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
Tourist attractions in IrelandThe Blarney Stone Bru na Boinne Bunratty Castle The Burren Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge The Cliffs of Moher Croagh Patrick Dingle Peninsula Garnish Island The Giant's Causeway Glendalough The Guinness Storehouse Hill of Tara Lakes of Killarney Newgrange The Peace Bridge Ring of Kerry Wild Atlantic Way
Irish citiesBelfast Cork Derry Dublin Galway Limerick Waterford
Tourism articlesTripAdvisor's top 10 destinations in Ireland for 2015 Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by the Irish Top holiday destinations in Ireland - as voted by tourists Ireland's favourite heritage site The most romantic city in Ireland Hidden gems in Ireland The top ten Irish beaches Where would Irish people take overseas guests? Tips for first time visitors to Ireland What not to do when visiting Ireland Ireland's top sacred pilgrimage sites Eight reasons why Irish pubs are Ireland's top attractions What do you like about Ireland? Local Irish pubs number one attraction for tourists Tourists happy with 'value for money' on visits to Ireland Video - initiative to promote 'Ireland's Ancient East' Ireland can boast the best 'cliff view' in the world Most visited tourist attractions in Ireland in 2014? Industry warned not to 'repeat the mistakes of the past' Dublin 'favourite worldwide city' for young travellers Which tourist attractions in Ireland made the Lonely Planet's ultimate guide? Dublin is one of the world's top three cities say Lonely Planet Ireland has three of the world's four friendliest cities
Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation. Check if you qualify for Irish citizenship
Did you know?Why does Ireland have such a high percentage of red-haired people compared to the rest of the Western world? Is it from the Celts or could the Vikings be responsible? Find out more.
Have you heard about…An Irish bride performed beautiful rendition of the song ‘The Prayer’ at her wedding – and returned from her honeymoon to find that the video had gone viral. Find out more.
What about this…‘The most dangerous woman in America’ – ‘Mother Jones’ was an Irish emigrant who fought for worker’s rights, believing that working men should be able to earn enough money from a hard day’s work to provide for their families. Her efforts landed her in court, where the prosecution labelled her the ‘most dangerous woman in America’. Find out more.