What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Killarney House and Gardens

What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Killarney House and Gardens

Killarney House is significant to Killarney and Ireland as it’s a historic mansion that has played a prominent role in the town’s history and cultural heritage.

It’s also a symbol of Ireland’s architectural and natural beauty, attracting tourists from all over the world.

In this guide, we’ll explore the fascinating history, stunning landscapes, and captivating attractions of Killarney House and Gardens.

Brief History of Killarney House

Brief History of Killarney House
Image by Castlerosse – Own work, Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons

Killarney House, built in the 18th century by the Earls of Kenmare, has a rich history. It welcomed many notable guests, such as Queen Victoria and her entourage during her 1861 visit to Ireland.

In 1957, the estate was sold to an American syndicate and later acquired by John McShain in 1959. After Mary McShain’s death in 1998, it became state-owned.

Years have passed, and Killarney House and Gardens deteriorated. They closed to the public in 2014 for extensive reconstruction but reopened in 2016 and regained popularity with locals and visitors.

Today, the National Parks & Wildlife Services have been restoring the gardens based on original plans. Plans for Killarney House include a visitor center, room restoration, and historical exhibits.

Visitors Information

Address: Killarney House & Gardens, Killarney National Park, Muckross Road, Killarney, V93 HE3C
GPS: 52.056831, -9.508254
Phone: +353 1 539 3620
Email: [email protected]
Admission Fee: Free


You can walk in Killarney National Park any time of the day, all year round, except for the gardens at Killarney House. The gardens are open every day, but the opening hours change.

  • The house is open from 9:15 AM to 5:15 PM, but it closes for lunch from 1 PM to 2 PM. You can see the exhibition until 5 PM.
  • The gardens are open from 8 AM to 5:30 PM, but they may close earlier or later depending on the season.


Killarney House and Gardens can be found within Killarney National Park, situated on the outskirts of Killarney town. There’s no place to park your car at the house, but you can use other car parks close by.

How to Get There

  • Killarney House is very close to Killarney town centre.
  • You can enter Killarney House at the ‘Golden Gates’ from a small roundabout where Muckross Road, Countess Road and Kenmare Place meet. The Methodist Church is near the Golden Gates entrance.
  • The second option is to enter from Mission Road next to the monument for Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.
  • Another way to enter is from a gateway in the Knockreer area of Killarney National Park.
  • All three entrances are only for people walking and they’re closed at night.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Killarney House & Gardens in County Kerry, Ireland, largely depends on your preferences for weather and the type of experience you’re seeking. Here are some considerations for different times of the year:


(March to May)

• Beautiful blooms

• Mild temperatures

• Gardens come alive

• Warmer weather

• Flowers in full bloom

• Occasional rain

(June to August)

• Vibrant gardens

• Variety of flowers in bloom

• Pleasant weather

• Longer daylight hours

• Peak season

• Crowded


(September to November)

• Cooler weather

• Changing foliage adds charm

• Some colorful flowers early in the season

• Fewer colorful flowers in late autumn

(December to February)

• Quiet and peaceful

• Serene beauty

• Cold and wet weather

• Few flowers in bloom

• Least popular season for tourists

To make the most of your visit, consider checking the official website or contact Killarney House & Gardens for event info, and be prepared for rain with waterproof clothing and comfortable shoes due to Ireland’s unpredictable weather.

Things to See and Expect in the Place

The Historic Killarney House

The Historic Killarney House
Image by Prashant Shah from Google Photos

The main attraction at Killarney House & Gardens is the beautiful mansion itself. The house contains a visitor centre, where you can learn about the history and culture of Killarney National Park.

You can also join a free guided tour of the house every 30 minutes from April to September.


Image by Nik Hall from Google Photos

The extensive gardens surrounding the house are meticulously maintained and offer a peaceful and scenic setting. Expect to see manicured lawns, colorful flower beds, and a variety of trees and shrubs.

