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Killarney National Park

Top choice in County Kerry

Sprawling over 10,236 hectares, this sublime park is an idyllic place to explore. Ross Castle and Muckross House draw big crowds, but it's possible to escape amid Ireland's largest area of ancient oak woods, with panoramic views of its highest mountains and the country's only wild herd of native red deer. The core of the park is the Muckross Estate, donated to the state by Arthur Bourn Vincent in 1932; the park was designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1982.

The Killarney Lakes – Lough Leane (the Lower Lake, or 'Lake of Learning'), Muckross (or Middle) Lake and the Upper Lake – make up about a quarter of the park, and are surrounded by natural oak and yew woodland, and overlooked by the high crags and moors of Purple Mountain (832m) to the west and Knockrower (552m) to the south.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby County Kerry attractions

1. Muckross House

1.28 MILES

This impressive Victorian mansion is crammed with fascinating objects (70% of the contents are original). Portraits by John Singer Sargent adorn the walls…

2. Muckross Traditional Farms

1.45 MILES

These recreations of 1930s farms evoke authentic sights, sounds and smells – cow dung, hay, wet earth and peat smoke, and a cacophony of chickens, ducks,…

3. Ross Castle

1.59 MILES

Lakeside Ross Castle dates to the 15th century, when it was a residence of the O'Donoghue family. The entertaining 45-minute guided tour combines an…

4. Torc Waterfall


This picturesque 20m-high waterfall cascades down a series of rock steps 7km south of Killarney, a 300m walk from a car park on the N71.

5. Muckross Abbey

1.76 MILES

Signposted 1.5km northeast of Muckross House, this well-preserved ruin (actually a friary, though everyone calls it an abbey) was founded in 1448 and…

6. Inisfallen

2.14 MILES

The first monastery on Inisfallen (the largest of the islands in Lough Leane) was founded by St Finian the Leper in the 7th century. The extensive ruins…

7. Killarney House & Gardens

2.86 MILES

Dating from the early 18th century, Killarney House was once part of a much larger residence that was later demolished; it was restored in 2016 and now…

8. Knockreer House & Gardens

2.86 MILES

The original Knockreer House, built for the Earl of Kenmare in the 1870s, burned down in 1913; the present house was built on the same site in 1958 and is…