Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its luscious green landscapes and rugged coastline. Several cruise lines offer multi-day pre- or post-cruise land vacations that include a day or two in Killarney Ireland or you can easily visit on your own. Visiting the Killarney area it is a great way to experience authentic old Ireland and explore its beautiful geography.
TOWN OF KILLARNEY
The first settlements in the area began around 650 A.D. with the establishment of the monastery on Innisfallen Island. The monastery was active for 850 years. Over these years, the monks wrote the Annals of Innisfallen chronicling the early history of Ireland. Today you can take a ferry from Ross Castle and visit the ruins of the monastery.
This picturesque town is a popular tourist destination with its rich history and surrounding rolling green mountains. The town is second only to Dublin in terms of the number of hotel beds available. The town is a cozy, quaint town filled with pubs and shops selling locally made crafts. Even if you aren’t a beer drinker, visit one of the many pubs to get a flavor of Irish life. It is easy to walk around and many of the key sights are within walking distance of the town’s center. A unique and entertaining way to explore the town is on a jaunting car (actually a horse pulling a cart or carriage) where you’ll learn the history of Killarney with a bit of blarney thrown in.
KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK
Next head to Killarney National Park which stretches from the edges of the town of Killarney and encompasses nearly 40 square miles of countryside and includes Ireland’s tallest mountain, Carrauntoohill which rises up 3,800 feet. Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland and was created when the Muchross Estate was donated to Ireland. The best way to explore the park is by car. Be sure to grab a picnic lunch in town as there are many scenic spots to eat along the drive.
Wildlife & Nature
The park contains three lakes: Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake. Along the way be sure to visit the Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain. The falls are a short 5-minute walk from the parking lot. These 60-foot falls can be thunderous after a rain.
Farther along you’ll come to the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass stretching almost 7 miles formed two milake and Upper Lake. Along the way be sure to visit the Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain. The falls are a short 5-minute walk from the parking lot. These 60-foot falls can be thunderous after a rain.
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