15 Best Killarney Tours

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Located in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry, Killarney is often referred to as the country’s adventure capital. It offers visitors a variety of year-round tours and activity options to suit those with a wide range of interests.

Killarney was also recently voted the cleanest and most litter-free town in the entire country and is well-known for its abundant urban and national parks, chain of scenic lakes, impressive waterfalls, and significant historic attractions as well.

Tours by bus and boat abound, and recreational activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing.

Below are 15 of the best tours of Killarney.

1. Full-Day Dingle and Slea Head Tour

Slea Head, Dingle PeninsulaSource: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / shutterstock
Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula

Located just west of Killarney on a narrow spit of land reaching into the Irish Sea, Dingle and Slea Head are popular attractions that include long stretches of beaches and some of the area’s most rugged coastline.

On this full-day tour from Killarney, guests will follow their guide’s lead and experience many of the region’s most impressive sights.

The peninsula is most well-known for its idyllic sea views, magnificent islands, and quaint fishing villages.

Participants can expect to learn about local culture and try their hand at the language, all while having ample opportunity to appreciate the area’s splendor and snap a few photos.

2. 1-Hour Killarney Horse and Carriage Tour

Horse Ride in Killarney National ParkSource: AlbertMi / shutterstock
Horse Ride in Killarney National Park

Unless you like sticking out like a sore thumb, it’s best to refer to the abundant horse and carriages around Killarney as jaunting cars.

They’re popular means of conveyance and are perfect for those who’d like to see the historic town in a unique and exhilarating way.

This one-hour tour includes an overview of the city’s layout, as well as history, culture, legends, and folklore that give first-time visitors a valuable crash course in all things Killarney.

Highlights include Ross Castle, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the impressive views of Lough Leane.

Guests may choose to tour Ross Castle, but the cost of admission isn’t included.

3. Ring of Kerry Lakes of Killarney Scenic Coach Tour

View over Lakes and Mountains in Ring of KerrySource: Tiramisu Studio / shutterstock
View over Lakes and Mountains in Ring of Kerry

From trained sheepdog demonstrations and bog villages to national parks and amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, this Ring of Kerry and Lakes of Killarney coach tour has nearly all the bases covered.

It’s a six-hour tour that departs from Killarney mid-morning, making it a good fit for late sleepers and those interested in getting maximum value for their scant vacation time.

The tour’s main attractions include Killarney National Park, Dingle Bay, and the majestic Iveragh Peninsula, to name just a few.

Depending on when you visit, you may also enjoy an annual event, like the Puck Fair held in August.

4. Multi-Day Dingle and Killarney National Park Walking Tour

Ross CastleSource: Adam Machowiak / shutterstock
Ross Castle

Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula is an alluring place characterized by rugged hills, weathered beaches, and sheer cliffs plunging into the sea below.

When the weather is cooperating, it’s possible to see the Blasket Islands from Slea Head—the westernmost point on the continent.

The area is rich in history and culture and is also one of the Irish language’s stalwart strongholds, making it a great place for unique experiences and more cultural immersion than is typically found on other tours.

Whereas most tours end after one day, this one keeps going for another few hours the following day, with visits to an area copper mine and Ross Castle.

5. Killarney Kayaking and Innisfallen Island Tour

Innisfallen AbbeySource: Isabelle OHara / shutterstock
Innisfallen Abbey

Adventurous and outdoorsy types need not settle for boring coach tours and the like when visiting Killarney.

The area is well-known for its rugged beauty, and tour providers offer a variety of exhilarating options, like this kayaking tour of Innisfallen Island.

If you’re wondering whether sea kayaking may be a bit much, you’ll be glad to learn that Innisfallen is a lake island, which means relatively calm waters, not to mention some of the area’s most impressive attractions.

Home to a 6th-century abbey founded by a leper, and boasting a variety of wildlife, this three-hour tour is truly a memorable one.

