Killarney National Park

Limited on time, our visit to the Ring of Kerry was short. After an executive decision by me, my companions and I spent all our time within Killarney National Park. The park is located on the northern part of the Ring, and many of Kerry’s top sights are within it. Inside Killarney National Park is the charming tourist town of Killarney, and I suggest starting, and even basing yourself there.

Killarney Town

Visiting Killarney in Ireland along the Ring of Kerry.
Main Street Killarney.

Killarney is a basic touristic town; it’s filled with little shops you can pop in and out of, generic Irish food, with a few hidden gems sprinkled throughout. Quinlan’s Seafood Bar ended up being one of those places. The fish & chips were delicious, and the soup, even better. Perfect for warming up after a chilly, damp morning.

Inside Quinlan's seafood bar with white walls and black accents and historic photographs.
Quinlan's seafood bar in Killarney, Ireland.

In the evening (after our National Park escapes), we hit up the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder. It has a ginormous whiskey selection – enough to make a whiskey enthusiast like me swoon. If you’d like to read more of my whiskey adventures, click here. We opted for a more traditional dinner and a chocolate & whiskey tasting for dessert.

Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney, Ireland.
Irish appetizer.
If you haven’t had croquettes – you must! I’ve yet to find them in America.
Liver and onions at the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
Liver and onions – with a twist.
Traditional Irish meal
A whiskey and chocolate pairings tasting.
Chocolate & whiskey…my favourite combination.
Bushmills Distillery sign with candles.
Celtic whiskey bar & larder in Killarney, Ireland.
The rows of whiskey bottles.

Torc Waterfall

After a well-deserved lunch (we had spent the morning exploring Dingle), we headed to Torc Waterfall. Not to brag, but Canada’s are more impressive, so if you’re Canadian (or just short on time) – skip this one.

Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park, Ireland.
Torc Waterfall
The view of Killarney National Park from the hiking trails near the Torc Waterfall.
The view from the hike up of Muckross Lake.
Exploring Killarney National Park in Ireland along the Ring of Kerry. Wearing denim and a peasant blouse.
The British Isles’ forests always make me feel like I’m in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Muckross House & Gardens

In Killarney National Park, you’ll also find Muckross House.

The Muckross House & Gardens in Ireland in Killarney National Park along the Ring of Kerry.

You could easily spend an afternoon here, wandering the house and grounds. This Victorian mansion was designed for the Herbert family, but named for the lake it sits on. It’s still decorated in period style.

A grand estate in Ireland with blue painted staircase.

Outside, the gardens were designed for Queen Victoria’s visit in 1861, and have been kept up ever since. There’s always events going on here, so check out the website for more info. Traditional farms on site also give visitors a look into early 20th century rural life.

Visiting Muckross House & Gardens in Ireland, beautiful coral coloured bushes leading into a grand estate.
The back of Muckross house in Ireland. White benches in a courtyard.

My favourite part (as always) were the gardens. I’d love to see this place on a busy summer weekend, abuzz with crowds, learning the history behind (what I think is) the crown jewel of Killarney National Park.

Standing in front of a pink flowered bush with braided hair and a peasant blouse and blue jeans.
Muckross Garden in Ireland. Complete with greenhouse.
Visiting Muckross Gardens in Killarney National Park along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. Very green and beautiful in the spring. Braided hair with a peasant blouse, denim and floral flats.
Imagine having a view like this.

Ross Castle

Ross Castle is another exciting stop within the park. On the banks of Lough Leane (the biggest lake within the National Park), it has stood as a large tower house since the 15th century. It’s open to the public in the summer via guided tours, which tell the story of what life was like throughout this castle’s history. Although I just missed the last tour myself, I still got to explore the beautiful grounds.

Ross Castle in Killarney National Park, Ireland.
River boats along a peaceful stream in Ireland with ducks and a bridge in Killarney National Park.
Ross Castle door in Ireland.

…And not to mention, monkey around a bit.

Climbing a tree.

Overall, I was captivated by Killarney’s beauty. If you only have a few days in Ireland and want to spend them outside of the capital, I highly recommend coming here to get a genuine sense of the local history and natural surroundings. While the Ring of Kerry as a whole can be a little overwhelmed with tourists, it’s like that for a reason. In the spring (we went in May), it was quiet as can be.

To check out more things to do in Killarney National Park, click here.

To read more of my Ireland travels, click here.

3 Comments

  1. Mary-Annabelle
    July 5, 2019 / 2:21 am

    You BC and Alberta Canadians are so spoiled with your waterfalls!! But Ross Castle looks beautiful! Kinda like assassin’s creed-esque!

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      July 5, 2019 / 2:31 am

      I’ll have to look up Assassins Creed things to confirm that hahaha

  2. July 7, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    The house looks fantastic with all that gorgeous foliage! Would have made the same decision to stick to the national park only if I were short on time.

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