Additionally, you can explore the remains of the original mansion, which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1913.

Cherry Walk and the Mixed Border

Cherry Walk and the Mixed Border
Image by Killarney Today

Killarney House & Gardens offers a delightful experience with its enchanting Cherry Walk. It’s a cherry blossom-lined avenue that leads from the Golden Gates entrance to the Knockreer area of the National Park.

The Cherry Walk at Killarney House & Gardens is a serene and captivating spot, where the delicate fragrance of the blossoms fills the air and delights the senses.

Alongside the Cherry Tree Walk, a modern mixed border has been added, designed for sustainability and biodiversity. It features a combination of low-maintenance perennials and grasses.

Long Terrace Walk

Long Terrace Walk
Image by Guide Eile

The recreation of the southern section of the Long Terrace Walk was a significant restoration effort.

This broad walk, raised above the grass by stone slabs, pays homage to a more refined era when ladies in wide skirts strolled the gardens. It offers stunning views of the mountains and follows the principles of axial symmetry.

Formal Gardens

Formal Gardens
Image from National Parks

The formal gardens of Killarney House feature a graceful Patte d’Oie (“goose foot”) design, reflecting historical fashion. The color schemes will mirror Victorian tastes, overseen by Lady Gertrude.

“Wilderness” Area

Wilderness Area
Image from Wallpaper Flare

The garden’s “Wilderness” area, although designed, retains a wild aspect reminiscent of how the Kenmare family might have seen it in the 18th century. Straight lines of chestnut trees, beech, and oak guide the eye toward scenic views.


Image byJason Newby from Google Photos

Killarney House & Gardens is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and small mammals. Keep an eye out for these creatures as you explore the grounds.

Events and activities

Events and activities
Image by Marcon Heritage

Throughout the year, Killarney House & Gardens hosts various events and activities, such as garden tours, art exhibitions, and live music performances. Check the schedule to see if there are any special events happening during your visit.

Other Attractions at Killarney National Park

Other Attractions at Killarney National Park
Image by Muckross House

Aside from Killarney House and Gardens, there are nearby attractions within the park, such as Ross Castle, Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, and Muckross Traditional Farms.

Where to Eat Nearby

The Tan Yard

Website: https://thetanyardkillarney.ie/ 
Address: The Tan Yard, Kenmare Place, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0)64 6621177
Email: [email protected] 
Operating Hours: Open daily – 9:30 AM to 5 PM

If you’re looking for authentic Irish cuisine near Killarney House, which is just a short 0.2-mile stroll away, you should visit The Tan Yard. 

The prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity of the food. The ambiance is cozy and charming, and the decor is lovely.

You’ll be delighted by their scrumptious scallops, lamb, and ribeye, paired with their exquisite wine. Don’t forget to try their coffee, which is a great way to start your meal. You can also enjoy their food delivery service, which is fast and convenient.

Cafe Du Parc

Website: https://cafeduparckillarney.ie/ 
Address: Cafe Du Parc, Kenmare Place, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: 064 66 21100
Email: [email protected] 
Operating Hours: Open daily – 9 AM until late

Cafe Du Parc comes highly recommended for its menu which features deliciously prepared chicken wings, avocado toast, and bacon.

You shouldn’t miss out on their mouthwatering French toasts, waffles, and scones. Additionally, your meal should be paired with a glass of fine wine or indulge in their refreshing cold coffee.

The cafe is easy to get to, no matter how you travel. It’s only a short 4-minute walk from Killarney House, so you can eat there before or after you visit.

Hannigans Bar, Restaurant & Terrace

Website: https://hannigans.tablepath.com/book-a-table 
Address: Hannigans Bar, Restaurant & Terrace, Kenmare Place, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 PXK3, Ireland
Phone: 064 66 21100
Email: [email protected] 
Operating Hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 10 AM to 9 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 10 AM to 9:30 PM

Hannigan’s is a cozy bar and restaurant located in Killarney. Here, one can experience the warm local hospitality and culture.

