To truly appreciate all that Ireland has to offer break out of the tour bus and set yourself free to feel her terrain under your feet and breathe in her rich scents. One of the easiest ways to do that is renting a bike for the day in a place like Killarney.
This stunning little town is often a quick stop on the Ring of Kerry, but a full day here allows you see it has so much more to offer and truly why this country earned the nickname Emerald Isle. Here’s a little of what you might find on your rolling adventure.
This beautiful estate is situated in the verdant Killarney National Park and features a must-see 19th century Victorian mansion that played host to Queen Victoria for two nights in 1861. Guided tours of the interior of the mansion are available or you can just stroll the grounds and enjoy the beauty of this estate’s stunning formal gardens.
Take a break from your bike hire a horse-drawn jaunting cart so you can enjoy seeing the grounds while listening to the musical clip-clop of hooves. These carts can also be hired to take you to and from town if you’re ready to skip biking all together.
The Killarney National Forest is a magical place filled with waterfalls, rugged mountains and lakes. One of the best ways to drink in the beauty of this area combines biking the path around the lake and frequent stops to hike around.
One of the most popular trails is the short Muckross Abbey Loop, which will take you to medieval ruins, and is just approximately 1.5 miles long. But you’ll find many little paths on your entire bike ride that offer a chance to see the water, the forest and more.
One of the best places to hop of your bike is at Torc Waterfall. You’ll find a quick hike leads up to the gorgeous falls, but additional trails are available for 1 hour to 3 hour hikes for those of all levels. There’s also an added bonus if you can muster the energy to climb the approximately 100 steps located to the left of this pretty waterfall. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Lakes of Killarney.
There are several reasons why visiting the Killarney House and gardens is a must. First of all, it’s located in the middle of town, so it’s easy to reach as the start or finish of your bike tour. Second, it has recently undergone a very expensive as well as extensive renovation. Third, it’s free to tour the house and gardens. And last, but not least, the tranquil gardens are bursting with color that will stun, set against a stunning backdrop of mountains.
After a long day of exploring the area, chances are your appetite will be pleasantly whetted. To take the edge off of your growling tummy, head to Murphy’s Killarney. This popular and well-known pub was established in 1955 and serves traditional fare, including Bacon and Cabbage, Irish stew and classic cottage pies.
You’ll, of course, want to wash it all down with a pint of Guinness. This bar is cozy, but also memorable — its interior features pitch pine that has been repurposed from an old church and stained glass windows.