Call us on +353 87 261 7967 or email info@killarneyboattours.com

Call us on +353 87 261 7967 or email info@killarneyboattours.com

Iconic Heritage Sites of Killarney

With iconic heritage sites dating back to the megalithic, Killarney is a wonderful place to explore history. More modern sites include Muckross Abbey (14th Century), Ross Castle from where our trip departs (15th century) and Old Weir Brigde (16th Century). Read on for information on some of the sites you will encounter while in our company.

Meeting of the Waters
Old Weir Bridge

The Old Weir Bridge is one of the oldest structures in Killarney. The exact age of the double arched bridge isn’t know but it is believed to date back to the 16th Century. The Gap of Dunloe Tour has been using this bridge, which is the entrance to The Long Range River for over 250 years.

The Old Weir Bridge is adjacent to Dinis Cottage, a beautiful Café on the shore of The Middle Lake. Access to this area is either by walking, cycling or boat. The nearest car park is 1.5km away on the main Ring of Kerry road.

To access the Bridge itself, one must follow the signs for a woodland trail. The trail isn’t very well marked and the ground is rough so the Bridge is a little off the beaten track. For those who walk the trail to discover the Bridge, they are rewarded with one of the most tranquil areas of the National Park.

During the summer the water level at the bridge is quite low but during the winter, the bridge can be completely covered with water. At any time of the year, The Old Weir Bridge is worth the effort!

Old Weir Bridge

The Old Weir Bridge is one of the oldest structures in Killarney. The exact age of the double arched bridge isn’t know but it is believed to date back to the 16th Century. The Gap of Dunloe Tour has been using this bridge, which is the entrance to The Long Range River for over 250 years.

The Old Weir Bridge is adjacent to Dinis Cottage, a beautiful Café on the shore of The Middle Lake. Access to this area is either by walking, cycling or boat. The nearest car park is 1.5km away on the main Ring of Kerry road.

To access the Bridge itself, one must follow the signs for a woodland trail. The trail isn’t very well marked and the ground is rough so the Bridge is a little off the beaten track. For those who walk the trail to discover the Bridge, they are rewarded with one of the most tranquil areas of the National Park.

During the summer the water level at the bridge is quite low but during the winter, the bridge can be completely covered with water. At any time of the year, The Old Weir Bridge is worth the effort!

Meeting of the Waters
Meeting of the Waters
Ross Castle

Built in the 15th century, Ross Castle was the seat of the O’Donoghue Mor. The Castle was taken over by the McCarthy Mor Family after the 2nd Desmond Rebellion in the 1580s and was under the command of Lord Muskerry during the 11 years war.

It was in 1652 that Cromwell’s forces under the command of Edmund Ludlow took control of the Castle and afterwards, it was used to house soldiers until 1835.

The Castle fell into disrepair and was almost ready to crumble in the 1960’s when the Government made the decision to renovate the Castle. In 1973, works commenced and the rebuilding took 20 years. Ross Castle is open for tours during the Summer months and the views from the upper floors are stunning.

Ross Castle

Built in the 15th century, Ross Castle was the seat of the O’Donoghue Mor. The Castle was taken over by the McCarthy Mor Family after the 2nd Desmond Rebellion in the 1580s and was under the command of Lord Muskerry during the 11 years war.

It was in 1652 that Cromwell’s forces under the command of Edmund Ludlow took control of the Castle and afterwards, it was used to house soldiers until 1835.

The Castle fell into disrepair and was almost ready to crumble in the 1960’s when the Government made the decision to renovate the Castle. In 1973, works commenced and the rebuilding took 20 years. Ross Castle is open for tours during the Summer months and the views from the upper floors are stunning.

Muckross House, Gardens
& Traditional Farms

Works started on Muckross House in 1839 and were completed in 1843 by Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour Herbert (a famous watercolourist in her own right). The original plans set out a much more ornate house but the finished product was scaled down significantly, apparently at the request of Mary Balfour Herbert.

