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There are many local day trips that can be taken around Killarney.
Killarney National Park : This is a large park that is very historical to Ireland because it was the very first national park in this country. The park has a huge area of woodlands and other types of vegetation, and there are several species of wildlife to see (such as deer, otters, rabbits, bats, badgers, and more….). The park is open all year round.
Ross Island: Ross Island is an historical site because it’s the location where copper was first mined in Ireland thousands of years ago. There is a paved path through woodland around the island from which visitors can see the mines and some stunning views of the lakes, mountains, and smaller islands. The walk as far as Library Point and back takes about 1 hour to complete.
Ross Castle: A 15th century castle built by the O'Donoghue Ross Chieftains is situated within Killarney National Park and on the edge of Lough Leane (Lower Lake) can be accessed by town from car using Ross Road and by foot, bicycle, or jaunting car, www.killarneyjauntingcars.com from town through The Killarney and Knockreer Estates. The castle is once again open for tours (during the season of May- October) after a long renovation project. It houses an authentic collection of 16th and 17th century furniture.
Innisfallen: This is an island that can be accessed by boat from Ross Castle. Simply go to the old pier on the lake side of the castle and inquire. The boat man will drop you off on the island and ask you to pay then. You are free to return to the castle on any boat heading back. The island’s history is over 1,000 years old and was originally home to a number of churches and a monastery. It will take about one half hour to walk around the island, give yourself another 30 minutes to explore the ruins and even longer if you have packed a lunch to enjoy on the island. There are no facilities on the island.
Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farm These are Killarney's most popular attractions. One is free to wander the gardens but payment is required to tour the house and traditional farms. One can drive and park between the house and farm by taking the main (3rd) entrance to Killarney National Park on the main Killarney - Kenmare road. It is possible however to park at the first (original) entrance and take a jaunting car along the lake shore and past Muckross Abbey to arrive at the house in traditional fashion.
Muckross Abbey: One of the most complete examples of a medieval Irish monasteries. The abbey was founded in 1448 but saw extensive reconstruction in the early 1600's. Though brought to ruins by Cromwellian forces in 1652, the abbey still retains its Late Gothic features. One is free to wander the structure and climb the several stone stairs to the upper levels. The abbey is best accessed by parking in the small lot across from the Muckross Park Hotel on the main Killarney - Kenmare road and entering the National Park at this entrance. It is just a few hundred yards from this parking lot to the abbey.
Torc Waterfall: For anyone who has never before seen a waterfall, this is one not to miss. It can be reached by car or shuttle bus Killarney Shuttle Bus (with a short walk on a path to the waterfall) just past the main Muckross House entrance on the main Killarney - Kenmare road. One can also hire a jaunting car from KillarneyJaunting Cars and take a tour to Muckross House and a short trip to the falls. The waterfall is especially spectacular after the area has been hit by rain because it makes the falls even more intense.
The Gap of Dunloe: Probably the best day tour in Killarney and one that will have you seeing it from all angles. Visitors will be taken by bus from Killarney town to Kate Kearney's Cottage. From here you will be directed into the seven mile long Gap of Dunloe. It is possible to travel through the Gap by foot, bicycle, on horseback and more commonly by jarvey. The driving of motor vehicles through the Gap is not recommended. The journey will take you past 5 small lakes and meandering streams, over several stone bridges, and of course at the foot of the cliffs of this glacial valley. Upon reaching the top of the Gap the view opens up in to the Black Valley (the last place in Ireland to receive electricity). From here you will be taken to Lord Bradon's Cottage just past its six arch gated stone bridge. Lunch is usually available here but it recommended to pack your own picnic before beginning your boat journey. And if you thought the tales told by your jarvey were entertaining you are now in for a real treat. These open boats are low to the water and offer the best way to views of what Killarney has to offer. Even on a good day however, it is best to be prepared for all elements so bring an extra layer just in case. The boat ride will take you out along Gearhanmeen River and onto the first of the 3 lakes, The Upper Lake, with its many islands and wooded shore. Then one passes beside Eagle's Nest before going under The Old Weir Bridge at Dinis Cottage and out onto Muckross Lake. Passing under Brickeen Bridge will take you to the last of the 3 lakes, Lough Leane. Your boat journey ends with an approach to Ross Castle a 15th Century structure built by the O'Donogue Chieftains. A bus will take you back to Killarney town. There are several companies operating this tour and by all accounts, prices and services are comparable.