior to electrification in the 1930's. While visiting the magnificent outhouses & farm fields, the labourer's cottage, the blacksmiths forge and having a chat with the men and women at work you are guaranteed to think that you are living in the 1930's.
A medieval tower in Killarney National Park. Situated in a beautiful location on the lake shore. Tours are available.
Aghadoe was a pagan site superseded by a Christian Monastery established in the 6th or 7th century. Visit the remains of the stone church and a round tower dating from 1027 and enjoy one of Ireland's most beautiful scenes overlooking the Killarney Lakes.
Dunloe Ogham Stones
Between Beaufort village and the Gap of Dunloe can be found a display of Ogham Stones.These were originally the roof of a souterrain or underground passage which collapsed at the end of the last century. Ogham was the earliest form of Irish writing (third century A.D). Ogham stones are usually gravestones and bear the name of the deceased and often details of his descent.
A short walk up a steep wide footpath leads to the Torc Waterfall, it has a fall of 60 feet/18 metres and the footpath leading up to it offers excellent views over the Killarney lakes. This waterfall is formed by a river which flows from the Punch Bowl high in the mountain and provides a spectacular display after a heavy rainfall.
So named after Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting who stopped to look at the scenery from this spot during the Queen's visit to Killarney in 1861. The view towards McGillycuddy's Reeks and the Purple Mountain Range, with The Upper Lake and all its fairy islands below, is truely magnificent.
Gap of Dunloe
Carved by the miltwater of a huge glacier thousands of years ago, the Gap is about seven miles in length with Tomies and Purple mountains on the left and the McGillycuddy Reeks in the right. Many walk or cycle but for the romantic, a journey "Thro' the Gap" in a pony and trap returning by boat via the Killarney Lakes is the only way experience the magic of the Gap - a magnificent unforgettable trip not to be missed.
Meeting of the Waters
This is the point where the waters of the Upper Lake meet those of the Muckross lake (Middle Lake) and Lough Lein at the Old Weir Bridge. Approximately 1 mile past Torc Waterfall on the Kenmare Road, a small car park is provided for visitors - follow the lakeside footpath for about 15 minutes.
Kerry is said to have nearly 2,000 miles of quiet byroads - this is the perfect way to see the beauty of Killarney and Kerry created during the iceage 10,000 years ago. To see Kerry's most awesome sites cyclists, walkers and joggers - take to the byroads
Kissane Mountain Sheep Farm
On Kissane Sheep Farm you can adopt a sheep. In doing so you help preserve the Irish heritage of mountain sheep in the scenic area of Moll's Gap. Adoptive Parents have free entrance to the farm. Visitors can see sheepdog and shearing demonstrations, take walks and picnics, bootle feed sheep and cuddle lambs. Enjoy the Puzzle Walk and Treasure Trail.
The Blue Pool
This is a nature reserve and perhaps Killarney's little secret. An enclave known mostly to locals, the blue pool is a magical place - its waters are coloured naturally by local limestone & other rocks. It is the halcyon home of local wildlife - sit quietly for a few moments and see kingfishers catching trout in the local pool and squirrels darting in the trees. Turn left at Molly Darcy's pub on the Muckross road for little bit of heaven.
"Ireland's most exciting show cave". Discovered in 1983 and thought to be over a million years old, this natural, all - weather tourist attraction has dramatic sound and lighting effects. It is formed of limestone. The Cave Centre offers a restaurant with home cooking, large souvenir shop, toilets for the disabled, free car and coach park.
Cycling is an ideal way to see the Killarney National Park. There are paved bicycle paths in Muckross, Knockreer and Ross Island.
If you do not have a bicycle, there are several places in Killarney where you can rent them. O' Sullivans Cycles, located across from the Tourist Office, charges €15 to rent a bike for the day.
Put on your runners...
Killarney town can easily be covered by foot. It is a mere ten minute walk from the town centre to The Demense at the entrance of the National Park. There are many beautiful sign-posted walks you can follow from there. If you are a parent, there is a new enclosed playground two minutes walk from the main gate by the river, with play areas divided up by age group.