Two days in Killarney National Park

Phoebe Laine

Phoebe Laine

· 4 min read

In April, I took a road trip around western Ireland with my husband and two of our favourite travel buds. The highlight of the trip was the two days we spent in Killarney National Park.

The park is free to access and is absolutely beautiful. It has rugged mountains, smooth lakes, and deep forests. Basically heaven on earth.

There is no wrong way to visit the park as long as you are enjoying nature and take some time to walk through the cute town itself (and get sea salt ice cream at Murphy's it is so gooood).

Day 1 - Ross Castle + Exploring Killarney

A castle

Our first day was gloriously sunny and we took advantage of it by visiting Ross Castle and walking around the grounds. The guided tour is cheap and a great way to get an introduction to the history of the castle and the surrounding area. That being said, the interior is not incredibly impressive. If you stick to walking the grounds and the outside of the castle you won't be missing much.

There is a dirt path that runs past the castle into peaceful, lush, green woods. Following this to the left we found ourselves staring across Lough Leane to the mountains beyond. It was heavenly.

We arrived in the late afternoon so we couldn't fit as much exploring into our first day as we wished we did. We went into Killarney town to explore the streets and get dinner.

After dinner, the sky and streets were lit gold with the sunset. We grabbed ice cream as we strolled. There were street performers at every corner singing traditional Celtic music (one of my fav genres randomly). At one corner there was a group of girls who started Irish dancing around one performer. It was SUCH a vibe. We also grabbed swimsuits from Penny's (Primark Irish version) and hopped into our hotel's pool and sauna to end the night. My perfect day.

Day 2 - Muckross House + Muckross Abbey + Castlelough Castle + Killarney House + Old Weir Bridge

We made up for our short first day by packing the second day with history and hikes. It was a blustery, rainy day so we started with Muckross House. I highly recommend touring the inside (ticketed) and the grounds (free). It is an old country manor house and it still has all of the furnishings just like it would have had in its heyday. It is fun to imagine sitting in the library on a rainy day, staring at your vast grounds while sipping tea, planning the ball this weekend or the next picnic.

Muckross Abbey was incredible (and free). The whole thing is a crumbling ruin that you get to climb all over (watch out for spiders).

Castlelough Castle is right behind a hotel and it is little more than a single crumbling tower, but the view across the lake is amazing. It was stormy and the wind was whipping the water and it was all the more epic for it.

At this point, we went to Killarney House. It is the visitor's centre for the national park and gives tons of info and recommendations for things to do (would have been nice to stop here on the first day!). This is where we got the idea to go to Old Weir Bridge.

The drive and hike out to Old Weir Bridge was the absolute highlight of the trip. The woods felt mysterious and the mountains in the distance felt powerful. The wind felt like it was whispering secrets and the rushing black water under the bridge held stories lost long ago.

There were whole sections of the park we didn't get to see. If we had had a full first day we might have been able to go out to the further reaches of the park. It was such a refreshing trip to connect with nature and get out of the big city. Killarney is magical!

Check out my Instagram for a quick vlog if you're interested ;)

Phoebe Laine

About Phoebe Laine

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