Blarney Castle /
Gunpowder Mills and Kinsale
The Lakes of Killarney
The Ring of Kerry
Tralee and Dingle
THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY
How to Get There
The Lakes of Killarney are one of Ireland's most famous tourist attractions. The Killarney Lakes are three in number, Lough Leane, Middle Lake and Upper Lake. The best way to see the lakes is by one of the organised tours as getting around can be a little confusing and you don't want to miss any of the beauty spots. There are two traditional organised trips - in the summer season by pony or pony trap through the Gap of Dunloe, and by boat down the three lakes, a full day's trip, not to be missed in good conditions; and, all year, the jaunting car trips, principally the 2.5 hours trip through the Muckross Estate. There are also 1/2 day bus trips and boat trips. For the adventurous bicycles can be hired at several locations in Killarney.
Two splendid panoramic views of the Lakes are available from Aghadoe at the northern end and from Ladies View, near the southern end. Click here to download a detailed Map. The following is a short tour of the area for those driving or cycling (there will be some steep climbs for cyclists).
From the centre of Killarney, take the main road N22 to Tralee to just past the roundabout, turn left and follow the road to Aghadoe. Cross the Killarney/Killorglin road and turn left through Beaufort for Kate Kearney's Cottage and the Gap of Dunloe. Returning a short distance from Kate Kearney's take the first left and head towards Glencar. [The next 25Km (15 miles) follows a narrow single lane road which goes through the beautiful scenery and passes of the Macgillycuddy Reeks Mountains. This is quite an easy route to follow as you cannot exit to left and ignore all exits to the right. This road joins the R568 where you turn left heading back towards Killarney. Approx. 8Km (5 miles) further the R568 joins the N71 (Main Killarney/Kenmare road)]. NOTE: The section above shown between [ ] is not shown on the downloadable map.
The next stop on this tour is Ladies View and then on to Torc Waterfall 11Km (7 miles) further on. Continuing on you will come to Muckross House and finally Ross Castle. The N71 re-enters the centre of Killarney by The Great Southern Hotel. The total distance of this tour is approx. 60Km (35 miles).
The Gap of Dunloe
Other attractions in/around Killarney are: Ross Castle, Torc Waterfall and the Blue Pool all on the Kenmare Road. The National Museum of Irish Transport, located in Scott's Gardens in the centre of Killarney town.
How to Get There
One of the most scenic drives in Ireland is the Ring of Kerry, around the Iveragh Peninsula. Even if one takes a number of detours from the standard route it is not possible to cover all the principal sites of the peninsula in a single dayÕs journey. The independent traveller needs to allow as much time as possible for different detours.The tour will take in: Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel, Sneem and Kenmare. There are numerous craft shops along this route where hand crafted items of the highest quality can be purchased.
Killorglin: (Cill Orglan- Orgla's Church)
Situated on a hill overlooking the famous salmon river Laune, with a spectacular backdrop of the MacGillicuddy Reeks. The town grew up around another castle, now almost wholly ruined. The town's horse and cattle fair, Puck Fair, is held from August 10th to 12th and is a great festival of the area. You'll find today's Puck Fair the occasion of a grand round of events and festivities quite unlike any other country fair you are likely to visit. On the first day, Gathering Day, the Puck Goat is paraded through the town with great enthusiasm before being installed as "king" on a lofty platform over Killorglin's market square. The second day, Fair Day, is given over to the buying and selling of livestock, and on the third day, Scattering Day, the goat is released with great ceremony and celebration at sunset. Kerry Bog Village museum outside Killorglin has recreated the turf cutters house, and the dwellings of the blacksmith, a labourer and the thatcher. The stable, hen house and dairy house has also been constructed.
Glenbeigh: (Gleann Beithe - Valley of the Beech Trees)
A beautiful holiday village at the foot of well-wooded mountains and Rossbeigh Beach. At the end of the village are the gaunt ruins built in the 1860's and 1870's by Lord Headley, a famous eccentric. The architect, an Englishman called Godwin, had the famous Ellen Terry as his mistress. The Towers were burned in 1922; but there is a stunning view from the site. To the left are seven beautiful fishing lakes among the mountains. A famous story is the pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, daughter of the King of Ireland. She was betrothed to Fionn, the leader of the Fianna, whom she found too old, and eloped with a handsome young Kerryman, Diarmuid O Duibhne, to a cave here at Glenbeigh. Fionn pursued them and the couple had to flee, a flight that lasted seven years! Very many Irish dolmens, i.e., prehistoric tombs, are called in popular speech "beds of Diarmuid and Grainne". There is a spectacular beach just 3Km (2 miles) from Glenbeigh at Rossbeigh.