Delicious dishes made from fresh, local ingredients include roast, fish, steak, chicken, pasta, lamb, burgers, as well as tempting desserts like cheesecake, apple tart, and chocolate cake.

Adding to the enjoyment at Hannigan’s is the live Irish music, available every night during the season and on weekends. 

The Mad Monk

The Mad Monk
Image by Kerry Fish

Website: https://www.kerryfish.com/seafoodbar/the-mad-monk/ 
Address: 21-22 Plunkett St, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93 Y796, Ireland
Phone: +353 64 662 3597
Email: [email protected] 
Operating Hours: Open Daily – 1 PM to 10 PM

For seafood lovers, The Mad Monk by Quinlans is a must-visit restaurant in Killarney. It has a cozy and elegant interior, with reasonable prices and friendly service. 

On the menu, there are various options like shrimp, sole, and crab claws, all prepared with fresh ingredients and tasty sauces. If you’re a meat lover, you can also savor their juicy steaks.

The bar has a lively bar that offers wines and cocktails to suit your taste, as well as live music and attentive servers to enhance your experience. You can also opt for outdoor seating and enjoy the view of the vibrant street.

O’Donoghue Public House

Website: https://odonoghuekillarney.com/ 
Address: Port Road, Inch, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Email: [email protected]
Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 10:30 AM to 12:30 AM
  • Sunday – 10:30 AM to 11 PM

O’Donoghue Public House is a classic Irish pub in Killarney. The pub has a warm and friendly atmosphere with live music, cozy seating areas, and a fireplace.

Some of their best dishes include steak pie, Guinness brown bread, and Irish coffee. O’Donoghue Public House is a great spot to enjoy a pint of Guinness, a delicious meal, and have a friendly chat.

One of the highlights of O’Donoghue Public House is its live music, which fills the air every night. Featuring talented local bands and singers, the pub offers a delightful experience for music lovers.

Deenagh Lodge

Deenagh Lodge
Image by Deenagh Lodge Tea Room

Website: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063522284099 
Address: Port Road, Inch, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Phone: +353 87 998 3044
Email: [email protected] 

Deenagh Lodge is a nice and cute cottage at the park entrance, by the river Deenagh. It was built with reed that made it warm or cool, and it has a lovely roof and chimneys.

Now it’s a lovely tea room run by Downs Syndrome Ireland. They help people with Down Syndrome learn and work in the hospitality industry. You can also enjoy Irish music, song, and dance outside the lodge all year round.

Where to Stay Nearby

Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa

Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa
Image by Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa from Tripadvisor

Website: https://www.killarneyplaza.com/
Address: Killarney Town Centre, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0)64 66 21111
Email: [email protected]

The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa is centrally located in Killarney Town, overlooking Killarney National Park. It’s part of the O’Donoghue Ring Collection and offers a luxurious stay at a 4-star hotel.

It’s an ideal place for a staycation with family or a relaxing break. There are plenty of local adventures and experiences to choose from, including guided hikes, golf, and kayaking.

The hotel’s spa offers a range of treatments and features a hydrotherapy pool. The guestrooms are stylish and spacious, and the hotel has signature bars and restaurants known for their great food and cocktails.

The Ross

The Ross
Image by Ross Hotel

Website: https://www.theross.ie/ 
Address: Killarney Town Centre, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 64 663 1855
Email: [email protected] 

The Ross is a 4-star Deluxe boutique hotel that has a chic and artistic atmosphere, offering luxury and comfort in scenic southwest Ireland.

Deluxe rooms cater to diverse needs, equipped with flat-screen TVs, safes, hairdryers, and more. Suites provide added luxury with king-size beds and fireplaces.

The hotel has three key spots: The Lane bar, Pink Lounge Gin and Champagne Bar, and The Cellar restaurant. The Cellar, known for its unique design, offers tasty breakfasts and a variety of menus that mix local and international flavors.