6. Jaunting Car Tour with Craft Brewery Visit

Killarney Brewing CompanySource: beoirphotos / Flickr | CC BY
Killarney Brewing Company

What could possibly be more Irish than touring the countryside in a jaunting car, visiting breweries, and imbibing some of the Emerald Isle’s most notable beers?

Not much, according to those who’ve taken advantage of this popular three-hour tour.

Tours start at the Great Southern Hotel and quickly leave the town in the rearview mirror as guests and their guide make their way to Killarney National Park, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and past the country’s highest mountains.

After the sightseeing is out of the way, it’ll be time to head to Killarney Brewery to sample a number of amazing craft brews before heading back into town.

7. Jaunting Car and Lake Cruise Combo Tour

St. Mary’s Cathedral in KillarneySource: v4venger / shutterstock
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney

Featuring copper mines dating back 4,000 years, a fantastic diversity of wildlife and natural attractions, and a monastery from the 6th century, there’s definitely no shortage of things to see and do in and around Killarney.

This two-hour jaunting car and lake cruise combo tour is a whirlwind excursion that’s surprisingly affordable, and it’s offered twice daily.

Whether you’re traveling by jaunting car or boat, you’ll benefit from your guide’s narration and learn about the history of the things you’re seeing.

Other highlights include herds of red deer, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ross Castle, and views of the island nation’s tallest mountains.

8. Ring of Kerry Mountain Road Full-Day Bus Tour from Killarney

Ring of Kerry Mountain RoadSource: Irina Fischer / shutterstock
Ring of Kerry Mountain Road

Featuring aspects of culture, history, geography, and tales of yore, this full-day bus tour gives interested visitors a chance to see, experience, and learn about many of the things that make the Iveragh Peninsula such an incredible place.

The Ring of Kerry Road is arguably Ireland’s most scenic byway, and much of it follows the shores of the River Laune, which winds its way toward the coast and eventually into the mountains.

Since it’s a full-day excursion, there will be plenty of time to stop at attractions, enjoy light refreshments, and snap a few photographs.

Tours include a guide and round-trip transportation from Killarney.

9. 2–Hour Kayaking and Ross Castle Tour

KayakingSource: watcher fox / shutterstock

Before setting out on this two-hour kayaking tour, you’ll get a wetsuit, buoyancy device, kayak, and paddle.

You’ll also get an overview of how to paddle and steer like a pro before heading off to Ross Island.

The first portion of the tour is the easiest, allowing participants to ease their way into the adventure before the big fun starts.

From the water, guests will see numerous islands, caves, Ireland’s oldest national park, stone bridges hundreds of years old, and the majestic peaks of McGillicuddy Reeks—the country’s highest mountains.

Tours include an experienced local guide and are offered multiple times daily.

10. 1-Hour Lakes of Killarney: Boat Cruise

Lough LeaneSource: Pusteflower9024 / shutterstock
Lough Leane

Though the scenery is pretty amazing from the shore, Killarney’s lakes are really best experienced by cruise.

Even for those who don’t have the stoutest of sea legs, this is an appropriate excursion because the lakes are generally calm and it only lasts about an hour.

Lough Leane is the largest lake in Killarney. From the comfort of an enclosed glass cabin, guests will be shielded from the elements while enjoying panoramic views of the area’s splendor.

It’s common to see a variety of animals and lots of awe-inspiring scenery, and the tour is available in English, French, and German.

11. Gap of Dunloe and Lakes of Killarney Boat Tour

Gap of DunloeSource: Stefano_Valeri / shutterstock
Gap of Dunloe

For those who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, overly structured tours can be a bit on the dull side.

Thankfully, this combo tour offers several options, so each guest can get the most out of their time without having to worry about everyone else.

Options include a jaunting car tour through Six Mile Pass, or for those brimming with energy, it’s possible to follow the same course on a guided hike.

