The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa is ideally located within the heart of Killarney Town, but has the dual advantage of being situated right on the doorstep of the ' Killarney National Park'. The National Park is a haven for any walking enthuasist, whether one is interested in a short walk around the immediate vicinity of the hotel or to venture deeper into the woodland & mountain are, the Killarney National Park has something to offer everyone. The following are some local walks that we are pleased to recommend.
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Arthur Young Nature Trail
Distance: 7.5 kms long
(2.5 hours walking, also shorter version 1.5 hours, 4.5 kms).
Begins and ends near Muckross House. One of the most extensive natural Yew Woods in Europe (great varied carpet of mosses and liverworts underneath), oak, fern, lichens, arbutus, sika deer, holly, old copper mines. Along Muckross Peninsula between Lough Leane and Muckross Lake. Fine views of surrounding lakes and mountains.
Blue Pool Nature Trail
Distance: 1 hr/2 kms.
Take the N71 from Killarney for 4 kms. Left on southern side of Muckross Park Hotel/Molly Darcys. Entrance on left after 200 metres. Large variety of conifer and deciduous woods, round horse-shoe shaped lake, greeny-blue colour from copper deposits.
Cloghereen Nature Trail
- Part of the Blue Pool Trail.
The first nature trail in Ireland for the visually impaired. The trail is marked with a guide rope and a recorded commentary and cassette player can be hired at the Killarney National Park Visitor Centre and at Muckross House - emphasis on touch, sound and scent.
Dundag, 300m from Muckross House.
Less than 1 km. Comfortable 45-minute walk. 19th C. wet and dry stone boathouse, oak, yew, arbutus (Killarney strawberry tree), bog myrtle (by the lake), great headland panorama of Middle Lake, Devil's Island, Torc Mountain.
The Killarney Pilgrimage Route from Baptism to Death
From St. Mary's Cathedral, via Knockreer Gardens, along footpath, taking in great panoramas of town, lake and mountains. Follow Fossa Way signposts through gate on right. Just short of main road take a left through mixed woodland to Fossa. Alternatively cross the main road. Up by-road directly on other side of main road - this is Boithirín na Marbh (the road of dead) an old funeral road from Innisfallen and Killarney town to Aghadoe - great panorama, remains of 6th century monastery, graveyard.
Gap of Dunloe
A full day's walk right through the Gap to the Black Valley. At T-junction go left. By Black Valley church. Next junction again left to Lord Brandon's Cottage, (snack facilities). Retrace steps or follow Queen's Cottage/Upper Lake route to N71. Caution: if you left from Kate Kearneys Cottage you've covered 14 kms and it is a further 12 kms to Killarney Town. What is most satisfactory is to be collected at, or leave a car on the N71 entrance to the Queens Cottage, Upper Lake walk. To Killarney.
West of Killarney on R562. After 5 kms left or south on unmarked road. Over River Laune. Left in front of Dunloe Castle Hotel. Straight through next junction. Cross the bridge over the Gaddagh River and turn immediately left. At sign on mountain dangers go left up dirt road to high point. Walk through gateway in stone fence. Turn left immediately and follow path built as a relief scheme in the 19th C. Very wild rugged scenery along by the Gaddagh River with the MacGillycuddy Reeks all round. Path goes into the Hag's Glen with Loch Callee on the left and Loch Gouragh on the right. But be warned - to proceed this far requires crossing the river at one point on the road. The river rises extremely fast - if it is wet, or is threatening to rain, do not cross. Retrace steps. About three hours.
Killarney House Gardens
A quiet place in the centre of town. Mature 5-acre garden, cherry drive. Staying within the car-free National Park you can walk to Knockreer Gardens and Ross Island.
Entrance at corner opposite the Cathedral. Route signposted. Up gradual hill on right. Five minutes to gardens. Especially attractive from mid-Spring with flowering camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, cherries. Retrace route to garden entrance at top of hill. Go left and continue along the road. Shortly, great panorama of lake and mountain. After crossing the cattle grid (in fence) take footpath immediately right to great panoramas. At junction, at bottom of hill, road straight ahead to Killarney Golf Course or go left and follow circular route that leads back to the Cathedral entrance. Alternatively take first right dirt track. After crossing the Deenagh River turn left to walk along the southern shore of the Deenagh back to the Cathedral or go straight ahead through extensive swamp woodland to Ross Castle. Detour along track to Teahouse Point and Reen Point.
