The Lakes of Killarney offer views of breathtaking beauty, making them one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.
Thousands of holidaymakers visit the area every year, attracted by the clear views across the waters, the lush forests, rolling hills, towering mountains, woodlands and wildlife.
Killarney National Park
The lakes are at the heart of Killarney National Park. The mountains that surround the lakes protect them from harsh winds and the climate in the area is usually very mild.
Although the area is surrounded by Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, which is the highest mountain range in Ireland, the lakes themselves are only about 65 feet above sea level.
Killarney National Park is home to wild red deer, which roam freely throughout the area.
The largest lake is Lough Leane, which roughly translated means ‘lake of learning’. It is sometimes referred to as the lower lake. Lough Leane is eight square miles and contains several islands. One of the islands, Innisfallen, is home to the ancient ruins of an abbey that dates back to 600AD. You can take a boat trip to Innisfallen to see the ruins.
Lough Leane is the closest lake to the town of Killarney and is also home to Ross Castle. You can go fishing at Lough Leane near the castle. There are salmon, pike, trout and several other species. There is the wooded peninsula of Muckross that separates Lough Leane from Muckross Lake.
Muckross Lake is also known as the ‘Middle Lake’. It is one square mile and is where you will find the stunning Torc Waterfall.
On the Eastern shore of Muckross lake you can see Muckross House and Muckross Abbey.
The Upper Lake is the smallest of the three lakes. It is just under one square mile. What it lacks in size it makes up for with fabulous scenery.
It is surrounded by lush vegetation and many tourists say it is the most picturesque of the three lakes.
It is located in a valley between the mountains. It is from above the upper lake you can see the Ladies’ View which is one of the most famous and beautiful views in the entire area.
The Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a gap between two mountains of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks . It is a few miles from the town of Killarney and is about seven miles long. It is one of the area’s most popular beauty spots.
You could spend the entire day walking along the Gap of Dunloe and it is a lovely place to stop for a picnic. It is also a short boat ride away from Ross Castle.
Tours of the lakes
You can go on guided tours which take in all the major beauty spots around the lakes. There are also several bus and boat trips that cover all the area has to offer. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you may prefer to go on horseback.
You can take tours by pony through the Gap of Dunloe and then take a boat out onto the lake.
Lakes of Killarney
Killarney town and area