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Killarney is a popular tourist destination in the southwest of Ireland. The city - the capital Dublin excluded - has the largest number of hotel beds of all Irish cities. That says something. Most people come to enjoy the typical Irish, rugged nature in this part of the country and to follow the famous Ring of Kerry. The lakes around Killarney are sights on their own, not in the least because you can fish for trout there. The city itself has a busy nightlife, because it is a popular weekend destination for Brits and the Irish.
In the summer months the town is full of festivities during the Killarney SummerFest. There are indoor as well as outdoor concerts by renowned national and international artists. The Cranberries, Bryan Adams, Tom Jones and Kris Kristofferson have played there. But music is certainly not the only element during this summer festival: there are open-air theater performances, art exhibitions and events for children. Sport games are organized too, including a cycle race which follows the Ring of Kerry and rowing matches on the river.
Some people think Killarney is also a shoppers paradise, but they will be disappointed. Most stores are aimed at tourists. Cork, east of Killarney, offers many more possibilities for shopping.In and around Killarney
Located just south of the city is Killarney National Park, Ireland's first national park. It is situated around Muckross House, a victorian mansion on the shores of a lake, with the mountains of Mangerton and Torc in the background. The park covers more than a hundred square kilometers and is actually more of an estate with a very diverse ecosystem. From dense forests - including one of the few in Europe with yew-trees - to lakes and mountains. On those lakes you can take boat trips. The park is also bursting with history, with amongst others an old farm, an abbey and a castle, Ross Castle (or O'Donoghue Castle) on the lake Lough Leane, the biggest of the three Lakes of Killarney. From the Old Kenmare Road and the path around Tomies Oakwood you have fantastic views over Lough Leane and the city of Killarney. The Irish (poor) rural life in the thirties of the last century is brought alive in the Muckross Traditional Farms.
The Killarney National Park has been included in the so-called Ring of Kerry, which is why Killarney is often chosen as the starting or ending point of the trip. The Ring of Kerry route on the Iveragh Peninsula is 170 kilometers long. Tour buses follow the route clockwise. To prevent ending up in a 'traffic jam' it is thus advisable to drive the route with your rental car counterclockwise. Along the way you will pass the beautiful, typical Irish landscape and past many old castles, farms, churches and other buildings. You don't have to this route in a car, by the way. Another Ring has been made for cyclists and walkers. Where possible, those routes go along quieter roads. Ladies View is a famous lookout point on the route (in the National Park). That name allegedly emerged in the mid-nineteenth century when the ladies of Queen Victoria - who was visiting Killarney - were very impressed with the view.
If you deviate from the western part of the Ring of Kerry and drive further west you see the offshore Skellig Islands. That name means rocky islands and so they are. A large population of Gannets and Puffins live there. Also, located on the top of the main island a monastery from the sixth century, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Generally speaking, it is not difficult to find a parking spot on the streets of Killarney. You do however, have to pay a fee for it in the center. Located behind the Plaza Hotel is a large Tesco shop with a wide parking area.
Kerry Airport (in Irish: Aerfort Chiarraí) is situated 13 kilometers north of Killarney. The airport is sometimes referred to as Farranfore Airport, after the place where it is located. The airport is easily accessible in a rental car from Killarney using the motorway N22 (Glenview Heights).