15 Best Day Trips from Killarney, Ireland

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Killarney is a fun tourist town in southwestern Ireland, situated along the Ring of Kerry scenic drive. The town is located on the northeastern shore of Lough Leane. Killarney is a popular tourist destination thanks to its charming architecture, natural heritage, history, dazzling scenery, laid-back atmosphere, and world-class hospitality. Some of the main attractions around Killarney include St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Lakes of Killarney, and the Ross Castle. During the summer, there are waves of American tourists who come to this vibrant town that has incredibly beautiful surrounding countryside.

If you’re having a hard time trying to navigate the nearby areas, here’s our list of 15 best day trips from Killarney that will bring you opportunities to stumble upon new adventures.

1. Dublin

Dublin, IrelandSource: Madrugada Verde / shutterstock

This is the capital city of Ireland and there is a lot to explore. It’s situated in the province of Leinster. Dublin is also referred to as “Baile Atha Cliath” and is located 264 kilometers away from Killarney.

Dublin has been popular since its establishment in 841. The city entices tourists with its unique blend of Irish hospitality and lively nightlife. The famous Temple Bar district and the Guinness Storehouse are the most popular attractions in the city.

The medieval cobbled streets add immensely to the town’s appeal. Most of the buildings were constructed between 1720 and 1840 using Georgian-style architecture.

The town center is relatively small and can be explored on foot. Remember this – when in Dublin, do as the Dubs do.

2. Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs Of MoherSource: shutterstock
Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are also known as the Cliffs of the Ruin. They’re located at the southwestern edge of The Burren area near Doolin and boast spectacular views. When the skies are clear, you can see the Aran Islands and the valleys and hills of Connemara.

The cliffs rise 120 meters above the Atlantic Ocean at their southern end and reach their peak at a height of 214 meters, 8 kilometers to the north. The Cliffs of Moher run for about 14 kilometers.

The O’Brien Tower is a stone tower that was built in 1835 near the midpoint of the cliffs by Sir Cornelius O’Brien.

The Cliffs of Moher rank among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with around 1.5 million tourists making the pilgrimage to the cliffs every year to experience the awe-inspiring views.

3. Dingle

Dingle, IrelandSource: LaMiaFotografia / shutterstock

Dingle is a town on the Dingle Peninsula on the Atlantic coast, about 71 kilometers from Killarney. The town is famed for its rugged beauty and indigenous cultural heritage. Dingle brims with both local and foreign tourists on weekends and through summer. Visitors come here to experience the lively pubs, beautiful beaches, exciting music, and culture.

The main industries in Dingle are tourism, agriculture, and fishing.

The scenic and mystical Dingle Peninsula features a rocky coastline that alternates with miles and miles of beach. In addition to the captivating views, this place is a heaven just waiting to be explored.

Dingle’s Gulf Stream is home to the adult Bottlenose dolphin called Fungie, who’s the town’s unofficial mascot.

Recommended tour: From Killarney: Day Trip to Dingle

4. Waterford

Waterford, IrelandSource: Sue Burton PhotographyLtd / shutterstock

This is Ireland’s oldest city, boasting 1000 year’s worth of history. Waterford is famous for its hand-crafted crystal ware, intriguing medieval history, and the new craft beer bar known as “Grady’s Yard”. Waterford is located on the River Suir and was once a very important European port.

Waterford has a much more relaxed vibe than other cities and maintains a “small Irish town” feel. The city has a cluster of charming seaside resorts and a mountainous hinterland. This makes it ideal for activities and holidays of all kinds.

The city is steeped in history, heritage, and culture. There is so much to do and see around Waterford as it features some of the country’s premier tourist attraction sites – The Waterford Museum of Treasures, the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, and the Christ Church Cathedral.

5. Listowel

Listowel CastleSource: gabriel12 / shutterstock
Listowel Castle

Listowel is both a heritage town and a market town. It’s located along the banks of the River Feale. This town is also described as the “Literary Capital of Ireland”. This is attributed to the fact that several internationally known authors, including John B Keane and Bryan MacMahon, have lived here.

Listowel was officially designated as one of Ireland’s “Heritage Towns” in July 2000. This was mostly due to its architectural heritage and historic importance. Listowel was also named as Ireland’s tidiest town.

The town’s history dates back to 1303. On your day trip, stop by Listowel Castle and the Listowel Monorailway, which will offer a great learning opportunity.

6. Mangerton Mountain

Mangerton Mountain, Killarney National ParkSource: Colm K / shutterstock
Mangerton Mountain, Killarney National Park

This mountain is the tallest of the Mangerton range and the 25th tallest in the country. Mangerton Mountain soars up to a height of 839 meters. Its western slopes lie within Killarney National Park. The far northern slope was the site of the 1262 battle between the Mac Carthaigh and FitzGeralds.

The mountain is part of a formation that includes the peaks of Stoompa, Glen-cappul, and Mangerton North Top. These peaks measure 705 meters, 700 meters, and 782 meters respectively.

A hike to the summit takes approximately 4 to 5 hours.

7. Bandon

Bandon, IrelandSource: Ansel B / shutterstock

Bandon is a town located 76km away from Killarney, between two hills on the banks of River Bandon. The name Droichead na Bandan in Irish translates to “Bridge of the Bandon”. It refers to the town as the main crossing point of the River Bandon.

