Killarney, with its rugged and mountainous National Park – and being the base to the famous Ring of Kerry – is a fantastic spot to put your hiking boots on. We’ve rounded up our 5 favourite walks in Killarney.
Killarney National Park has a distinctive and dramatic terrain of big variety – mountains, lakes, forests and waterfalls. The McGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range is situated in the national park, which is the highest mountain range in Ireland with a height of more than 1000 metres. At the foot of the mountains, there is 10, 236 hectares of pure nature to explore.
Here are our 5 favourite walks in Killarney.
1. Library Point – Ross Island
For a little shorter walk of only 5 km, where you get a lot back for the relatively small effort, take a trip to Library Point, on the Ross Island Walk.
The walk will take you from the impressive 15-century structure by the name of Ross Castle, to a limestone rock formation called Library Point, situated at the edge of the beautiful Lough Leane. The castle is one of the most visited places in the whole national park, partly due to its charming location right at the other end of the lake but also for its fascinating architecture.
It’s also possible to take a boat ride from the castle to get a tour of Innisfallen Island, so why not bring a picnic and take your lunch break on an island!
2. Muckross Lake Loop Walk
There are several walks in the Killarney National Park that start from Muckross House but The Muckross Lake Loop Walk is definitely one of our favourites. At 15km long it will take you about 3-4 hours to complete.
The route brings you on a scenic walk from the Muckross House, down to the lake shores and from there all the way out to the Muckross Peninsula. The peninsula separates Muckross Lake from Lough Leane. After that, you’ll wander into the Reenadinna Wood which is a good spot to look out for the country’s only wild herd of red deer.
If you feel like a coffee, and didn’t bring your own thermos, drop by Dinis Cottage for a cuppa. It’s located at the Western side of Muckross Lake. You’ll also have the option to pass by the stunning Torc Waterfall by adding a little detour to the route.
3. Old Kenmare Road
If you fancy a longer walk we highly recommend the Old Kenmare Road walk. However, there are a few additional logistics involved as it’s a one-way route. We recommend you start at the upper car park of Torc Mountain.
The Kenmare Road trail is part of a long distance route called the Kerry Way which twists its way around Iveragh Peninsula.
This Old Kenmare Road walk is 16 km long and will take you through woodland, over hills and across part of exposed uplands. It’s the perfect walk if you fancy a close to nature experience with total peace and quiet.
More info: Killarney Guide
4. Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is an epic route that really showcases the rugged beauty of Killarney. The 12 km route will lead you across the national park and through the famous Gap, guarded on both sides by the majestic McGillyCuddy Reeks mountain range.
Kate Kearney’s Cottage is the perfect spot to start and finish this walk.
Don’t forget to look over your shoulder when you approach the head of the Gap, as the views back down are quite magical.
More info: Killarney Guide
5. Tomies Wood Walk – O’Sullivan’s Cascade
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Head to Tomies Wood for a nice, easy and simply stunning looped walk of 10 km. The walk will probably take you about three to four hours to complete and runs from the slopes of Tomies Mountain and on the shore of Lough Leane.
Along the way, you’ll encounter several waterfalls, with the most spectacular one being the O’Sullivan’s Cascade.
The majority of the walk is on a clear and obvious gravel path, and the route is well marked out so you can’t go wrong. At the first crossing, you will have the option to go take a left and go straight to the waterfall, but we recommend taking a right instead and saving the best for last.
No dogs or bicycles are allowed on the trail by the landowner, but hiking on two feet is free for anyone – something we are very grateful for!
More info: Killarney
By Elsa Anderling
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