Killarney National Park
Ireland ’s first National Park lies to the south and west of Killarney town at the foot of Ireland 's highest mountain range, MacGillycuddy's Reeks. The park today covers an area of 10,000 hectares (0ver 26,000 acres).
The park boasts the three world famous Lakes of Killarney where the lower wood clad mountain slopes fall to meet the lake shores.
In 1932 the former Muckross Estate, which included Muckross House, was presented to the State by Senator Arthur Vincent and is now presented to the public as a late nineteenth century mansion. It forms the focal point of the National Park while also serving as a major tourist attraction for the area. Adjoining the House are the world famous Muckross Gardens and Arboretum.
For further information please contact Killarney National Park , Muckross, Killarney.
Location: 6.5km from Killarney on N71 ( Kenmare Road ).
Built in the late 15th Century by one of the O'Donoghue Ross Gaelic Chieftains, Ross Castle has had a long and distinguished history.
Having served as a residence for the "Kenmare" Family and subsequently as an Army Barracks, the Castle was finally vacated in 1825. For almost the next 150 years, under various owners, it remained as a "deteriorating" but famous Killarney landmark on the shores of Lough Leane.
In 1970, the Castle came into State ownership and has been beautifully restored by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and refurnished in the style of the 17th century. It is now under the management of the OPW and is open to the public - by guided tour only.
A Guided Tour of Ross Castle is an experience not to be missed.
Contact: 353 (0) 64 35851
The Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe divides the Purple Mountain from the MacGillycuddy Reeks. In this rugged defile are the Serpent, Auger, Cushvalley and Black Lakes which are drained by the River Loe.
Visitors travel on pony back or pony carriage from Kate Kearney's Cottage to the head of the Upper Lake where the tour continues by boat. This gap is a place of massive boulders in grotesque array over which foaming mountain torrents dash downwards with reckless abandon. A symphony of nature is played here incessantly, no two notes in repetition. For illustration, nature adds a profusion of ferns, mosses and wild flowers. The purple heather and the yellow gorse make a blaze of colour thrilling to the eye.
Follow the path from the road upwards for 300m to the waterfall. This is particularly dramatic immediately after extended periods of heavy rain, the torrent foaming violently off the mountain top and exploding over the 60ft (18m) rock face. Further up a stepped pathway for 200m there are panoramic lake views through conifer woods. The route continues to the Queen's Drive carpark with mountain amphitheatre - peaks and pine trees all around.