This young town is also referred to as the Gateway to West Cork.

Bandon is surrounded by major cities like Waterford. This strategic positioning makes the town an ideal destination for a day trip. The city is bestowed with multiple attractions which offer a unique experience to tourists.

8. Macroom

Macroom, IrelandSource: Sharkshock / shutterstock

Macroom is located 46km away from Killarney. This market town is found in a valley of the River Sullane, in between Cork and Killarney.

The town is traditionally known by the locals as “the town that never reared a fool”. It started out as a meeting place for the Druids of Munster. The immediate town that was created hosted a major battle that involved the Irish King Brian Boru.

There’s so much to discover on a day trip to this small market town that is dotted with attractions. Macroom’s landscape is one of striking beauty. This town is home to the Danone milk processing factory that deals in drying and canning infant formula.

9. Innisfallen Island

Innisfallen IslandSource: Isabelle OHara / shutterstock
Innisfallen Island

This enchanting island is located on Lough Leane, approximately 1.5 kilometers from the shore.

Innisfallen Island covers an area of 21 kilometers and is the largest among the other 32 islands on the lake. There’s so much to see here as you explore the serenity of both the island and the surrounding lake. The island is a non-crowded location that offers great views of Killarney.

The most remarkable archeological remains on the island are the ruins of Innisfallen Abbey, dating back to 640 BC. The Abbey was occupied for more than 850 years.

10. Tralee

Tralee, IrelandSource: JJFarq / shutterstock

Tralee is a beautiful town with the best climate in Ireland. It is located on the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula and is the largest town in County Kerry.

Some of the interesting points in this large town are the Pikeman Monument, St. John’s Church, and the town park. Tralee is quickly developing as the country’s newest tourist destination.

If you would like to participate in the Rose of Tralee International Festival, the best time to plan your trip would be in August. The annual summer festival has been held here for the past 60 years; it made its debut in August 1959.

11. Cork

Cork, IrelandSource: Madrugada Verde / shutterstock

Cork is Ireland’s third largest city. It began life as an island but now spans both banks of River Lee, with numerous water channels running beneath some of its main thoroughfares. The town is known as ‘Ireland’s own Venice.’

The best way to explore this city’s vibrant attractions is on foot. Along the way, you’ll get to interact with the talkative locals and maybe drop by one of the restaurants or pubs that flood every street and alley.

The city is known for its Georgian architecture, the charming 17th century alleys, and the beautiful quays and harbors. Cork Harbor is one of the largest natural harbors in the world and is a great fishing spot.

On your day trip to Cork, come prepared for a visual, gourmet, and historic treat.

12. Kenmare

Kenmare, IrelandSource: gabriel12 / shutterstock

This small town is located at the head of Kenmare Bay, which gradually opens out into the ocean. Kenmare gained international popularity through its lace-working industry, whose excellent needlepoint lace technique was initiated by the nuns from the St. Clare’s Convent.

Kenmare’s Irish name is “An Neidin,” which means “the little nest.” Kenmare is also known for its Bronze Age stone circle and dolmen close to the town center. Although the town center is relatively small, there is an excellent triangle of interconnecting roads and a great selection of hotels, restaurants, and pubs.

This small town offers a unique experience to visitors – an affair to remember for a lifetime.

13. Aran Islands

Cliffs Of Inishmore, Aran Islands, IrelandSource: Stefano_Valeri / shutterstock
Cliffs Of Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland

The Aran Islands is an archipelago of three small islands – Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr. All the islands are rocky and offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

The largest and most visited of the three is Inis Mor, which is 12 kilometers by 3 kilometers. Inis Meain is the middle island and the least populous. Inis Oirr is the smallest and southernmost island.

The inhabitants of these islands built incredible stone forts and walls that have stood for centuries. They also brought greenery to the once lifeless and barren islands.

14. Connemara

Connemara, IrelandSource: mbrand85 / shutterstock

Connemara is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever find. It has scenery like that out of a fairytale. Its mountains are a rich green and when the clouds roll it seems almost magical. The light constantly changes the mood and tone of the landscape.

Connemara is located on the west coast of Ireland. For the longest time, Connemara has been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland.

The raw environment and the natural terrain offer tourists a wonderland of sights, adventure, experiences, and activities.

15. Killorglin

Killorglin, IrelandSource: JJFarq / shutterstock

This town is located in County Kerry, South West of Ireland on the River Laune. The river is known for its rowing club and a boathouse, as well as for salmon and trout fishing. Killorglin stands on a hill to the south of Castlemaine and is home to the ruins of Castle Conway.

Killorglin is popular for the Puck Fair festival that takes place on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of August every year. The king of Puck Fair is a mountain goat that is borne in triumph and enthroned for the duration of the fair. This festival brings in visitors from around the world.

15 Best Day Trips from Killarney, Ireland:

  • Dublin
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Dingle
  • Waterford
  • Listowel
  • Mangerton Mountain
  • Bandon
  • Macroom
  • Innisfallen Island
  • Tralee
  • Cork
  • Kenmare
  • Aran Islands
  • Connemara
  • Killorglin