Caherciveen: (Cathair Saidhbhin - Little Saidhbh's Stone Fort)
Waterville: (An Coirean - The Little Whirlpool)
Waterville nestles between Lough Currane and the Atlantic and is world famous for its game angling resort, and its 18-hole championship golf links. The area has superb scenery, and there are many fine beaches in the vicinity. The artist, archaeologist, antiquarian, botanist and the general holiday maker will find many attractions to delight them. It has attracted many famous celebrities down through the years including Charlie Chaplin and his family. Waterville figures in many legends - first there was the arrival of Cessair to escape the Flood. Noah had excluded his son Bith and Bith's daughter, Cessair, from the Ark. So she set sail for Ireland which her wizards said was uninhabited and free of reptiles and monsters and would escape the Flood. Three ships reached here but two were wrecked and their crews drowned. But Cessair, her father Bith, two other men and forty-nine women landed in the year 2958 B.C.[!!] Bith eventually died as did the men Fintan and Ladra. This was too much for the remaining man and he fled from them all, and Cessair died of a broken heart. The unique climate aided by the Gulf Stream enables you to enjoy the Waterville region all year round.
Caherdaniel: (Cathair Donaill - Donal's Stone Fort)
This pretty village stands on the shores of Derrynane Bay and is an excellent location for angling, swimming and diving. The harbour at Derrynane was linked to copper mines in the mountains and some 4,000 years ago the ore was sent to Spain for smelting. Just beyond the Derrynane Hotel is a small white strand, Glan Beag. The first military invaders of Ireland landed here during May 2680 B.C. There is also a pre-Reformation parish church, the church of St. Crohane; directly above it there is an early copper mine which Crohane used as a hermitage - the mark of his shoulders is on the roof!!
Sneem: (An Siopa Dubh - The Knot)
Where the road climbs through a pass there is a fine panorama of the Sneem Valley, with its great backdrop of mountains stretching as far, but only just seen, the Macgillycuddy Reeks above Killarney. In the mountains are scooped out corries, another effect of the ice-age. Next, the colourful village of Sneem and as this is salmon country note that the weather vane on the little Protestant church is a salmon. Stop for a moment after the bridge to look at the Sneem River falling over the rocks below, spectacular after heavy rain. Parknasilla Golf course is just 3Km (2 miles) from Sneem.
Kenmare: (Neidin - The Little Nest)
A Bord Failte Heritage town Kenmare includes a heritage trail and heritage centre opened in 1994. It is a model of a planned, landlord's town, laid out on the instructions of the first Marquess of Landsdowne in 1775. It is a market town, with a significant tourist business. It grew up around a mine works founded in 1670 on the banks of the River Finnihy, that runs along the edge of the town. The oldest monument in the town is the most impressive of all the stone circles so numerous in the Cork/Kerry area, a fine example of one containing what is called a "boulder burial". There are 15 stones in the circle and there is a large recumbent boulder in the centre. Burials, probably associated with human sacrifice, were placed under boulders of this kind. If you look closely you will see that there appear to be cup marks on the boulder - that is, little holes scooped out of the rock. The circle is beautifully placed along the banks of the River Finnihy. Quite apart from the beauty of its own setting, Kenmare is also an ideal centre for exploring the beauties of the south west of Ireland. Kenmare is also known for its lace making industry. Point lace and many other varieties produced here have been world famous for many years.
Throughout the Ring of Kerry there are numerous restaurants, many of which serve the finest of seafood, freshly caught the same day from the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic. There are numerous pubs with live music and evening entertainment venues. The Ring of Kerry is an ideal place to stay with your accommodation overlooking some of the most beautiful views in Ireland.
......Clockwise above: Waterville Beach, Parknasilla Golf Course, Kenmare Town.
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