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5 Walks in Killarney National Park



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Just outside Killarney you’ll find endless hiking trails in Killarney National Park, home to the magnificent MacGillycuddy Reeks, hectares of picturesque woodland and legendary lakes as far as the eye can see.

With so many walks to discover, there’s a beautiful trail to suit all levels in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Whatever route you choose, base yourself in the town of Killarney for some culture and fun, before or after your hiking adventure.

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1. Knockreer Circular Walk

Just a five minute drive or ten minute walk from the centre of Killarney, the Knockreer Circular Walk is a great way to explore the National Park without having to travel too far. Circling around some of the most accessible parts of the park, the 5km trail follows a smooth paved path suitable for walking and cycling.  There are some cattle grids to negotiate along the route and a couple of reasonably challenging inclines, but the climbs are worth it for the wonderful views of Lough Leane and the MacGillycuddy Reeks along the way.
 
Keep an eye out for red deer during your two-hour tour and stop at Deenagh Lodge for some well-earned refreshments afterwards. The quaint, thatched cottage café sits at the entrance to the park, opposite St. Marys Cathedral and is the natural start and finishing point for this walk, which is the perfect way to ease yourself into a few days walking in Kerry.
 

2. Muckross House to Torc Waterfall Lake Loop

Park at Muckross House, 6km from Killarney town centre, and give yourself two hours for this relatively challenging but family-friendly walk. Follow the Old Boathouse Trail past heady views of mountains and meadows, by the scenic limestone cliffs of Dundag Point and panoramas of the Middle Lake.
 
After a steady climb through the trees, a series of stone steps leads you back down through the woods to the best viewing point for the powerful, 18m high Torc Waterfall. Continuing downwards, you’ll join the Lake Loop and return to the car park at Muckross House.

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3. Ross Island Mining Trail

Surrounded by incredible views of the McGillycuddy Reeks, Ross Castle is an intact 15th century fortress on the eastern shores of Lough Leane. Park at the castle and pick up your map of the 17-stop Ross Island Mining Trail, which leads you around Ireland’s (and north-western Europe's) earliest known metal mines. History buffs will love this loop, which should take you about 1.5 hours to complete. Historical mine remains and encampments, as well as several specimens of rare trees and plants, are marked all along the 3km trail.

4. The Old Kenmare Road: Torc to Incheens

Seasoned walkers will love the Torc to Incheens two-hour route, which forms part of the much longer Kerry Way and meanders through the uplands of Killarney National Park. Starting out at the Upper Torc car park, youll follow the Old Kenmare Road across the wooden bridge over the Owengarrif River, before turning left down the leafy wooded trail.

The route navigates along a rustic boardwalk, river steppingstones and the occasional muddy, rocky patch, so make sure you bring your hiking boots. After a sharp descent, youll meet the public road where youll turn right to return to Derrycunnihy Church. The church car park is the perfect place to leave a second car if your walk ends here. If youre up for an extended trek, you could carry on from here to The Mass Path.

5. The Mass Path: Derrycunnihy Church to Lord Brandons Cottage

With a dramatic start, you’ll descend old wooden steps into lush forest as soon as you leave the car park at Derrycunnihy Church for this 1.5 hour route. From there youll meander beneath ancient oak trees, cross trickling streams and wander past abandoned ruins. Quality walking gear is recommended for this terrain, which is rough underfoot and prone to flooding in winter months.

Soon youll meet a broader track, known as The Mass Path, which follows the shores of the Upper Lake, past mountain views to Lord Brandons Cottage. Look out for glimpses of the elusive White-Tailed Sea Eagle as you go. In summer, the café at Lord Brandons is a scenic lakeside spot where you can soak in the views with a welcome coffee. For the ultimate end to your day, head back to Killarney by boat, across the lakes to Ross Castle. 

Wherever you plan to go in Kerry, be sure to contact individual attractions and businesses in advance to confirm they're ready to welcome visitors again. Because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, social distancing and safe travel measures will be essential everywhere — as explained in the new nationwide COVID-19 Safety Charter.
 
Whether youre looking to reconnect with family on a gentle scenic stroll or planning a robust trek through some of Irelands most dramatic landscapes, Killarney National Park is waiting, once again, to be explored with new eyes.

After you make your escape in Kerry, it's time to start thinking about what you'll explore next on the Wild Atlantic Way. Want to go further afield? Find out more about how to make a break for other regions of our amazing island...

 

IRELAND HAS NEVER FELT BIGGER

It's finally time to pack your bags and make your escape


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