New Year, new you. You’ve overdone it at Christmas, and now you’re wondering what you can do to shift those pounds and become a fitter, leaner 2013 model of yourself. Well, walking is one of the easiest, safest, and cheapest exercises to take up, and Killarney is one of the best places to start.
Killarney National Park covers 26,000 acres of woodland, mountains, lakes, and car-free paths and trails – making it the ideal place to get your fitness plans up and running. With a walk for almost every day of the year, you’ve no excuse not to get out in the fresh air, either on the flat parkland trails around the stunning lakes, through ancient oak forests, or along old coach roads and bridle paths higher up. The more adventurous can tackle peaks topping 3,000 feet in the MacGillicuddy Reeks, with experienced (and insured) guides available for the more challenging routes. Indeed, many of Killarney’s accommodation providers specialise in looking after outdoor enthusiasts. You may even get to spot one of the majestic white-tailed eagles that have been released into the wild in Killarney.
Invest in a pair of strong walking shoes, and if you are tackling any of the remoter and more challenging hikes, remember to wear warm, waterproof clothing and bring a compass, map, food, and water.
Whichever route you choose, remember the countryside is for everyone, so Leave No Trace.
All of the shorter walks can be completed either from the town of Killarney or from Muckross House.
- Knockreer Gardens (next to the Cathedral)
- Cherry Drive, demesne, and river Walk (in Knockreer Gardens)
- Muckross Gardens, starting at Muckross House
- Boathouse Nature Trail, starting at Muckross House
- Mossy Woods Nature Trail, starting at Muckross House
Moderate Walks (about 2 hrs)
These walks start either in Killarney town or in Muckross.
- Killarney to Ross Castle (via Knockreer Gardens).
- Copper mining trail on Ross Island (at Ross Castle).
- Arthur Young Nature Trail, starting at Muckross House.
- Blue Pool Nature Trail, starting near Muckross Park Hotel
- Muckross Gardens, starting at jaunting car entrance
- The Fossa Way, start from Knockreer Gardens
Medium/Difficult Walks & Mountain Hikes (half to full day)
All outside Killarney town
- Mangerton mountain hike
- Torc waterfall & mountain hike
- Old Kenmare/Killarney Road
- Tomies/Shehy/Purple mountain hike (challenging hike to 3000ft+ peaks)
- Tomies & O’Sullivan’s Cascade forest walk
- Muckross & Dinis Island
- Mangerton Forest Walks
- Killarney – Gap of Dunloe – Derrycunnihy – return.
- McGillicuddy Reeks including Corran Tuathail (challenging hike/climb to 3300ft+ peaks)
Aoife O’Carroll is a staff writer for Go Ireland, a convenient website for booking accommodation anywhere in Ireland , including Killarney hotels.
Killarney National Park, Torc Mountain View Killarney, The White Crests of Killarney