Killarney (map) is a town in County Kerry in southwest Ireland. It has a resident population of 14,504 (as of 2016) but in summer they’re outnumbered by tourists, because this is one of the most scenic areas of Ireland, firmly on the tourist circuit for over 150 years.
Its lakes command great views of Ireland’s highest mountains, and the landscape is protected as Killarney National Park. It’s the usual starting point for the *Ring of Kerry, the 214 km circuit along the coast of Iveragh Peninsula.
Killarney won the Best Kept Town award in 2007, in a cross-border competition jointly organised by the Department of the Environment and the Northern Ireland Amenity Council. In 2011, it was named Ireland’s tidiest town and the cleanest town in the country by Irish Business Against Litter.
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Town centre along High St (map) is typical 19th century low-rise, pleasant enough but always busy with traffic. St Mary’s RC Cathedral (map), west along New St, is a grand neo-gothic structure completed in 1855.
Ring of Kerry by car can easily be done in a day. If as suggested you go clockwise against the buses, the first stretch is over Moll’s Gap to Kenmare. But if you decide to follow them, take N72 west via Aghadoe to Killorglin, where the main attraction is Kerry Bog Village (map).
Killarney National Park starts just west of St Mary’s. This entrance (junction of Port Road and Mission Road on R877) leads past Knockreer House (nowadays park offices, map) into bosky gardens and parkland overlooking the lough. The park is free and open 09:00-18:00.
Killarney Outlet Centre (map) is a large indoor mall north side of the railway and bus stations. There’s a retail park east edge of town, with Tesco and Aldi.