Ireland · Travel

Killarney, Ireland & the Gap of Dunloe

Destination: Killarney, Ireland. This bustling little town located in County Kerry in Southwest Ireland may be the most picture-perfect town in the whole country. With its cobblestone streets, lively entertainment, and pubs on every corner, it’s easy to see why this town attracts so many visitors each year.

Killarney 2

Playing the part of host to us was the five-star Killarney Park Hotel located right in the center of town. We quickly checked in and was shown to our room by their friendly staff – that was when I knew we were in for a treat.

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Killarney Park Hotel

 

Not wanting to succumb to jet lag, we walked downtown to meander through the streets and get a better feel for the area. There seemed to be live music funneling out of every pub we walked by. Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves at The Laurels Restaurant with 2 pints of Guinness chowing down on traditional Irish food.

After crashing for 12 hours, we awoke the next morning, ate breakfast, and began exploring. Being one of Ireland’s top tourist destinations, there was an abundance of things to see and do. While walking, we spotted a massive spire jetting up above the rooftops, so naturally we had to check it out. Behold St. Mary’s Cathedral. Built in 1842 by English Architect Augustus Welby Pugin, it is considered to be one of the most important and best Gothic Revival churches of the 19th century in Ireland. With no one around to stop us, we let ourselves in and our jaws hit the floor.

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St. Mary’s Cathedral
Killarney 3
Inside St. Mary’s Cathedral

The following morning, we were set to go on a day tour through the Gap of Dunloe. The Gap is a wild gorge about 7.9 miles long with the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Purple, and Tomies mountains surrounding it. Our bus dropped us off at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, and it was here where we met our ride.

Gap 2
Lilly the horse

Meet Lilly, our ride for the next hour and a half. I was just a wee bit excited that we would be taking a trap and pony through the Gap. We climbed in with another couple and our driver and off we went! The views were nothing short of spectacular. We wound our way up through the gap and back down the other side to Lord Brandon’s Cottage where we met our group for a catered lunch. After lunch we climbed aboard boats and rode through the three lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle.

Gap
Riding through the Gap of Dunloe
Gap of Dunloe
Riding through the Gap of Dunloe
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“Go Lilly, Go!”

 

Located in Killarney National Park, Ross Castle sits on the shore of Killarney’s lower lake. It was built by O’Donoghue in the 15th century. Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. Lucky for us, we never saw him! We had approximately one hour here before our bus picked us up to return us to the hotel. Because we wanted to tour the castle, (pictures weren’t allowed inside) we opted to hang around a while longer and walk back to our hotel through Killarney National Park, approximately 2.5 miles

Ross
Ross Castle

 

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Ross Castle from Lough Leane Lake

 

That evening, we met up with our group and hopped on a bus bound for Muckross to a restaurant called Jarvey’s Ret Pub. It was here that we got to listen to a live Irish band, watch Irish dancing, and learn to dance (wait, what?!). I have video evidence but I just don’t feel like embarrassing myself today.

The following day was filled with board meetings (and a hangover) as well as a group dinner at the hotel that evening. We again had an Irish band perform for us as well as dancers. One of the dancers, a 13 year-old boy, happened to win 2nd in the world at Irish stepping this year while another male dancer (presumably my age) is a 7-time world champion stepper who flew in from Scotland just to perform for us. It was quite incredible.

After dinner, Brady and I opted to go down to The Laurel’s Pub for a pint and to watch a Euro game. It was there that we met some people from Dublin on holiday in Killarney and we closed down the bar.

The next morning, we reluctantly checked out of our hotel, walked to the train station, and boarded a train for Dublin.

Check It Out!

Hotel

Killarney Park Hotel; deluxe room from $350/night

Food

The Laurels Restaurant & Pub

Murphy’s Ice Cream – you gotta try the lavender and sea salt!

The Park Restaurant

The Garden Bar

Jarvey’s Rest Pub

Italian Cuisine Ristorante

Things To Do/See

Gap of Dunloe

Ring of Kerry

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Muckross House

Ross Castle

Torc Waterfall

Killarney National Park

Muckross Abbey

 

 

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