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6 Things You Must Do in Killarney Ireland

Posted on 15 Dec 2023

Maybe you've not heard of Killarney before. Or maybe it's never been high on your list. But, trust us, after we tell you about this wonderful and exciting region, you'll definitely want to visit. And we're here to ensure you find the best things to do in and around Killarney, so you can enjoy this Irish region to its fullest. Housing three iconic, open water lakes, historic castles, and much more, you’re sure to have a full itinerary when planning a tour of Killarney. But don’t worry, the Guinness will be flowing too. There's a reason we've made it a new departure point for our tours.

Grab your pen and paper and start making a note of all the best things to do in Killarney before packing your bags for an Irish adventure.

Table of Contents:

Top 6 Things to Do in Killarney

Touring the outskirts of Killarney is a must when visiting this region of Ireland. But where to start? Wanting to ensure you experience all the best this land has to offer, we’ve condensed our list into the top 6 things you must do while in Killarney.

Roam the Ring of Kerry

Synonymous with this area of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is an unmissable adventure that should definitely be added to your itinerary. You can join the route at any point, however we’d recommend using the town of Killarney, as it’s the official starting and finishing base. If you want to take the hassle out of organising the route yourself, join our 1 day roaming the Ring of Kerry: Portmagee & Skellig Ring tour, where we take you on an unforgettable quest.

Step back in time at Ross Castle

Sitting proud along the edge of Lough Leane in Killarney National Park, Ross Castle is a must visit for any history or photography enthusiast. With its fairy-tail allure, guests can explore the outside for free, while the castle is opened seasonally for tours. Our advice is to book ahead of your visit to ensure the castle is open.

Find tranquillity at the Lakes of Killarney

Go back to basics by adding the Lakes of Killarney to your must-see list. With not one, not two, but three idyllic lakes to behold, you’ll be swept away by the calming nature of their presence upon first glance.

Uncover history at Muckross House

Gifted to the Irish nation after being owned by a handful of families, Muckross House opens its doors to the public and you can experience what it would have been like to take up residency in this 19th century building. Still fully furnished in its elegant style, Muckross House is one of the best things to do, in our opinion, when in the area of Killarney.


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Feel refreshed at the Torc Waterfall

A thing you must do while in Killarney, especially after a heavy rainfall, is visit the refreshing Torc Waterfall. Gaining its name after being linked with legends about boars, golden spears, and treacherous curses, this waterfall is a spectacular sight.

Walk through the National Park

Stretching across 10,000 hectares, Killarney National Park is a marvellous place to explore while in the Southwest of County Kerry. Blessed with rugged mountain landscapes, waterfalls, and woodland, guests can trek through its beauty throughout the different seasons. Our advice is to plan ahead, especially if you want to visit the gardens and house, as these have seasonal hours which vary.

Best 5 Places to Eat in Killarney

While Killarney might not be considered the foodie capital of Ireland, finding something to satisfy all palates is easy. Whether solo travelling or part of a small-group tour, each of our top 5 places to eat are worth a visit. We would recommend booking in advance for any of the locations to ensure you can get seated.

1. Hannigans Bar, Restaurant & Terrace
Passionate about celebrating its heritage, Hannigans Bar, Restaurant & Terrace is located within the beautiful International Hotel Killarney. Focused on using quality, locally sourced ingredients, the award-winning Hannigans are ready to welcome you from 8am - 9pm everyday. Who knows, you may end up having a sing-song with the live band.


2. The Porterhouse Restaurant
Located in the heart of Killarney town, the family-run The Porterhouse restaurant is committed to sourcing fresh and local ingredients of the highest quality. Not only are they proud to serve Certified Irish Hereford Prime Beef, they have a dedicated kitchen and chef for their vegan menu, so everyone is catered for.


3. Kitty O’Se’s Seafood and Grill Restaurant
Serving the town of Killarney with fresh seafood since August 2019, Kitty O’Se’s Seafood and Grill is an award-winning restaurant,perfect for those with a love of prawns, oysters, and mussels. But if seafood is not your preference, their grill is equally more-ish and is a must-try foodie destination.


4. Café Du Parc

For a relaxing spot to catch up over breakfast or brunch, head to Café Du Parc. Bask in the warming atmosphere of this popular cafe, while discussing the craic over sweet french toast or savoury eggs and avocado.


5. Murphy’s Bar & Townhouse

To gain a sense of Irish charm, make a booking at Murphy’s Bar & Townhouse. Located in the heart of Killarney, this venue has been holding down family traditions for over 60 years. Pay them a visit when looking for things to do in Killarney and enjoy the live music and even better pints.

Where is Killarney?

The market town of Killarney lies in the southwest of Ireland in County Kerry. Famed for its scenic landscapes, historic buildings, and tranquil lakes, it certainly lives up to its nickname of ‘The Kingdom’. Popular with both tourists and locals alike, it's easy to see why this area of Ireland is fast becoming a vital stop for any holiday maker. As the gateway to the iconic peninsula, and having many other things to do in the area, travellers often make a pit stop here to refresh while soaking in the Irish charm.

How to Get to Killarney

So, you’ve got your to-do list for Killarney. Now what? How can you get there? Let us share how to easily access this gemstone of Ireland. With multiple means of access, you can fly, get public transport, or even drive there yourself, providing the freedom to explore this corner at your own pace.

Visiting by Train

  • Direct trains between Killarney and Dublin take just over 4 hours (4 hrs and 2 minutes)
  • Direct trains between Killarney and Cork take about 1 hour and 20 minutes

Not only is travelling via train one of the quickest ways to access this part of Ireland, it can be one of the more environmentally responsible ways to travel too. Feeling like you’re doing your small part, you can gaze at the landscape as it stretches beyond the train carriage windows, admiring the beauty of Ireland from the comfort of your seat.

Visiting by Plane

Another way to visit Killarney is flying by plane. The nearest airport to this stretch of Ireland is located around 17 km away at Kerry Airport (IATA code: KIR). Although, if travelling internationally, you can always look to land in a selection of airports listed, and commute via public transport to Killarney to start experiencing all the best things to do.

Visiting by Car

Driving to Killarney from other Irish towns and cities is pretty straightforward. And then you’ll have the freedom to explore the Emerald Isle at your own pace and whim.

  • From Dublin, driving to Killarney takes 3 hours and 15 minutes (302 km)
  • From Cork, driving to Killarney takes 1 hour and 13 minutes (88.4 km)
  • From Dingle, driving to Killarney takes 1 hour and 6 minutes (63.8 km)

Visiting Killarney and Beyond

Once you’ve done the top things to do in Killarney, why not explore further afield and see what the surroundings have to offer. Ireland is a magical country scattered with hidden tales and treasures to discover. But don’t just stop there. Discover our other top locations including the best places to visit in Belfast. This way you can collect stories from the places that matter the most, while going at your own pace. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear of our seasonal deals and new departure points.