Killarney is a magical place in the county of Kerry on the West coast of Ireland. It is a land of rolling hills, green pastures, postcard-worthy Instagram moments and some of the most untouched landscapes you could dream of.
With its wild beauty and stunning scenery, it is a playground for adventurers who come to Killarney to turn the landscape into their very own obstacle course.
Hiking is huge here and with the number of impressive summits, hikes and hills to explore there is no surprise why!
Here are our top five hikes around Killarney to check out when in the area.
5. The Blue Pool
This short and sweet hike in Killarney is perfect for those looking for a good ole’ leg stretch but don’t want to commit to an all-day adventure.
Only moments from key tourist hubs and transport connections, hikers will forget how close they are to civilisation in this outdoor oasis: The Blue Pool trails.
“The Blue Pool” is the collective name for the Cloghareen and Blue Pool Nature Trails, both of which are similar in intensity and atmosphere. The trails start quite close to the entrance of the Muckross Park Hotel making them super accessible.
Both trails are worthy of a walk (or run) in their own right and both overlap at a point as well. The pool itself makes for a perfect picnic spot on a balmy summers day and seeing as these trails are graded “easy” (2.5km distance) they are perfect for all the family.
Location: The Blue Pool, Muckross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
4. Torc Mountain
Torc Mountain and waterfall is one of the most popular and dynamic hikes to undertake in Killarney. Only a stone’s throw from town – 7 kilometres to be exact – this is a perfect trip to undertake, starting from Killarney centre.
There are two routes you can take to reach the summit of Torc Mountain. The route you choose can be based on the level of intensity and time allowance for your trip.
There are two starting points: one at the bottom of the mountain, not far from the base of the waterfall; the other start-point is from the “upper carpark” which gives hikers a head-start on the ascent.
If starting from the upper carpark (the most popular choice) the route is about 8 kilometres in distance with a “moderate” intensity grade.
The hike does have areas of steep inclines and is advised to those of moderate fitness levels. The route can be appropriate for families with older kids in good weather conditions.
Location: Torc Mountain, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
3. Gap of Dunloe
This is one of the most cherished hikes in and around Killarney. It is seen as the ultimate Kerry experience to many as it winds its way through the wilderness, across the Gap of Dunloe (an ice age carved valley) through to Killarney National Park, past the three lakes.
Only 12 kilometres from the town of Killarney, this hike is the perfect addition to a town stay. There are tonnes of tours you can do, too, and you can even opt to begin your journey via horseback, by horse-drawn cart, on a bicycle, as well as on foot.
The Gap of Dunloe spans about 11 kilometres and can take up to five hours in duration. The level of intensity is “strenuous” and should be tackled by fit and experienced hikers only.
Location: Gap of Dunloe, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
2. MacGillycuddy’s Reeks
The McGillycuddy Reeks is Ireland’s highest mountain range. With a total of 11 peaks, hikers will be in their element with the choice on offer. Seeing as these trails are as varied as they are dynamic, we’ve decided to include the lot!
Should you decide to don your adventurer’s hat and take them all on in one go, you’ll never look back. The total hike is 18 kilometres in distance and classified as “very difficult”. It would take an extremely experienced hiker 10 hours to complete.
The route starts by tackling Caher West (970m) and winds itself through the remaining summits, ending at the Gap of Dunloe.
Location: The McGillycuddy Reeks, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
1. The Kerry Way
If you are an extreme adventurer, this one is for you! The Kerry Way is a long-distance endurance hike which stretches across the landscape reaching a total of 214 kilometres in distance.
This mega-hike is most certainly not for the faint-hearted and should be taken with serious consideration before undertaking.
The usual break-up of this journey is in nine stages, over nine consecutive days, although it is advisable to consider some rest days in between – even if it’s just to stop and appreciate the landscape!
Location: The Kerry Way, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland