Ring of Kerry – Killarney
References to the town of Killarney or Cill Áirne (Church of the Sloes) date back to the year 1604, but it was only when Lord Kenmare developed four major roads into the area in 1750 that Killarney was opened to visitors. Tourism is now the mainstay of the economy here. The town has acquired many fine buildings, which enhance a pleasant morning or evening stroll. Of particular interest are the churches. St Mary’s Cathedral (1842) was designed by Augustus Pugin, and St Mary’s Church (1870) still has its original organ. The Franciscan Friary (1864) has stained glass by Harry Clarke.
The town boasts every accommodation type, from the freedom of the caravan and camping park to the luxury of the five-star hotel. As for places to dine, at the last count there were over 70 – and the intense competition means keen prices and high standards. While good food and accommodation are important, these have merely complemented Killarney´s long history as a tourist destination.
The essence of Killarney is its natural beauty. Worshipped by druids, fought over by chieftains, coveted by landlords, Killarney Valley with its forests and castles and monasteries is in the words of Arthur Vincent, who presented Muckross House and Gardens and Traditional Farms to the nation, ´a playground for the world´. We want you to enjoy this great natural treasure.
Descriptions such as this have brought visitors from all over the world to Killarney. Today you will have no problem finding first-class accommodation, great restaurants, and entertainment in a town that has been welcoming visitors for over 200 years. Although much has changed, the magnificence of Muckross, Ladies View, Aghadoe, Inisfallen Island, and the spectacular trip through the Gap of Dunloe and the Lake District remains largely unchanged.
Recently World Magazine reported that the Killarney Valley is ´of unsurpassed beauty, undisturbed by the exploitation of the 20th century´. As you follow in the footsteps of the good lady and admire the beauty of the lakes and mountains and explore the monasteries, castles, and mansions, no doubt you will echo her sentiments and say to yourself and others: “This is a magical place.”
Poets, painters, and visitors from all corners of the world agree on one thing about the Killarney Valley – “it is a magical place”. Leave your accommodation in the early morning and travel to one of the many viewing points on the surrounding hill sides. Here your spirit can take flight in a valley that has escaped the ravages of the 20th century – the last real sanctuary of primeval countryside in Ireland.
Down below you will see the morning sun glisten on Killarney´s jewels – its three lakes, surrounded by Ireland´s highest mountains. Here Irish Red Deer roam freely in the remnants of the Irish oak and yew forests. Hidden in the woodlands are buildings from times long gone, the castles of the great chieftains, the monasteries of the holy men and the houses of the gentry – all now filled with an eerie silence.
Queen Victoria, who came here in 1861, probably best described Killarney as a ´fairyland´ – where else would you find such magic?