15 Best Things To Do In Killarney {Ireland} In 2024

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
January 4, 2024
Killarney is a beautiful place in County Kerry bursting with nature and atmosphere. Check out our best things to do in Killarney to help inspire your trip.
Killarney Ireland

Killarney was one of my favourite spots in all of Ireland.

Located in Country Kerry it's an area of natural beauty.

If you find yourself doing the Ring of Kerry (which you should) then you’ll find Killarney is the starting and ending point of the famous loop.

So, below I bring to you, the best things to do in Killarney Ireland! 

klllany national park
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1. Enjoy a night out on the town

Okay, so Killarney is a little bit touristy, but if you want pubs and clubs galore playing all types of music, including authentic Irish traditional music, then you will not be disappointed with Killarney. 

It’s actually a really popular spot for hen nights and stag do’s in Ireland, so it’s filled with Irish getting drunk!

We went on a saturday night and there was soooo much going on! We went to a few pubs and they were all excellent.

Since you will be spoilt for choice, I can recommend Murphy's bar and O'Connors as two places for an authentic Irish atmosphere and a great night out! 

A night out in Killarney is one of the things to do in Killarney at night. 

Read Also: Our In-depth Ireland Travel Guide

2. Discover Muckross Abbey and House

mussrosk house and abbey

So if you’re not too hungover from that amazing evening out, then you can start seeing some of the beauty that Killarney has to offer. 

Muckross house was established in 1843 and sits close to one of the lakes of Killarney (more on them later)

It’s a beautiful Tudor Style Mansion and it’s very picturesque. Muckross Abbey is only a 5 minute walk from the carpark of the house.

It’s a beautiful building with an interesting and bloody past.

You should definitely explore both these places.

You can only visit Muckross House via guided tour and it’s around 10 euro.

But, you can get a joint ticket if you want to visit the traditional farms too. 

All the information on opening hours and price tiers you can find here on their website.

muckross house

3. Explore the Lakes of Killarney National Park

killarney lakes

Killarney is famous for its beautiful lakes, of which there are 3.

Actually a lot of Irish songs mention the lakes of Killarney, and they don’t disappoint. 

They are surrounded by rugged mountains and if you’re lucky enough to get a clear day (which we did) then you’ll have some amazing views! 

I suggest you pack a picnic and walk around the lakes until you find a quiet spot to simply relax, listen to nature and enjoy your lunch.

This will be a memorable moment in Killarney, trust me! 

You can even rent row boats on the lake, so if you really want to create a super romantic moment, then do this. 

I wanted to do this, but Brad and I’s car battery had died the day before and it took help from 5 locals, a couple of hours and we finally got the car running, so basically, he couldn’t leave the car! Haha 

Book a coach tour here.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Ireland
rent a boat on killarney lake

4. Visit the scenic Torc Waterfall

torc waterfall

Ireland isn’t actually known for it’s amazing waterfalls, and if you’ve seen some waterfalls in Asia or South America, don’t be expecting the same quality or strength! 

However, that being said, the Torc waterfall is very picturesque and a beautiful walk in the forest. 

The waterfall is in Killarney national park (which is crazy huge btw) and it’s only a short walk to the viewing point, or you can take on the steps which are now known as cardiac steps (I’ll let you guess why) that brings you to a stunning view above the waterfall. 

Only do this on a clear day, or you will probably be disappointed at the views!

This is one of the best things to do in Killarney National Park. 

It's free to visit the waterfall and the national park.

5. Immerse in nature at the Meetings of the water

meetings of the water

This is one of the most unique places to see in Killarney, and it doesn’t always make a typical things to do in Killarney list!

It is what it says on the tin, it’s the point in which the 3 beautiful lakes of Killarney meet “in the middle”. 

This is such a beautiful spot and oozes tranquility. 

The best way to access it is via bike or walking.

There are a few trails from Torc Waterfall and Muckross house that will take you there, basically you’re making it to Dinis cottage as the path behind it brings you to the meetings of the water. 

It's a free sight too.

Read Also: Our Ultimate 16 Day Ireland Road Trip Itinerary

6. Explore the stunning Ross Castle

ross castle

Ross Castle is a 15th century castle on the edge of Lough Leane (one of the Killarney lakes) and it’s a beautiful castle.

I didn’t explore inside but it’s 5 euro for entrance and there is a coffee shop on sight. 

But it’s beautiful to walk around and on the lake you can take a variety of boat trips that take you around different spots on the lake, or you can rent a rowboat and create your own adventure.

It’s also a nice spot for a picnic or somewhere to read a book.

When I visited the weather was crazy warm which made it even more spectacular. Definitely one of the best things to see in Killarney.

