All you need to know if you find yourself in this Kerry town
For most of us staycations mean sand, surf and the chance of some Summer sun. In Autumn and Winter, as a nation, we are all too quick to book a flight than to consider staying within Ireland for our city breaks. Aside from being more sustainable to opt to stay in Ireland, there are also some incredible parts of the country perfect for exploring at this time of year, Killarney undoubtedly being one of them. With the added benefit of nearly having the place to yourself, with the throngs of tourists avoiding off-season, you have your pick of places to stay, eat and drink. While often known as a tourist hotspot, at this time of year the place reverts back to being a quaint little town. Here's what to eat, drink, and do if you're planning on spending some time in Killarney:
The Ross Hotel
East Avenue, more info here
The Ross Hotel is a four-star boutique hotel with an emphasis on sustainability. The hotel uses 100% green energy and has removed single-use plastics by replacing them with environmentally friendly alternatives. It is located right in the centre of town, which is perfect for those wanting to meander around Killarney on foot. They also have a car park across the road for those wanting to explore everything on offer outside the town - of which there is plenty. You can also use the leisure facilities, which include a pool, sauna, and outdoor hot tub, at their sister hotel across the road - perfect for unwinding before hitting the town, or nursing a sore head the morning after.
Killarney Brewery and Distilling Company
Killalee, more info here
Another new opening for Killarney, this brewery and distillery is just a short ten-minute drive from the town centre. If craft beer is your thing, then consider going on one of the guided tours that they offer. They have an amazing bar and restaurant upstairs, and it's a favourite with locals and tourists alike. There's a great selection of cocktails available, which is reassuring for those who don't enjoy beer (myself included). The food is also excellent, and the menu takes a lot of inspiration from American dive bars - but is much more elevated.
Brewery Lane, more info here
Killarney's very own coffee and wine bar is just as cool as it sounds. During the day, the family-run business serves out speciality coffee, pastries, sandwiches and salads. At night, the natural wine starts flowing, and the cheese and charcuterie boards are brought out. The vibes are always excellent regardless of the time of day, with the tunes pumping and plenty of locals coming in and out looking to get their caffeine/wine fix.
College Street, more info here
This newly opened underground bar is the perfect place to stop off for a few cocktails or a nibble before hitting the town. Each cocktail has been created by the world champion mixologist Ariel Sanecki, and there's something for everyone on the menu. This is also a great spot to bring the whiskey lover in your life, as there's a hidden whiskey parlour in the back - complete with a hidden entrance, leather-lined couches, and more whiskey than you can shake a stick at.
Photography tour with Michéal O'Sullivan
More info here
If photography is your thing, or you're looking to brush up your skills, then consider taking a 1 hour guided photography tour with Killarney's top photographer Michéal O'Sullivan. This tour is absolutely great for beginners, as Michéal will teach the essential basics of taking a great photo. We were guided around the beautiful grounds of Ross Castle, which provided a stunning backdrop for the tour.
Horseriding tour at Killarney Riding Stables
Ballydowney, more info here
If you're looking for a more unique (and slightly higher up) way to see Killarney, head on over to Killarney riding stables for a scenic ride through the national park. The instructors will give you a brief lesson on how to handle your loyal steed, before taking a slow hack along the hills and valleys of Killarney's foremost park. It's a great lesson for beginners, with incredible views of the beautiful park where you get the chance to see the infamous red stags during the rutting season or spot a herd of Sika deer.
Brewery tour at Killarney Brewing and Distilling Company
Killalee, more info here
If you're a craft beer enthusiast or simply enjoy any chance to skull a few pints, then let me introduce you to Killarney's newest brewery and distillery. The guide will talk you through the differences in each beer they produce, as well as the brewing process in detail. You'll then get to sample three of their best-selling beers and rate them according to your tastes.
Killarney House and Gardens
Demesne, more info here
Located in the centre of Killarney town, Killarney House and Gardens is the perfect place to go if you're looking to learn more about the town and national park. There is a free exhibition in Killarney House, and it's not to be missed. The interactive museum is super immersive, and thoughtfully educates guests on the area, its history, and the environment. The gardens surrounding the house are also beautifully maintained and provide a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the town.
Muckross House and Gardens
Muckross, more info here
If you're fond of a walk and are looking for a scenic way to stretch the legs, then Muckross House is the spot for you. It's a 15-minute cycle from the town and is an excellent free activity. The grounds are widespread but beautifully kept and offer scenic views of the mountains around. There is also a visitor centre that does a slap-up carvery dinner if you're in need of a big feed too.
For more information head to www.killarney.ie
Have somewhere else you recommend? Let us know on [email protected]