Mangerton/Torc Conifer Woods
Starting points - Queen's Drive carpark or Mangerton Scenic Lay Bye. Conifer woodland on the lower stretches of Mangerton and Torc Mountains. Dramatic panoramas of woodland, mountains and lake. The steep track to the Devil's Bit is well rewarded. As well as a huge panorama of wood, mountain and lake, to the east the wild vastness of bare, boggy Mangerton. To the southwest the great valley between Torc and Mangerton mountains. At a lower level 100m along a fire break to a woodland/mountain/lake panorama. Among the most accessible, dramatic lake panoramas in Killarney are from the trail along the north face of Torc - directly over Muckross Lake, Lough Leane, Upper Lake in the background, Purple and Tomies Mountains to the west/left.
Muckross and Dinis
Ten-mile circuit (walk, cycle or jaunting car).
Begin from the first entrance to National Park, three kms south of Killarney on N71, or from Muckross House & Gardens - access from second entrance 6 kms from town on N71.
From the first entrance - advise walking on footpath/track along lakeshore - along the southern shore of Lough Leane by Muckross Abbey. After Abbey follow Lover's Walk - footpath only - along lake shore. At V junction go right onto Muckross Peninsula. From Muckross House Road directly in front (north). At end of 200m straight road, bear left to Muckross peninsula. After 1 km 'Arthur Young Trail' on right. Through the most extensive natural yew woods in Europe extending over 25 hectares. Great carpets of mosses. Middle Lake, Colleen Bawn Rock (sandy beach). Disused copper mines. Yew, arbutus, holly and oak woods. Views over both lakes.
Brickeen Bridge - Middle Lake flows into Lower Lake here. By back channel which runs directly from the Upper Lake into Lower Lake. Dinis Cottage - three lakes meet here. East/left along N71 for one mile to Torc Waterfall on right - particularly good during or after extended heavy rain. Re-enter National Park opposite the entrance to Torc. To Muckross House, or back to first entrance.
Queen's Cottage/Upper Lake
Take the N71 south for 14 kms. Rough unsurfaced road on right (immediately before bad bend). Park by main road. Road through rhododendrons. Immediately beyond footbridge over Galweys River look back along river from high ground to Derrycunnihy Cascade. Queen's Cottage was on this site. [Path to cascade along northern side of river]. Follow path in front of ruined cottage.
Through oak and holly wood - one of the three most extensive areas of natural oakwood in Ireland. Path continues on open marshy mountainside. High points have fine views over the Upper Lake with mountainous backdrop. Along the southern shore of Upper Lake - wellingtons or strong footwear recommended here. To Lord Brandon's Cottage - snack facilities. Retrace steps or follow route through the Gap of Dunloe or to Moll's Gap.
Begin at Ross Castle, walk or cycle. Deciduous woodland, flat, ever changing lake and mountain vistas. Ross Cottage ruins - look through slit - sycamore tree growing on top of wall. To the copper mines - oldest copper mines in North Western Europe. Governor's Rock - headland at Ross Island (great lake/mountain panorama) - native flora very profuse including alder, arbutus, ash, beech, blackthorn, bog myrtle, bramble, broom, buckthorn, burnet rose, common birch, crab apple, dog rose, field rose, fraughan, gorse, guelder, hawthorn, hazel, holly, honeysuckle, Irish spurge, ivy, ling, heather, mountain ash, oak, silver birch, spindle, whitebeam, willow. To Library Point - extensive covering of white flowered wild garlic in spring - unusual shoreline rock formation resembling stacked books - panorama over Lough Leane, O'Donoghue's Prison, Mouse Island to Innisfallen Island and Monastery. Return to Castle.
197 km (122.3 m) low level walk on old roads and tracks around the rugged and scenically spectacular Beara Peninsula. Great sea panoramas particularly rugged at the western end.
Route: Glengarriff to Adrigole (16.1 Km), Adrigole to Castletownbere (21.7 Km) and onwards to Allihies (13.6 Km), Allihies to Dursey (14.4 Km), Dursey Island (11.2 Km); Allihies to Eyeries (11.2 Km) and onwards to Ardgroom (12.8 Km); Ardgroom to Inchiquin Lake (22.5 Km), Inchiquin Lake to Kenmare (14.4 Km); Kenmare to Glengarriff (24 Km).
Takes about six hours.
