Killarney Lakes

  • Across Muckross Lake to Purple Mountain - © William Mackesy
  • Lough Leane from Muckross bridge - © William Mackesy
  • Across Upper Lake to Lough Leane - © William Mackesy
  • Muckross Lake, sometimes feels like northern Scandinavia - © William Mackesy
  • Torc mountain flank from Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy
  • Mossy boulders,  Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy
  • Across upper lake toward the Reeks - © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • © William Mackesy
  • Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy
  • Torc mountain from Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy
  • Torc Mountain - © William Mackesy
  • Yew - © William Mackesy

Key information: Killarney Lakes

  • The ridiculously pretty Killarney Lakes are huddled under the first mountains of western Kerry.
  • A variety of excellent walks.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating84
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest7
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating84
  • Note: Likely bad weather.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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Across Upper Lake to Lough Leane - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The gorgeous Killarney Lakes are huddled under the first mountains of western Kerry.

They are studded with islands, and, with their mountain backdrops, are ridiculously pretty. They drip Irish history, including the ruins of Muckross Abbey, monastic ruins on Inisfallen island and Ross castle; their shores are covered in extraordinary rainforesty woodland, with a lot of oak and yew, and areas of pretty bog and heather.  Wildlife includes ultra-rare white-tailed eagles and the only wild herd of red deer.

There are several walks around Lough Leane and Muckross Lake, in particular a 9.5km  circuit around smaller Muckross Lake to the south, which is separated from Lough Leane by a narrow isthmus. The woodland is particularly interesting here – at times you feel like you are in enchanted land – and the views are often ravishing. There are excellent shorter walks, too. Not for those who like their seclusion, though. See http://www.discoverireland.ie/Activities-Adventure/torc-waterfall-and-muckross-lake-loop/62318 for some more info on the circuit walk around Muckross lake.

The great long-distance trail here is the Kerry Way, and a stretch of it drops from the modern Killarney-Kenmare road to the southern shores of the beautiful Upper Lake, which it then runs beside round to Lord Brandon’s Cottage to the west. If you feel energetic, it heads on up the Gearhameen river valley (the Black Valley) to the stunning lakes in its upper reaches, and on west beneath the highest peaks of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. We guess it is 5km or so to Lord Brandon’s Cottage.

The South-west gets a lot of rain and wind, plus cloud/fog and occasional winter snow on high ground. Be prepared.

See our Killarney NP and Iveragh Peninsula pages for more general and practical information and photos. 

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Torc mountain flank from Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Mossy boulders,  Muckross Lake - © William Mackesy...
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