Read Also: The 35 Best Castles In Ireland That You Need To Visit
ross castle prices

7. Enjoy a beautiful “Ladies View”

View Ladies View, Ireland

When we visited Killarney, some road works were happening which meant one of the main tourist driving roads was actually blocked off, this meant we never made it to Ladies View as we would have had to take a much longer route to get there.

But anyway, it was on my list of things to do in Killarney, so if you have the chance, you should visit. 

It’s a scenic viewpoint 12 miles from Killarney on the road to Kenmare (a lovely, colorful town).

If you can’t handle the walk to the viewpoint at Torc Waterfall, then this is your better option. 

Fun piece of information: Apparently Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting visited here during the royal visit in 1861.

They loved the view so much, it was named after them.  

It's free to visit here.

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Dublin, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

8. Marvel at the Gap of Dunloe from Killarney

gap of dunloe

The gap of Dunloe was probably one of the best things we did in all of Ireland.

I cannot describe the sheer beauty this place offers.

It’s like something out of a movie, yet it’s real life. 

It’s a narrow mountain pass forged between the Purple Mountain and MacGillycuddy Reeks by glacial flows. 

If you’ve seen Lord Of The Rings, then you might get that vibe from it.

Actually, an Irish man told us that if you ever thought you’d like a leprechaun in real life, then this is the place you’d think you’d see it, and it’s so true. 

No matter how I describe it, it won’t live up to the beauty in real life, so I can only suggest you visit yourself. 

You can drive through the gap of Dunloe, although it’s narrow and perhaps dangerous, but the main way to view it is put your best walking shoes on and walk.

The walk is amazing and you can decide how far you want to go. 

Just go- you will NOT be disappointed.

This is one of the best places to go in Killarney and a must see in Killarney! 

You can also take a river tour at the Gap of Dunloe which looks interesting and there is the chance to rent out a horse and carriage when your there. 

walking through gap of dunloe

9. Visit the Killarney Brewing Company

This is something Bradley and I didn’t do, but walked past a few times and I was intrigued.

They offer tours everyday that come with a complimentary tasting session and you can get some food and dine there if you wish.

It’s a cool set up, as the restaurant/bar is in the brewery, so they all seem interconnected- you’ll see what I mean when you visit!

Since you’re inside this is one of the rare and good things to do in Killarney in the rain (considering most attractions are outside!)

It does get super busy but this is one of the fun things to do in Killarney, Ireland.

Read Also: What To Do In Northern Ireland

10. Drive the Ring Of Kerry

ring of kerry

So Killarney and it’s sights to see are part of the Ring Of Kerry loop, but they aren’t the only parts.

The actual ring of Kerry is a peninsula and it offers stunning views along the way. 

As you drive around you’ll come to a variety of dramatic viewpoints (which are great for flying a drone), and getting great pictures. 

It’s a famous drive for a reason and you can either take a tour that will take you around the Ring Of Kerry, of if you have your own mode of transport, you can do it yourself! 

You can choose to do the whole thing in one day, or stop half way in one of the many beautiful towns for an authentic Irish experience. 

11. Kayak to Innisfallen Island

One of the more unique things you can do in Killarney is take a kayak tour to Innisfallen Island.

I love the idea of exploring the Lakes of Killarney from through the waters and immersing in the exotic charms of Innisfallen Island, including its history and wildlife.

Surrounded by spectacular mountains and traditional woodlands, you will see the iconic Abbey and sika deer roaming freely.

Even better, these tours are usually filled with ancient tales of Irish folklore and mythology.

There’s something special about walking through the ruins of a medieval age and learning about the history of Ross Castle’s invasion up close.

12. Climb Up Carrauntoohil 

Carrauntoohill, Ireland

Carrauntoohil is the highest mountain in Ireland and stands at about 1,038 meters above sea level.

It takes around 45 minutes to drive here from Killarney, while the climb itself is generally about 4 to 6 hours long.

The most popular starting point would be Cronin’s Yard, where you can fuel up with some coffee too.

You can climb via The Devil’s Ladder, which is a 12 km hike and is probably one of the most accessible routes to the top. There are other routes for beginners to advanced climbers.

Of course, it can be quite a challenge, but I reckon that anyone with a basic fitness level would be able to summit!

13. Try Pony Trekking

Pony Trekking, Ireland

Another great way to explore the landscapes around Killarney is by pony trekking. I recommend this even if you have limited horse riding experience!

If you’re ever in Killarney National Park, consider stopping by Muckross Horse Riding Centre

This family business provides friendly ponies and horses that will take you around the grounds. If you’re a beginner, an instructor will be with you as you walk along the picturesque trail.

Feeling brave? Why not kick it up a notch by trotting or cantering? Trust me, there is no feeling more exciting than breezing through a beautiful mountainous park on horseback.

14. Visit St Mary’s Cathedral

St Mary's Cathedral, Ireland

Located in the west of the city, St Mary’s Cathedral is a captivating structure in the foreground of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

It is considered as an iconic architectural landmark in Killarney and still holds masses until today.