Follow the same route (as outlined in Hag's Glen walk) to the end of the Hag's Glen. Climb the rock-strewn Devil's Ladder straight ahead. Be very careful not to upset the loose rock and hit somebody behind you - or that somebody in front doesn't hit you. At the top of the ladder (Christ's Saddle) turn right and follow the cairns or bundles of stones to the cross on top of Ireland's highest mountain (1,039m). Danger - extremely easy to lose direction at top. If you lose your way do not move until the bad weather has cleared.
150 km low-level walk around the Dingle Peninsula. Route: Tralee - Camp (17.5kms); Camp - Annascaul (17kms); Annascaul - Dingle (19kms); Dingle - Dunquin (22kms); Dunquin-Bothar (28kms); Bothar - Cloghane (21kms); Cloghane - Castlegregory (29kms); Castlegregory - Tralee (25kms). (Mainly paths and unsurfaced roads, superb scenery, historical and archaeological sites.)
(The Dingle Way Companion by Tony O'Callaghan; Dingle Way Guide Map, Cork/Kerry Tourism), detailed information and advice, contact Killarney Tourist Office.
200 km low-level walk around the 'Iveragh Peninsula'.
Begins in Killarney National Park. Nine stages: Killarney to Black Valley (22 kms), Black Valley to Glencar (20 kms), Glencar to Glenbeigh (13 kms), Glenbeigh to Caherciveen (28 kms), Caherciveen to Waterville (30 kms), Waterville to Caherdaniel (28 kms), Caherdaniel to Sneem (19 kms), Sneem to Kenmare (30 kms), Kenmare to Killarney (25 kms).
Mainly paths and unsurfaced roads, superb scenery, historical and archaelogical sites. For necessary map (Kerry Way Guide Map, Cork-Kerry Tourism), detailed information and advice, contact Killarney Tourist Office.
Takes about 3.5 hours.
Take N71 south of Killarney for 5 kms. Turn left on the unmarked Mangerton Road immediately beyond (south side of) Muckross Park Hotel. After 1.6 kms take sharp turn right (Mangerton car park signposted) - 1.5 kms to cul-de-sac sign. Park here. Cross over stream on cement slab. Follow track along western side of the Finoulagh River gully. Through gate in stone fence. After a few hundred metres, cross stream to the left-hand or eastern side - continue to follow the stream gully. Remember the name of the mountain is Mangerton - in Irish An Mhangarta, meaning 'deceiver' - so don't head for the first peak. Path leads around to the right of this and up to the Devil's Punchbowl. Cross over stream outlet (known as Bachelor's Well). Follow the path up to the left - with the Punchbowl on your left - to the top of the mountain. Long views over the Killarney lakes, also Lough Guitane, Kenmare Bay and Dingle Bay. Continue past the highest point (The top of Mangerton is plateau-like, covered in two square miles of blanket bog which varies little in height). Descend along centre ridge, with Punchbowl on left and Horses' Glen on right - picking your steps carefully on the steep descent - back to the point where you first saw the Punchbowl. Come down the same path.
Torc - follow the N71 south of Killarney for 7 kms (approx). Unmarked surfaced forest road on the left at bend on N71, a few hundred yards after the car entrance to Muckross House and Gardens. This is Queen's Drive - a route developed for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Drive to a large car park. Walk straight ahead (on the road that goes by the carpark). Cross the Owengarriff River. Left at the T-junction. Shortly out on open mountain. After a few hundred meters look out for pathway onto mountain on the right. Follow the pathway to the top of Torc. Very dramatic views over Killarney lakes. Return by the same route.
Purple, Tomies & Shehy Mountain Ridge
Takes about five hours.
Two cars needed. Leave one car as on O'Sullivan's Cascade walk. Drive second car to the head (highest point) of the Gap of Dunloe. Leave second car here. Leave road and head north-east to the peak of Purple Mountain - by Glas Lough. From the scree-topped peak of Purple dramatic view over Gap of Dunloe, MacGillycuddy Reeks (west), Upper Lake and Kenmare Bay (south) and Dingle Bay (north-west). North-east along ridge to Tomies South. From this point great panorama of Lower Lake. Then ridge north to Tomies. Retrace route to Tomies South then ridge east to Shehy Mór and then to Shehy - on eastern slope aerial view over Upper, Middle and Lower Lakes. Below you is one of the three most extensive areas of natural oakwood in Ireland. Holly is the understorey, great carpets of bluebells, primroses, orchids, and other Hiberno-Lusitanian plants. Come off lower peak north-west - take a careful zig-zag course. On low ground go north to woodland - join forest road.
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