Are you looking for things to do in Killarney, Ireland while you are visiting for the first time? If yes, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will be sharing some of the top attractions and activities in Killarney Ireland that you simply cannot miss!
Killarney is located at the northern end of the Ring Of Kerry.
It is one of the top places to include in your Ireland itinerary, especially if you hope to explore the Ring Of Kerry/Wild Atlantic Way and the surrounding area.
From gorgeous lakes to stunning viewpoints, there is honestly so much to explore in this Ireland destination.
Are you a little unsure about what to do in Killarney?
Well, keep reading our article on the top things to do in Killarney: charming adventures for first-time visitors!
Things to do in Killarney: Charming Adventures For First-Time Visitors
Explore the Killarney National Park
If you are searching for fun things to do in Killarney, then I would suggest visiting the famous Killarney National Park.
Here, I came across some of the most gorgeous landscapes that I’ve ever seen.
The mountains reach down to the three lakes collectively known as the Lakes of Killarney, (Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and Upper Lake).
Lush green forests and waterfalls add to the charm of the countryside. For outdoor lovers, this is one of the best places to visit in Ireland.
When out exploring the Killarney National Park in your car, there are plenty of places to pull over and admire the views.
You can also plan a hike in the wilderness. Explore the plethora of lakes, waterfalls, and historic sites that reside here.
Visit Killarney House & Gardens
One of the top attractions in Killarney City that you cannot miss visiting is the Killarney House & Gardens.
This is a pedestrian-friendly landmark that I came across during my morning run in Killarney.
There is no cost to enter, and once I passed through the gates onto the property, the noises and hustle-bustle of the city melted away.
Before me was the vintage and restored Killarney House, with its lush and impeccably manicured gardens.
If you want to learn about this house, you can take a free tour of Killarney House.
On the other hand, if you are a nature lover, you will find a myriad of running/walking/biking trails in Killarney Gardens.
What I loved about this place was that the grounds were meticulously cared for, and the flowers were all bursting into bloom.
Trust me, if you love history and gardens, then one of the best things to do in Killarney is to visit the Killarney House and Gardens.
Ross Castle Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Killarney
Ross Castle is a 15th-century castle and one of the top attractions in Killarney that you must visit.
It is located on the edge of Lough Leane, one of the 3 Lakes of Killarney, and a few blocks from Killarney House and Gardens.
You can enter the castle for a fee of 5 Euros but it comes with a guided tour as well.
I loved walking around the castle and it makes for a great picnic spot too.
You can walk around the lake here or take a boat tour to Inisfallen Island.
Ross Castle is so easy to access and a wonderful quick stop during your first trip to Killarney and one of the best things to do in Ireland!
Explore the Mystical Innisfallen Island
Are you looking for unique things to do in Killarney Ireland? If yes, then do visit Innisfallen Island.
I loved the boat tour to the island and then exploring around the island to take in its history and wildlife.
The island is surrounded by gorgeous mountains and traditional woodlands. Plus, you can see Abbey and Sika deer roaming around freely here.
It is also home to the Innisfallen Monastery which was founded in the 600s.
Apart from a boat ride, you can also take a kayak to reach this gorgeous island.
Muckross House & Gardens Should Be On Your List Of Things To Do In Killarney
Muckross House is located 6 km (3.7 mi) from Killarney City and is one of the popular places to visit in Ireland.
It is a 19th-century Tudor-style mansion that is located close to the Muckross Lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes.
Muckross House & Gardens is open every day except during Christmas and gets very busy.
When we visited, it was quite crowded, so plan plenty of time to visit.
Enjoy a guided tour of the house that includes your admission and lasts about an hour.
You can also take a joint ticket to visit the Muckross Traditional Farms nearby.
Muckross House has a bloody past which makes it one of the most interesting things to do in Killarney.
Spend Some Time at Muckross Lake
Of course, when you are exploring the Muckross House, you must spend some time at the nearby Muckross Lake as well.
This is one of the best places in Killarney for nature lovers as there are a plethora of hiking and biking trails to explore here.
One popular trail in Killarney National Park takes you on a loop around the lake.
It is 6mi/10K long and an easy trail. The recommended time to complete it is about 2 hours.
You can also take guided biking and walking tours here.
I loved the scenery around Muckross Lake and would recommend everyone to set aside a little time to explore around here.
Torc Waterfall is a Must-Visit
Torc Waterfall is another great attraction in Killarney that can be a good addition to your Ireland itinerary.
Although Ireland is not famous for its waterfalls, this one is truly gorgeous and worth a visit if you are in the area.
Located in Killarney National Park, you can walk through a forest to reach the Torc Waterfall.
You can also take the cardiac steps to enjoy a stunning view of this waterfall.
There’s plenty of parking and signage that make it easy to find.
This is one of the top things to do in Killarney that you cannot miss.
Look here: Ring of Kerry: Full-Day Tour from Killarney
Hike the ‘Cardiac Steps” Of Torc Mountain
For hiking enthusiasts, one of the top things to do in Killarney Ireland is hiking the cardiac steps of the Torc Mountain.
From the top of the climb, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Torc Waterfall.
Make sure you are fit to make this hike.
I did climb partway up to view the waterfalls from a different perspective but did not venture the entire way.
Enjoy a Round of Golf Is One Of The Fun Things To Do In Killarney Ireland
If you are bored of doing the same old things, then you can try a round of golf in Killarney.
The city is home to a plethora of golf courses in different configurations.
All you need to do is decide the location.
