If you have time, visit Killarney National Park, which offers beautiful
scenery, the Inveragh Peninsula's three major lakes and a number of
historic attractions. The Park is crowded in high season, but enjoyable in
almost any season.
The official website of the
Killarney National Park provides a detailed overview of the activities
available and there is a lot to see and do. Most of the spots that you
will want to see are along the Kenmare Road (N71). Sights to see
include the lakes (Lower Lake (Lough Leanne), Middle Lake and Upper Lake),
the Torc Waterfall (about a sixty-foot drop) and Ladies view and a panoramic
landscape across the lakes of the Park towards the Gap of Dunloe. The
rumor is that the "ladies" involved in naming the view were Queen Victoria
and the her ladies-in-waiting. Regardless, the view from the
overlook is stunning.
Historic attractions within the Park that you should consider include
Ross Castle (the 15th century castle of an Irish Chieftain and
Muckross House and Gardens
(a furnished, beautiful Victorian house with exceptional gardens),
Muckross Traditional Farms
(three showcase farms using "traditional" Irish methods to grow their crops)
Muckross Friary , a 15th century Franciscan friary that has been
If you are interested in seeing more of the Park, consider taking one of the
boat rides connecting the attractions along the lakes. See this page
from the Killarney National Park official
website for more information, or stop by the Tourist Office in Killarney
where you will find brochures on the available options.
About 8 miles (12 km) off St. Finan's Bay at the end of the
Inveragh Peninsula (the Ring of Kerry drive encloses the peninsula) is
Skellig Michael Island (Great Skellig), a rocky outcrop elevated 714 ft
(218 meters) above sea level. What makes this island so unique is that
there is an abandoned monastic complex near the top of this bleak and
weatherworn piece of rock. In the 6th century, the monastery was
founded by St. Fionan and was active for the next 600 years. Eventually the
order relocated in the town of Ballinskellig on the mainland.
The monastic complex consists of several beehive huts and two oratories
for worship, which can be reached only by an uphill climb along a dramatic
670-step stone staircase. Skellig Michael was named a UNESCO World
Heritage site in 1996.
Access to the island is limited, but a number of boats are licensed to
make the tour. The ride to the island can be quite rough and in some weather
an approach to the island is impossible. Most trips take an hour
(or slightly longer) to reach the island and afford 2 to 2.5 hours on
the rock. Wear warm clothes and be prepared for wet conditions.
Finally, there are no facilities of any type on the island. We suggest
that you bring water and something for a snack. Scrambling up those
steps and the fresh sea air will make you ravenous.
If you are interested in visiting Skellig Michael, you should reserve
ahead. For a list of websites running boats that can take you to the
island use your favorite search engine and enter "Skellig Michael boat
For those of you who would like to know more about the Skelligs (there is
a smaller sister island that is well known for its bird colony), but
not interested in the boat trip, consider visiting
The Skellig Experience. The Experience is on the waterfront, near
the bridge to Valentia Island directly opposite the town of Portmagee. The
Skellig Experience includes an audio-visual tour of the island, along with
other presentations that will help you appreciate the determination and
religious fervor of the island's monastic community.
The Skellig Experience Centre is located 11KM off
the western sector of the Ring of Kerry - (N 70). Take R565 west
from Laharan South (located on the N70) towards Portmagee (located just
before the bridge crossing to Valentia (Valenica) Island.
You can either backtrack to where you left the Ring or continue your tour
through Valentia Island and catch a ferry from Knights Town
islands north eastern edge) to Cahirciveen further along on the Ring of
Finally, you might want to take a look at Heritage Ireland's
page on Skellig Michael.
More Places to Visit in Southwest Ireland
Click here for page 3 on the Southwest, featuring the
Or, here for
page 4 on the Southwest, featuring Blarney Castle, Cork, Gougane Barra
and the Drombeg Stone Circle.
Using the Jump Bar at the bottom of the page will take you directly to the
articles on each of the attractions shown.
Using the link menu on the
right-edge of this page will take you to other sections of scenic Ireland.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.