Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012
Killarney is the busiest beehive of tourism in Ireland – the Grand Central Station of the southwest, with all the positive and negative connotations that this implies.
The town becomes one giant traffic jam of battling tour buses every summer, and a Mecca for pushy jaunting-car (horse-and-buggy) drivers. The locals are well practiced at dispensing a professional brand of Irish charm, and accommodations and restaurant prices are hiked up to capitalize on the hordes descending from the motor coaches.
If that’s not your scene, it’s easy enough to resist Killarney’s gravitational pull and instead explore the incredibly picturesque hinterlands that border the town on all sides. You might sneak into town at some point to sample the best of what this tourist megalopolis has to offer.
It’s important to remember that the reason Killarney draws millions of visitors a year has nothing to do with the town. It’s all about the valley in which the town is nestled, a landscape of lakes and mountains that’s so truly spectacular.
The lakes and the surrounding woodlands are part of the Killarney National Park. Within the park are two major estates, Muckross and Knockreer, and the remains of major medieval abbeys and castles.