The occupation of the killarney region dates from the early bronze age when the beaker folk, basically farmers, mined for copper on Ross Island and traded with other peoples on the continent. Over the centuries the Killarney region was ruled by various chieftains and invaders including the Beaker Folk, Pictish tribes, the Ciarraige, the Fir Bolg and the Gaels or Milesians. In the 1200s the Anglo/Normans vied with the the O’Donoghue and MacCarthy for dominance over the local area. The english were defeated in 1261 and the victors built Ross castle and Muckross abbey. In 1583 the O’Donoghue and MacCarthy were defeated by the english and the local lands were awarded to Sir Vincent Browne who later became the Earle of Kenmare. In 1750, seeing the potential for tourism, the Viscount Kenmare invested in the area and small market town of Killarney. Like most of Ireland, Killarney suffered greatly from the potato famine and the Herberts and Brownes did much to alleviate the peoples suffering. By 1850 the famine had mostly ended and tourists began to return to Killarney. Its popularity was increased by the visit of Queen Victoria, and her entourage of 100, in 1861. They stayed at Muckross House and Knockreer House for 3 days. The Herberts spent vast sums in preparation for the visit which resulted in their bankruptcy. Lord Ardilaun bought the estate in 1899 who sold it on to William Bowers Bourn. Upon his daughters wedding to Arthur Rose Vincent he gifted it to her. She died in 1929 and her husband offered the estate to the Irish nation. The transfer was completed in 1932 and Muckross became the first Irish National Park.
St Mary’s, Church of Ireland, sits on the site of the original Church of Airne. Possible pre-Christian in origin, St Mary’s Well is only 50 metres from the church and was a place of worship for many centuries. The current church was built in 1870. It is well worth a visit to view the fine stained glass windows, free guided tours are available in the summer every Saturday at 10am and 11am. The church boasts a fine pipe-organ and is decorated in a pleasing fashion.
St. Mary’s Cathedral (Roman Catholic). Of net-gothic design by the outstanding English architect Augustus Welby Pugin. Building started in 1842 but the great famine resulted in a delay, the building being used as a hospital for the sick and dying. Subsequently the cathedral was not completed and consecrated until 1855. The impressive tower and spire were added in 1912. Beautifully proportioned, the cathedral boasts rose and lancet windows, pointed gothic arches and a fine organ by Telford and Sons.
Rally of the Lakes: A major annual event on the May Bank Holiday. This event, number 4 of seven, is part of the Clonakilty Black Puddings Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. It attracts fans from all over Ireland and beyond.
Killarney BikeFest: On the June Bank Holiday the streets of Killarney echo to the roar of powerful motorbikes (and the not so powerful) announcing the Killarney International BikeFest, the largest such festival in Ireland. There is always a great line-up of live entertainment and family events and the parade of bikes, through the streets, is not to be missed. Accommodation is hard to come by so book early here http://killarney-insight.com/accommodation.html. Contact the organisers on +353 64 667 1554 or email email@example.com
Killarney Walking Festival: Takes place, over 2 days, towards the end of October. They include hikes, treks and hill walks of various distances lasting from 4 to 6 hours and are designed to suit different interests and fitness abilities. Prices vary from €20 per person to €90 for a family. Some include bus transfers and boat hire. If you like to spend a wonderful day in Kerry then contact the organisers on +353 64 667 1533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle: The annual event takes place on the first Saturday in July. In 2015, it entered its 31st year off strenuous, or sometimes not so strenuous cycling to raise funds for Kerry based charities. The route, up hill and down dale, passes through breathtaking scenery on the Ring of Kerry, some 112 miles, starting and ending in Killarney. Entry is limited to 11,500 cyclists. Along the way there are first aid posts and cycle repair stations. Transport is available, for any cyclist and their bike, back to Killarney, should they run out of steam. In 2015 the cyclists raised €1,890,820…….WOW. Interested in taking part, call +353 64 667 1900 or email email@example.com
Killarney: In the Killarney environs there exists several of the finest golf courses in Ireland. Surrounded by beautiful vistas, which can sometimes distract, they are demanding of a golfers skill. The Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, beside Lough Leane, features 3 fine courses, Killeen(distance 6590 Yards, Par 74), hosted the 2010 and 2011 Irish Open. Mahony’s Point(distance 6780 yards, Par 72) and Lackabane(distance 6474 yards, par72. The golf course is only 1.75 miles from the centre of killarney.
Beaufort: Nestled below Irelands highest mountain range, Macgillycuddy's Reeks, Beaufort Golf Club boasts a splendid 18 hole parkland course. Mostly flat but with some gentle slopes, water features and tree lined fairways(some trees more than 200 years old). A par 73 and 7004 Yards and suitable for all standards of players. Just 7 miles from Killarney. A list of Kerry Golf Clubs can be viewed here kerry-golf.html
9 Hole Courses: Ross…..Situated by and in the centre of Killarney Racecourse. It is one of two 9 hole golf courses in the area, the other being at Castlerosse Hotel a par 36. The Castlerosse is only 1.5 miles from Killarney centre.
Killarney offers a fabulous selection of good restaurants. The range of eating houses include Fast Food(in and out in 20/30minutes), Cafe/Bistro, Fine Dining, Family Restaurants, Hotels and Pubs. You will be spoilt for choice with on offer Mexican, Thai, French, Chinese, Indian, Burger Houses, Italian, Steak houses, Fusion, Seafood, Spanish, Vegetarian and Sandwich Bars. There are others which are not so easy to define. Pubs often sell bar food and sometimes incorporate a restaurant. To sum up, there is enough choice to suite most tastes and pockets. To see a list of Killarney restaurants click here.
The Irish pub is renowned for its hospitality, music and craic(good time). Walk in to any pub and within 10 minutes it will seem to be your regular drinking establishment with conversation always available. Traditional Irish music groups play on a regular basis in some pubs and often other musicians wander in with their own instrument and join in. And, of course, you should always sample that renowned pint of guinness.
If you have a cycle then bring it to Killarney, a cyclists nirvana. Routes galore to suit both the enthusiastic beginner and the experienced cyclist abound in Kerry. There are marked routes through Killarney National Park, ideal for the beginner while the Ring of Kerry offers a far greater challenge. All the while surrounded by lakes and mountains, Kerry’s breathtaking scenery.
If walking is what you enjoy then Killarney is the destination for you. Walk up mountains, follow old roads, walk beside lakes, through forests, past waterfalls and places where ancient man mined for copper. Look out for Red Deer, Otters, standing stones, and if you’re lucky you may see a White Tailed Eagle.
The Ireland National Events Centre, one of Ireland's leading entertainment venues hosts conventions, conferences, exhibitions, concerts, theatre productions and sporting events. The hall can pack in up to 3,000 people but can be adapted to suit smaller audiences. Bookings can be made on-line or at the Box Office located on the ground floor of The Gleneagle Hotel