You have the option of choosing a woodland golf course, a lakeside golf course, or a mountainside one.
Moreover, there are different course lengths available.
This is why Killarney is a paradise for golf lovers.
Explore Killarney’s Lakes
One of the things that I love about Killarney is that it is home to a lot of wonderful lakes.
Lough Leane is the largest lake in Killarney and offers cruises from multiple locations.
The lakes are surrounded by rugged mountains and you can enjoy stunning views from here on a clear day.
On the Muckross Lake, you will see the quaint and historic Denis Cottage, dating back to the 1700s.
Today it is used as a cute tea house. Here you can see the Old Weir Bridge and the Meeting of the Waters.
If you are visiting other lakes, don’t forget to pack a picnic. You can also rent row boats and spend some time in the lakes here.
Visit the Ladies’ View Overlooking The Lakes Of Killarney
Located around 12 miles from Killarney City, Ladies View is another top thing that you cannot miss out on in Killarney.
I loved the epic views of the lush forests and the Lakes of Killarney, making it worth the detour.
You will find several locations to park your vehicle and enjoy the views here.
Did you know why it was named Ladies View? Well, Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting were taken to this point during the 1860s and they were quite impressed by the view.
Since then, it has been named so. So, if you love viewpoints, then don’t miss this viewpoint in Killarney National Park
The Gap Of Dunloe For Epic Views
One of the top places to visit in Ireland, due to its stunning landscape, is the Gap of Dunloe!
It is a very narrow mountain pass that connects the Purple Mountain and the MacGillyCuddy Reeks.
Glacially formed over 25,000 years ago, the Gap runs north-south and is accessible on a narrow public road.
There are mountains, beautiful lakes, and epic sunrises/sunsets to be seen.
The place gives you a full Lord of the Rings vibe and a must-visit in Killarney.
Although you can drive the narrow roads of Gap of Dunloe, it is not recommended.
Instead, I would recommend you put on your hiking shoes and walk around a little here to take in the views.
Tickets here: Killarney: Gap of Dunloe Walking and Boat Tour
One Of The Best Things To Do In Killarney City Is Shopping!
Are you a shopping enthusiast? If yes, then one of the best things to do in Killarney City is shopping.
The city center is home to lots of amazing shops, restaurants, pubs, and ice cream parlors that you can explore!
From Irish souvenirs to hand-knit Aran sweaters, you can buy all kinds of items here in varying price ranges.
The best part for me was walking to the shops and comparing the merchandise, quality, and value.
Try New Food and Irish Ice Cream in Killarney
Another thing that I love about Killarney is the food here.
You can get all kinds of cuisines from the establishments here.
I was very surprised and pleased to find a variety of places that catered to people with specific food preferences.
Apart from the food, the Irish love their ice cream. This is why you will find several ice cream parlors in Killarney City.
The vegan gelato was scrumptious and made for the perfect ending after dinner. Do plan on getting ice cream or gelato when planning a trip to Killarney.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral
Are you still wondering about what to do in Killarney? Well, fret not.
For architecture lovers, one of the top things to do in Killarney is the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.
It is located in the west of the city and has a gorgeous backdrop in the mountains and the lakes.
The cathedral was designed in 1840 by Augustus Welby Pugin, a famous English architect. Its design is inspired by Ardfert Cathedral which features the same triple lancets.
Apart from the backdrop and the exteriors, I found the interiors of this cathedral quite stunning as well.
Memorial of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty
Another top attraction in Killarney is the memorial statue of the Irish Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.
He earned the nickname the “Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican,” because he was continually able to evade the snares of the German Gestapo in Rome.
Through his “Rome Escape Line” he was instrumental in saving 6,500 Allied POW escapees and Jews. And avoided certain death if captured by the Gestapo.
After the war, he took care of the German and Italian POWs. He also made sure they were treated humanely. He received many awards for his heroic deeds, from many countries.
The memorial statue is located close to Killarney House and Gardens and a must-visit in Killarney.
Where to Stay in Killarney Ireland
If you are looking for a raw experience, then camping is the best way to go around Killarney.
However, if you are looking for a relaxed and comfortable trip, then here are a few good hotel options to consider:
Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre: For golf lovers, one of the best hotels to stay in Killarney is Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre. It is located in the heart of the city and offers modern and comfortable facilities to the guests. If you want to be pampered, then this hotel is perfect.
Killarney Court Hotel: If you are looking for a budget-friendly stay in Killarney, then Killarney Court Hotel is perfect for you. It is a 10-minute walk from the city center and features an Irish pub, an in-house restaurant, and a beauty treatment center.
Muckross Park Hotel & Spa: Have you always wanted to stay in a castle? If yes, then Muckross Park Hotel & Spa can make your dream come true. Located inside Killarney National Park, this is a luxurious 5-star hotel and spa that is perfect for honeymoon couples.
Killarney Glamping at the Grove, Suites, and Lodges: If you want to enjoy a glamping experience in Killarney, then this place is perfect for you. You have both glamping suites and luxury lodges available where you get all the basic amenities and more. It is located close to Muckross Lake and is perfect for couples.
Packing Tips For Your Trip To Ireland
Read these travel tips next:
Read my tips on how to pack lightly for your trip to Ireland.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring during your visit to Ireland. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your trip to Ireland. This world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc… This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
You may be visiting Ireland in warmer weather, and you may want a pair of sandals to wear while exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare and help you to see things more clearly.
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified purchases.
Have you visited Killarney, Ireland? If you have, what is your favorite memory?
Pin this post: