Ireland’s Best Day Out in Killarney National Park

On June 27, 2015, the Irish Times in partnership with Discover Ireland awarded “Ireland’s Best Day Out” to Killarney National Park and I can see why. Our first stop on N-71 approaching the park from Kenmare was at Ladies View, named for Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who fell in love with the view while on a visit back in 1861. Views of the lakes and bogs with MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in the background still delight visitors today and we joined their ranks.

Ladies View, Killarney National Park

Ladies View, Killarney National Park

Ladies View, Killarney National Park

Ladies View, Killarney National Park

Nearby Torq Waterfall is just one of many waterfalls in the park. The trail was an easy walk through the woods with beautiful scenery including the emerald-green moss covering the ground and trees that defied capture by my camera. I expected to see a leprechaun or at least a fairy in this magical place but alas, saw neither.

Moss covered terrain on the trail to Torq Waterfall

Moss covered terrain on the trail to Torq Waterfall

Torq Waterfall, Killarney National Park

Torq Waterfall, Killarney National Park

But by far the most pleasant and memorable tour of Killarney National Park has to be by jaunting car. A jaunting car is a horse-drawn cart with a driver who is called a jarvey. For 40€, the four of us enjoyed a uniquely Irish experience that provided one of the highlights of our trip to Ireland.

Jaunting Car

Jaunting Car

For a sample of our ride, check out my YouTube video: http://youtu.be/iIjbPPH3BJk. (Just click on it; it will take you directly there.) Our driver, Con, was lively and informative giving us details about the lakes, fishing, wildlife, vegetation and more. For example, I commented on the beautiful rhododendron just starting to bloom throughout the park and learned that it’s actually an invasive species that needs to be controlled if not eradicated. The park is also home to the only remaining herd of Irish red deer. The population was at one time reduced to about 100 head but today has grown to around 600.

Invasive rhododendran in Killarney National Park

Invasive rhododendran in Killarney National Park

After several stops for lake views and photos, we arrived at Muckross House where we spent an hour exploring the grounds and gardens while our driver waited. This beautiful Victorian mansion was completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his famous watercolorist wife, Mary Balfour Herbert. You can check out her beautiful watercolors here: Mary Balfour Herbert watercolors. The gardens are renowned and although April is early for gardens, we were impressed with what we saw.

Killarney National Park

View of Middle Lake, Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park

Lower Lake, Killarney National Park

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckross House

Gardens at Muckross House

Muckross House

View from Muckross House

Jaunting car ride in Killarney National Park

Jaunting car ride in Killarney National Park

Established in 1932, Killarney became the first national park in Ireland when Muckross House and the 25,000 acre estate was gifted to the nation upon the death of the owner’s wife. I would bet at the time, a visit to the park was considered Ireland’s Best Day Out. Eighty-three years later, if you’re looking for Ireland’s Best Day Out, you can still visit Killarney National Park.

Based on events from April, 2015.

Categories: History, Ireland, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Ireland’s Best Day Out in Killarney National Park

  1. Sheryl

    Great information. I love that picture of you two with the waterfall in the background!

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  2. The jaunting car ride looks like it was a fabulous excursion. I love to travel with you. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I don’t know this area at all but definitely want to visit after reading your post!! Something for everyone, loving the waterfall and the idea of a ride in a jaunting car sounds a lot of fun.

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    • I bet your son would like the jaunting car–or at least the horse. We actually happened on the jaunting car hire across from the parking lot for the waterfall. I was surprised that the price was as reasonable as it was so we thought we’d give it a try and we were so glad we did. There are plenty of opportunities for young people to expend energy, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and after reading all of your posts I want to go even more now! 🙂

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