A Taste of Killarney - Part I

Having spent a tad more time than anticipated in our home region, County Kerry, during this unprecedented season, Killarney Guided Tours invites you to accompany us along the roads, over the hills and across the lakes of a most spectacular location – Killarney. We thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight what’s in our very back yard and bring our guests a little “Taste of Killarney” as you ponder your next visit to this magnificent country in 2021. We hope you enjoy our series about this wonderful area to follow in the coming months.

Killarney is a small town in the Southwest of Ireland in what’s referred to as “The Kingdom” and is also the gateway to the famous Ring of Kerry and magnificent Dingle Peninsula.  Killarney is home to, and surrounded by, the truly gigantic Killarney National Park. Because of the location's proximity to so much natural beauty, we suggest particularly first time visitors consider spending as many days as possible in the town and surrounding areas, using this region as your touring base for the Southwest of Ireland.  

A bit of the history:

It is very possible, and frankly astonishing to consider, that there has been continuous human presence in Killarney for the past 9000 years. We are certain that copper was mined in the area some 4000 years ago and that the monastic settlements of Inisfallen and Aghadoe occurred in the 6th and 7th centuries respectively.  Castles, such as Ross Castle began to sprout, and the town settlement of Killarney began from the 15th century with our neighbours, the English, settling in Ireland from 1550 to 1850.  Some of our very finest buildings were built during that time, such as Muckross House, St Marys Cathedral and Killarney House. In and about that time, industries also began to develop on a small scale, each relying on the raw materials found in the locality such as wood, copper and iron ore. These materials, however, went into decline and out of necessity, the tourist industry began to flourish in Killarney. There’s no wonder the industry flourished in light of the genuine natural beauty the area has to offer.

In those early years from the 1800s onwards, accommodation was in extremely short supply in Killarney. As a result, the local landlords played a vital role in the development of tourism. It was when personal travel accounts were published that Killarney made the travel map and never looked back. During those times, Killarney's very first tourists were escorted from each location they wished to visit by horse drawn carriage – sound familiar? Sure sounds like the birth of the fully chauffeured and guided tours that we proudly offer you today...albeit in a bit more luxurious fashion.  Unlike the hundreds of options offered today, in the 1830’s there were only two hotels in Killarney for guests to choose from. The Great Famine of Ireland, also known as the Great Hunger, sadly caused mass emigration and deaths in the region. With it, Killarney and all it was becoming, came to standstill.  It wasn’t until the railway began to bring new visitors to Killarney in 1853 that the tourism industry showed signs of recovery. Queen Victoria’s visit in 1861 placed Killarney back on the map, where it still is today, as a must see location for all visitors to Ireland. Enjoying a golden age of tourism since 1861, we at Killarney Guided Tours are confident it will rebound as a must see location in the very near future.

A bit of geography:

The best way to appreciate Killarney’s wonderland of lakes and mountains is to start by getting the widest possible view of the valley of Killarney. Aghadoe, an area we know well, sits above the town and it should be mandatory that each and every visitor to Killarney visit and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world from here. Before your eyes, you will you have not only the Lakes of Killarney, the outline of the Ring of Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe, but Dingle in the western distance. The builders of the early Christian churches had an unerring eye for this perfect site. The immense Killarney National Park can be viewed in its entirety from Aghadoe. Lough Leane, the largest of the Killarney's three lakes and home to 30 islands lies before you here. Killarney has an oceanic climate influenced by the gulf stream and its weather is near perfect for touring and relaxing, whether rain or shine.  For those with an interest in geology, with its mixture of Devonian and Carboniferous rock, Killarney is your dream location. The Gap of Dunloe mountain pass was carved some 25,000 years ago and is one of the great visits during your tour of Ireland and Killarney.

Getting to Killarney

You’ve decided to make Killarney your base and wisely decided to put your holiday in Killarney Guided Tours’ capable hands, but how will you get here? Unlike other holidays, getting to us will be the very least of your concerns. As Killarney Guided Tours is a luxury transport based company providing guided tours on the Island of Ireland, and all tours in our luxury fleet are entirely private from start to finish, your dedicated driver/guide can collect you from any location, be it accommodation, airport or rail station. We will ensure you reach Killarney, where you can enjoy your vacation and some great tours with us during your stay. You’ll be able to concentrate on more pressing matters than transport, like which of the amazing locations to visit first.

Accommodation in Killarney

Knowing you have so many adventures ahead while on tour with us, you’ll want to be sure to pick that perfect accommodation to suit your taste and budget. Never fear, with far more than the two choices in the 1800's, although we do not include accommodation as part of our service, there is an endless range of accommodations available for online booking in every price range and style. With so many choices, we find that our guests are able to obtain better value and exactly what they are looking for by securing their accommodations and booking online. That said, we do work closely with all hotels and accommodations in Killarney and beyond to ensure a seamless experience on tour.  Some of the more popular accommodations our past guests have enjoyed in the area include:

·         Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa

·         The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens

·         The Europe Hotel and Resort

·         Cahernane House Hotel

·         The Ross Hotel

·         Killarney Royal Hotel

·         The Lake Hotel

·         The Brehon

·         Great Southern Killarney

·         International Hotel Killarney

·         Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa

·         Randles Hotel Killarney

With the location and the basics under your belt, stay tuned for a continuation of this series highlighting the major attractions you can explore with Killarney Guided Tours in 2021. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. 

~Gerard Scott

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