International Hotel Killarney

International Hotel Killarney
Image by International Hotel Killarney from Trip.com

Website: https://www.theross.ie/ 
Address: Kenmare Place, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0) 64-6631816
Email: [email protected] 

The International Hotel in Killarney is centrally located, right across from the Jaunting cars and at the entrance to Killarney National Park. This hotel is perfect for golf enthusiasts, as it’s close to top courses like Tralee, Killeen Course, and Waterville. 

With 100 luxurious guest rooms, it provides modern amenities like coffee facilities, room safes, and ironing stations. You can select between Superior and Executive rooms, featuring air conditioning, Jacuzzi baths, and added comforts.

The hotel boasts several onsite restaurants, all dedicated to serving delicious food made with the finest local, seasonal ingredients. Hannigans Bar, with its real fires and excellent Guinness, is a standout.

Killarney Avenue Hotel

Killarney Avenue Hotel
Image by Killarney Avenue Hotel

Website: https://www.killarneyavenue.com/ 
Address: Kenmare Place, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0)64 6632522
Email: [email protected] 

The Killarney Avenue Hotel is a 4-star hotel located near the Golden Gate entrance to Killarney National Park.

The Killarney Avenue Hotel has a cozy Irish bar called The Kenmare Rooms, where you can enjoy live music, snacks, and drinks on weekends. It also has a charming restaurant called Druids, where you can taste local cuisine for special occasions.

Guestrooms are spacious and well-designed for comfort. Guests also have access to the swimming pool and gym at the Killarney Towers Hotel or can enjoy spa services at the Killarney Plaza Hotel.

Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre

Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre
Image by Killarney Tower Hotel from Tripadvisor

Website: http://www.killarneytowers.com/ 
Address: College Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0)64 6631038
Email: [email protected] 

The 4-star Killarney Towers Hotel & Leisure Centre is ideally located for exploring the town and the Wild Atlantic Way. 

The guestrooms are spacious and comfortable, and guests have access to a pool and gym. For relaxation, you can visit the spa at their sister hotel, The Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa.

Explore Killarney’s attractions, such as Killarney House & Gardens, Ross Castle, and the cathedral, all just steps away. You can dine in local eateries or enjoy the hotel’s Scruffy’s Bar and Innisfallen Restaurant.

Killarney Park Hotel

Killarney Park Hotel
Image by Killarney Park Hotel

Website: https://www.killarneyparkhotel.ie/ 
Address: Killarney Town Centre, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 64 66 35555
Email: [email protected] 

The Killarney Park Hotel is a renowned 5-star hotel in Killarney Town. This family-owned hotel offers 69 rooms and suites with stunning views and 5-star amenities. The on-site spa has eight private treatment suites for ultimate relaxation.

Dining options include afternoon tea, a bistro-style menu, and The Park Restaurant for special occasions. Private dining and event services are available, with complimentary WiFi.

The hotel is also an ideal wedding venue. In Killarney, you can enjoy golf, Killarney National Park, fishing, hiking, horse riding, and more, along with galleries, shops, and lively pubs in the town.

Dromhall Hotel

Dromhall Hotel
Image by Dromhall Hotel

Website: https://www.dromhall.com/ 
Address: Muckross Rd, Dromhale, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Phone: +353 (0)64 663 9300
Email: [email protected] 

Dromhall Hotel, a 4-star gem in County Kerry, is a short walk from Killarney Town center. It offers 72 spacious rooms, a top-notch bar and restaurant, and a venue for events and weddings.

The hotel has comfortable rooms with phones, TVs, WiFi, and coffee makers, and some of them have great views of Killarney’s famous mountains. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends with you.

At Dromhall Hotel, you get free access to Club Santé Leisure, with a pool, steam room, sauna, and luxury treatments at Zen Day Spa using organic Aurora products.