The Herbert Family hosted Queen Victoria on her first visit to Kerry in 1862. It’s thought that the expense of the visit of the Queen and some ill-advised business dealings led to the Herberts going bankrupt and the eventual auction of the House and Gardens in 1899.

The House changed hands a couple of times before being bought by a Californian businessman named William Bowers Bourne. Mr. Bourne gifted the entire estate to his daughter; Maud when she married a Clareman named Arthur Vincent. The Vincents lived in the house for a number of years and raised their family there. They were well liked in the local community and Mr. Vincent undertook many projects to preserve the local woodlands.

Unfortunately Maud died of Pneumonia in 1929 whilst on her way to visit her family in California. After her death, Arthur Vincent donated the entire area over to the people of Ireland as our first National Park in 1932.

Muckross House
Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

Works started on Muckross House in 1839 and were completed in 1843 by Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour Herbert (a famous watercolourist in her own right). The original plans set out a much more ornate house but the finished product was scaled down significantly, apparently at the request of Mary Balfour Herbert.

The Herbert Family hosted Queen Victoria on her first visit to Kerry in 1862. It’s thought that the expense of the visit of the Queen and some ill-advised business dealings led to the Herberts going bankrupt and the eventual auction of the House and Gardens in 1899.

The House changed hands a couple of times before being bought by a Californian businessman named William Bowers Bourne. Mr. Bourne gifted the entire estate to his daughter; Maud when she married a Clareman named Arthur Vincent. The Vincents lived in the house for a number of years and raised their family there. They were well liked in the local community and Mr. Vincent undertook many projects to preserve the local woodlands.

Unfortunately Maud died of Pneumonia in 1929 whilst on her way to visit her family in California. After her death, Arthur Vincent donated the entire area over to the people of Ireland as our first National Park in 1932.

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a glacial valley about 15km West of Killarney. The valley runs North-South and is 11km long. To the East, the Purple Mountain range and to the West, the McGillycuddy’s Reeks form the walls of the Valley.

The name; Dunloe translates as Stronghold on the Loe after the Loe river which runs through the valley. The valley was formed 25,000 years ago during the last ice age by the Templenoe Glacier. There are 5 lakes in the valley; Black Lough, Auger Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Black Lake and Coosaun Lough.

Access to the valley is via 1 single lane road which runs through from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. There has been controversy surrounding the amount of vehicles using this road in recent years and the availability of parking facilities at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. The road is suitable for vehicles to travel on but during the day (in the summer) there are up to 30 pony & carriages as well as hundreds of walkers and cyclists to share the road with. It is advised to drive the road only before 10am or after 6pm during the summer months to avoid congestion.

There are dozens of rock climbing routes and hill-walking trails which are accessible from the Gap of Dunloe road. The hill walks include Strickeen Mountain and The McGillycuddy’s Reeks, The Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain. Routes are unmarked so a guide would be advised, a map, compass and suitable clothing are a must in this unspoilt landscape.

Gap of Dunloe photos
The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a glacial valley about 15km West of Killarney. The valley runs North-South and is 11km long. To the East, the Purple Mountain range and to the West, the McGillycuddy’s Reeks form the walls of the Valley.

The name; Dunloe translates as Stronghold on the Loe after the Loe river which runs through the valley. The valley was formed 25,000 years ago during the last ice age by the Templenoe Glacier. There are 5 lakes in the valley; Black Lough, Auger Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Black Lake and Coosaun Lough.

Access to the valley is via 1 single lane road which runs through from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. There has been controversy surrounding the amount of vehicles using this road in recent years and the availability of parking facilities at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. The road is suitable for vehicles to travel on but during the day (in the summer) there are up to 30 pony & carriages as well as hundreds of walkers and cyclists to share the road with. It is advised to drive the road only before 10am or after 6pm during the summer months to avoid congestion.

There are dozens of rock climbing routes and hill-walking trails which are accessible from the Gap of Dunloe road. The hill walks include Strickeen Mountain and The McGillycuddy’s Reeks, The Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain. Routes are unmarked so a guide would be advised, a map, compass and suitable clothing are a must in this unspoilt landscape.

Gap of Dunloe photos