The colourful town of Killarney (population: 9,000) in County Kerry is synonymous in Ireland with tourism. For those who want Irish-themed shopping, Irish music nights and Irish souvenirs, Killarney is the place to go. For others, Killarney is a "Celtic themepark" -- too commercialised lacking authenticity. They would prefer to go to further afield, perhaps to the remote hills of Donegal, or to the Gaelic-speaking community of Clare Island, to find the "true" Irish experience. Whatever your opinion of Killarney, there is no doubt that it is the main town in the centre of a region that has truly stunning scenery. From the stunning Dingle peninsula to the mountain of Corran Tuathail, the rural Southwest of Ireland still offers -- despite the country's recent modernisation -- some of the most beautiful, unspoilt and natural environments.
History of Killarney
- Killarney (from the Gaelic Cill Airne meaning The Church of Sloes) has been inhabited since the stone age
- The region known as Aghadoe, on the outskirts of the current town, was long a pre-Christian religious site
- Ogham stones (stones with Celtic markings) remain at Agahdeoe, which are dated to the 7th century
- Around the same time, a monastery was established in the region, historically attributed to St. Finian
- In the 15th century, the O'Donoghue clan erected Ross Castle, which still stands today (read more)
- In 1448, Donal McCarthy Mor built an abbey for the Observantine Franciscans
- The abbey was destroyed during the Cromwellian invasion in 1654 and remains as a ruin today
- In the 1750s, local aristocrat Viscount Kenmare began to developed the town as a tourist centre, erecting major roads
- Notable 19th century visitors include Percy Bysshe Shelley and Queen Victoria
Accommodation in Killarney
As Killarney is one of Ireland's most popular tourist destinations, hotel accommodation in Killarney is often expensive, especially at peak times of the year. You should shop around online and book well in advance to get the best deal. Alternatively, you should consider bed and breakfast accommodation, which is a great -- and more affordable -- way to experience life close up in Ireland. Most of Killarney's family run B&Bs do not have websites. However, the website BandBIreland.com has a full selection of B&Bs in Killarney.