Killarney may well be the most tourist-ed area of Ireland- and for good reason. Since before Queen Victoria visited in 1861 people have visited Killarney to tour its famous lakes, begin a tour of the Ring of Kerry, or to walk through the Gap of Dunloe.
In Killarney you'll find vast quantities of shops, restaurants and lodging- almost too many. If your stay includes Killarney I have a few handy tips to make planning a bit easier.
Take a Jaunting Cart Ride
Yes, it's a touristy thing to do. But you are a tourist. And it's a great introduction to Killarney. Your driver is full of information about Killarney and the surrounding area and is a wonderful resource so be sure to ask any questions you might have- like his favorite restaurant or an often overlooked attraction. My visit with my family was my second to Killarney – their first- and, as luck would have it, our jaunting cart driver, Martin, had taken me for my first jaunting cart ride in 2003.
There is no lack of dining in Killarney. You can find anything and everything here. Just remember that dining out is expensive… And dining at one of the nicer restaurants is even more so. Especially in a town that thrives on tourism.
One of the first things Brenna saw as we entered Killarney was a McDonalds. Yep, McDonalds. There is also a Burger King. And, yes, we had Happy Meals one night. Sometimes a taste of home is just what the kids need- though the food does taste different here!
Another evening we ate at Allegro on Plunkett Street. It’s a sit-down fast food type restaurant that serves fish and chips, pizza, burgers and fried chicken. A bit of something for everyone. It was inexpensive and, if you want, they can deliver to some areas.
One place you will definitely eat in Ireland is a pub. Killarney has a plethora of pubs. On College Street you will find Murphy’s of Killarney. Consisting of Murphy’s Bar, Lord Kenmare’s Restaurant, Squire’s Bar and Murphy’s Accommodatins you have a few choices. We had a pleasant dinner in Squire’s Bar our final night in Killarney. They had a very nice children’s menu (the girls split a plate of pasta and also munched on our dinners of Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Stew and Fish & Chips). It’s a great place to relax, enjoy the atmosphere and a Bulmer’s. Our final night in Killareny Doug & I left the girls with my mom at the B&B and ended up in Murphy's Bar, hoisting a pint, watching a football (soccer) game and sharing craic with locals who had gathered.
Enjoy the Hospitality of a B&B
Killarney is teeming with lodging options. Luxury hotels to bed and breakfast with the comforts of home can make it difficult to decide where to lay your head. We chose Mystical Rose Bed & Breakfast.
Mystical Rose is Frommer’s recommended and Noreen has received Irish Welcome Certificates of Merit from Falite Ireland (by nomination submitted by happy travelers).
Noreen is the friendliest hostess I have ever encountered. She went above and beyond to make our daughters comfortable and help us with anything we needed during our stay. Noreen knows everyone in Killarney (it seems) and can steer you in the right direction for any need you may have.
Mystical Rose has six rooms, all ensuite and quite cozy, with televisions, hair dryers and a desk/dressing table. Noreen will provide a cot upon request, or put your rooms side by side, if possible.
Noreen serves an generous Irish breakfast in the mornings accompanied by toast and brown bread, coffee or tea and orange juice. She made wonderful pancakes (thin like a crepe) for the girls that were melt-in-your-mouth delish.
Noreen is full of wonderful stories about Killarney and can set you up on any tour you would like to take (like I said, she knows practically everyone) and give you great advice on what to see. She’s also great with kids. Our first morning Brenna had finished her breakfast long before the rest of us. Noreen had just been telling Brenna about her horse and Brenna, loving horses, wanted to see it. So Noreen took her along to feed the horse. She went out of her way and made a little girl’s day. (Brenna still talks about the horses.) Child care is also provided at Mystical Rose- for an additional charge.
Mystical Rose Country Home is within walking distance of Killarney’s tourist center- about a 15-20 minute walk- a nice stroll that will save you the hassle of finding a parking spot during busy tourist seasons.
Have Your Laundry Done
One way we keep our packing light is by packing clothes for half of our stay and having them done in the middle of our travels. It is very handy to do this in Killarney; Noreen had us go to Gleeson Laundrette on Brewery Lane. It’s a tiny bit of a “street” (more like an alley, really) just across from where the jaunting carts line up on Kenmare Place and around the corner from Lir Cafe and Chocolates. If you don’t know it’s there you’ll miss it…
I was able to drop my laundry off in the morning and pick it up in the evening. It was washed, dried and folded. I had a huge pullman full of clothes which I paid €24 to have laundered. And we didn’t lose any sightseeing time. Update 2014: I recently learned that Gleeson Laundrette is no longer in operation.
If you have a favorite restaurant or B&B in Killarney please share in the comments!
Portions of this post were taken from the original at Family Rambling.