Killarney National Park is a special place where visitors can experience the best of Irish culture, outdoor fun and glorious scenery all in one location. Once known as Bourne Vincent Memorial Park, this American gift to Ireland was originally an 11,000-acre parcel donated by Mr. and Mrs. Bowers Bourne of California U.S.A. in 1932. Much of the park is located on the shores of the Famous Lakes and now spreads across more than 24,000 acres of native habitats and plant and animal species, including oak holly woods, yew woods, and red deer.
The entrance is 4 km (2 1/2 miles) from the town of Killarney on the N71 and has sign-posted, self-guiding trails. There are no operating hours or admission fees, but cars are not allowed. Visitors can walk, rent a bicycle, or the traditional jaunting car -- pony and cart to explore the grounds, which include a genuine manor house and a working farm.
Although the park is dotted with ruined castles and abbeys, the lakes are the focus of attention. Of the three contained within the boundaries of the park, Muckross Lake, Upper Lake and Lough Leane, the latter is the largest. Uninhabited islands and wooded slopes fringe the lakes and delight the visitor, and whether you come in October and November when the fruits of the Mediterranean strawberry are at peak, or in late April or early May when the purple flowers of rhododendron ponticum are on vibrant display, you will marvel the beauty of an area that has inspired writers and artists.
Places to visit within Killarney National Park
- Muckross House and Gardens and Traditional Farms
- Torc Waterfall
- Dinis Cottage and the Meeting of the Waters
- Knockreer and Killarney House
- Ross Castle
- Ross Island
- Innisfallen Island
- Tomies Oakwood
- O'Sullivan's Cascade
- Ladies View
- Muckross Abbey
Image by Tony Webster