The church was designed by the famous English architect Augustus Welby Pugin in 1840. He was inspired by the older Ardfert Cathedral, which has the same triple lancets.

While the background and location of St Mary’s are the highlight here, I think its interior arches and architecture are no less impressive too.

15. Relax at the Killarney Wine Rooms

After a long day exploring Killarney, unwind at the Killarney Wine Rooms for a relaxed evening with your friend or travel partner.

I always enjoy trying the street foods wherever I go, but there’s no harm in getting fancy sometime. This restaurant has a casual setting while boasting an incredible wine cellar!

You will taste wines from some of the world’s most revered vineyards.

However, the real highlight is the Enomatic Wine System. It’s an interactive experience where you get to try an eclectic range of wines using a prepaid card.

Additionally, the food here is equally sumptuous too. Pair up your wine with high-quality cheese, charcuterie, and tapenades.

Opening Times: 4.30pm-9.30pm (Sun to Thu), 2.30pm-10.30pm (Fri and Sat)

What to do in Killarney (Ireland): Common FAQ

When is the best time to visit Killarney?

water on ring of kerry

The best time to visit Killarney and Ireland in general tends to be the months of June, July, August and September.

 recommend heading out in June and September if you want to beat the crowds but still have a chance of good weather. 

Remember it’s totally possible to visit Ireland in the winter and autumn months, but some attractions may be closed.

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Killarney in Winter, you might struggle if the weather is bad, but it would be interesting to see how all the beautiful attractions look with snowfall (if you’re lucky!)

Getting around Killarney

getting around killarney

The easiest way to get around Killarney is via your own form of transport.

f you opt for renting a car, you can easily see all of these great sites on your own time and stay in one of the many brilliant B&Bs the area has to offer.

Or you can do what we did and rent your own campervan in Ireland!

This gives you the freedom of driving around on your own and sleeping wherever you wish! 

Lastly, your final option if to take tours to discover the best things Killarney has to offer. An organised tour can take you around the Ring Of Kerry and The Gap Of Dunloe, and you can use the Killarney hop on and hop off tour bus to visit the best places to visit in Killarney itself. 

Read Also: A Guide To Getting Around Ireland: Everything Explained!

How long do you need in Killarney?

If you’re wondering how many days in Killarney you need, then look no further.

You could easily see all the things I’ve mentioned above in 2-3 days, but you might find it’s a little rushed in 2. 

I recommend spending at least 3 days in Killarney and that give you a chance to recover from the brilliant night out you will have in the town! 

Where to stay in Killarney?

For our trip around Ireland, we hired a vehicle from Spaceships Rentals. We had the BEST time with them, and you can read our in-depth review of them here.

We spent most nights at wild camping spots in Ireland or staying in campsites.

However, if you are in need of hotels, hostels, homestays or whatever else, then I recommend using the following sites to find the best deals.

  • Booking.com - Use this for the best hotels in Killarney town centre and more
  • HostelWorld - Great for finding cheap deals on the most popular hostels
  • Couchsurfing - The cheapest way to find places to stay in Killarney
Read Also: Where To Stay In Killarney Town

Can you book tours in Killarney?

Yes you can! If you don’t want all the hassle of planning a Killarney itinerary, then it’s super easy to book onto a tour that will allow you to make the most of your stay in Killarney and include all the best places to visit in Killarney .

They are also a great way to meet fellow like-minded travellers and experience all of Ireland’s amazing sites with other people. 

Whenever we book tours, we always use these 2 sites:

  • GetYourGuide - Usually our No.1 choice
  • Viator - Sometimes have a wider variety of tours on offer

Useful tools for planning your visit to Killarney 

If you’re looking for cheap flights to Ireland then we always start by recommending searching with Skyscanner.

We always recommend having travel insurance, and World Nomads are usually a great, affordable choice.

Spaceships Rentals offer excellent campervans and motorhomes if you want to experience #vanlife.

For car rental, you can start with RentalCars.com.

Other useful posts for planning your trip to Ireland

Below are some other useful posts that we’ve got that you might find useful to plan your trip to Killarney and Ireland in general. 

One of the last things I’ll say about Killarney that I think is worth mentioning, is that it’s an all-round destination, and what I mean by that is that it suits solo travellers, couples, and families.

If you have children, then I think Killarney is one of the best places in Ireland you could take them, simply because there is so much to do and see in the area and it would all the unique attractions! 

Also, do not forget to bring a decent camera with you, especially when you visit the Gap Of Dunloe.

It’s very picturesque and if you are flying a drone in Killarney, then remember to register beforehand!

So there you have it! My guide to the best things to do in Killarney, Ireland! I hope you found this post useful and if you’ve got any other amazing Killarney attractions you think I should add to the list, then just drop us a comment below. 

Happy travels!

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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