The good people of Ireland’s County Kerry call their land “The Kingdom,” and if that’s so, then the Lakes of Killarney must be the Crown Jewels.
Killarneys lovely lakes have long been immortalized in song and story for their breathtaking beauty. Indeed, Queen Victoria and her court were so mesmerized by the panoramic vista from a hilltop overlooking the lakes, that the scene was named for all time “The Ladies’ View.”
And while the beauty of the lakes is reason enough to visit the small village of Killarney in the southwest corner of the Emerald Isle, there are a number of additional charms that make this area of Kerry a must-see for any visitor to Ireland.
Killarney National Park – There are 26,000 acres of some of the most beautiful scenery in Eire. Enjoy hiking, cycling, fishing, and horseback riding, in parklands, beaches, and mountain trails.
Torc Mountain – You can take a vigorous, though not too taxing, the trail to the top to admire a spectacular view of the lakes, admiring a wonderful waterfall on the way.
Ross Castle – This restored 15th-century castle is a classic Irish fortress that figured in Ireland’s fights for freedom.
Muckross House – A Victorian demense now open to “commoners,” showing life on a landlord’s estate. It includes exquisite gardens and a working farm.
Muckross Abbey – These ruins of a 13th century Franciscan abbey are mute testimony to the faith of the Irish during times of persecution.
The Gap of Dunloe – Perhaps the most famous individual tour in Ireland, takes visitors to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, from which you can go on foot, horseback or “jaunting car” (horse-drawn cart) through a mountain pass, and then by boat across Killarney’s lakes to Ross Castle.
Golf – Ireland has some of the finest golf courses in the world, and that’s not even taking about the scenery. Courses in Killarney include the Dunloe Golf Course and the Castlerosse Golf Club. Within a short driving distance are the legendary Ballybunnion Golf Course and the Waterville Golf Club.
Dining – For a small village, Killarney offers sophisticated dining choices, and with its location near Ireland’s Southwest Coast, deliciously fresh seafood.
Singing Pubs – One of the “grand” experiences of a trip to Ireland is enjoying a night of song, mirth and camaraderie in one of Killarney’s singing pubs.
Hotels – Wonderful accommodation choices abound in Killarney, from hospitable B&B’s to luxury hotels, such as the Killarney Park and the Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa.
For more information, visit Killarney’s oficial website, www.killarney.ie , or Tourism Ireland at www.discoverireland.com.