Emerald Heritage | A Guide to Killarney National Park
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A Guide to Killarney National Park

Ireland might be a blanket of lush green countryside but like most countries, there is still a genuine need for conservation and Killarney National Park is a shining example of what that conservation can do.

From majestic mountain peaks to dense bogs and woodlands, the Killarney National Park packs it all in for the enjoyment of both the Irish people and tourists from afar.

We’ve answered some of the most common questions to inspire you to visit or so you can enjoy your trip!

What is Killarney National Park?

Killarney National Park is Ireland’s first ever national park.

At over 26,000 acres the park encompasses a wide variety of natural attractions including bogs, oak and yew native woodlands, the Lakes of Killarney, the McGillycuddy’s Reek mountain range, a large array of different animal species, Muckross House, Ross Castle and more!

The park used to be known as Muckross Estate and was donated to the Irish State in 1932 by the British politician Arthur Rose Vincent, and his father-in-law William Bowers Bourn.

Bourn had initially gifted the Estate to his daughter Maud and new husband Arthur in 1910. Unfortunately Maud died of pneumonia in 1929 and the Estate became national park 3 years later.

Since then it has been enjoyed by millions and was officially made a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981 and is now known as a special area of conservation.  

Where is Killarney National Park?

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Killarney National Park is located in County Kerry, just a short distance from the town of Killarney, in the south-west of Ireland.

If you aren’t travelling to the park as part of an organised tour we would recommend driving.

For planning preparation we have listed some of the key journey times below:

  • Belfast to Killarney National Park: 6.5 hours
  • Dublin to Killarney National Park: 4 hours
  • Galway to Killarney National Park: 3 hours
  • Cork to Killarney National Park: 1.5 hours

Please be aware that these are approximate times. 

What is there to do in Killarney National Park?

As we’ve already mentioned, Killarney National Park is huge and as a result there’s plenty to do.

You could climb Ireland’s highest mountain peak, Carrauntoohill, or wander within Ireland’s oldest native woodlands, which have stood for approximately 10,000 years. 

You could also check out the Lakes of Killarney, Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake.

For history, architecture and culture, there’s Muckross House, Gardens and Abbey, Ross Castle and an educational visitor centre in Knockreer House. 

When does Killarney National Park close?

Killarney National Park is open to the public 24 hours a day, all year round.

However, if you would like to visit Killarney House and Gardens or Muckross House and Gardens please be aware this can only be done during opening hours.

For more information on opening times click here


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