There’s also an ever-popular boat tour that includes close up views of the national park and Ross Castle.

Tours depart from a central Killarney location.

12. Ring of Kerry Full-Day Tour from Killarney

KillorglinSource: LunaseeStudios / shutterstock

Departing from Killarney, this guided tour explores the Ring of Kerry, which is commonly regarded as one of Ireland’s richest cultural, historical, and natural areas.

It’s full of towering mountains, ancient stone forts, windswept shores, and stunning views of islands, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Tour mainstays include the Skellig Rocks, early Christian churches, and the quaint and historic village of Killorglin, most noted as home to one of the oldest festivals in the world.

Tours include a live, English-speaking guide and transportation from a central location.

Lunch will be available at extra cost.

13. Gap of Dunloe Guided Boat, Jaunting Car, and Bus Tour

Kate Kearney’s cottageSource: larrywkoester / Flickr | CC BY
Kate Kearney’s cottage

Including boats, jaunting cars, and buses, this Gap of Dunloe tour has all the transportation angles covered. At five hours long, it’s a great way to see the area’s abundant sights and attractions in a relatively short time.

The tour focuses on Killarney’s Lake District and includes iconic attractions like Kate Kearney’s cottage, the Gap of Dunloe, and Ross Castle.

Most attractions are just a short drive from downtown Killarney, which means less time wasted traveling and more time enjoying the things you came to see in the first place.

After lunch, it’ll be time to set out on a two-hour boat tour of Killarney’s lakes before returning to a central drop off location.

14. Carrauntoohil Guided Hike

CarrauntoohilSource: Timmy Keane / shutterstock

Much of Killarney’s ruggedly beautiful environment is easily explored on foot. For those new to the area, guided hiking tours may be the way to go.

The McGillycuddy Reeks Mountains are surprisingly close to downtown Killarney. On this eight ½-hour tour, fit visitors will spend nearly all their time hiking and experiencing Mother Nature.

It’s wise to dress in layers and wear rugged, waterproof shoes if you have them. After a three-hour hike to Carrauntoohil Cross, it’ll be time to relax with lunch and appreciate the amazing views.

It’s the highest point in Ireland, so take a few photographs before descending to the café at the bottom for drinks and camaraderie.

15. South Western Ireland: 4 Days from Galway to Kerry

GalwaySource: STLJB / shutterstock

Have four days to spare?

Want to see Ireland from stem to stern?

If so, then this four-day tour from Galway to Kerry may be just the thing to make your vacation dreams come true.

Though the tour doesn’t begin or end in Killarney, on day three, guests will explore the town as well as Slea Head and the Gaelic fishing village of Dingle just down the road.

Other tour highlights include Dublin, Connemara, and Galway, giving this excursion a decidedly well-rounded feel compared to most tours that are more limited in scope.

One night will be spent in Killarney, during which guests can take advantage of great music, drinks, and traditional singing and dancing.

15 Best Killarney Tours:

  • Full-Day Dingle and Slea Head Tour
  • 1-Hour Killarney Horse and Carriage Tour
  • Ring of Kerry Lakes of Killarney Scenic Coach Tour
  • Multi-Day Dingle and Killarney National Park Walking Tour
  • Killarney Kayaking and Innisfallen Island Tour
  • Jaunting Car Tour with Craft Brewery Visit
  • Jaunting Car and Lake Cruise Combo Tour
  • Ring of Kerry Mountain Road Full-Day Bus Tour from Killarney
  • 2–Hour Kayaking and Ross Castle Tour
  • 1-Hour Lakes of Killarney: Boat Cruise
  • Gap of Dunloe and Lakes of Killarney Boat Tour
  • Ring of Kerry Full-Day Tour from Killarney
  • Gap of Dunloe Guided Boat, Jaunting Car, and Bus Tour
  • Carrauntoohil Guided Hike
  • South Western Ireland: 4 Days from Galway to Kerry