Ireland's landscapes behold the most magnificent fauna, and with Killarney Falconry, you can have a memorable experience with the falcons coming tad closer to you. Oh wait, that would mean having a falcon perched on your arms or shoulders, with you looking in the eye of the stoic bird. Professional guides show you around through a hawk walk, and the birds could be called upon for a brief 'hello'. You could go by yourself or take friends and family along-it turns out that the falcon has got jovial feathers. Move around with hawk-sight, though: a bird might just be planning to make a splendid landing somewhere around.
Lough Leane (Lake of Learning) is the third lake in Killarney's Long Range. Dotted with over 30 islands, it is best seen from the water. Two waterbus services leave from the jetty by Ross Castle for lake cruises. Glassed over with a running taped commentary, they are not always atmospheric, but do provide breathtaking scenery. These cruises offer taped commentaries in a variety of languages. Be sure to check you have bought tickets for a cruise in the language of your choice. The lake can also be toured using a row or motor boat. Both can be hired at the jetty from one of the many touting boatmen.
An expanse of green that seems to embrace the Lough Leane and the Lake Muckross of Killarney, the Killarney National Park lays sprawled over a massive area of 102.89 square kilometer(39.73 square miles). Founded in 1932, it was the first space to be designated a national park in the city. Though started on a smaller estate, the park has grown extensively over the years, and plays host to an incredible assemblage of flora and fauna. A luxuriant canvas of verdant paradise, the park's rolling landscape is delightfully stippled with a melange of massive mountains, jagged cliffs, lush greens, pristine lakes, and gorgeous waterfalls. The park is home to the city's sole remaining native deer, and is a vast haven of chirpy, warbling birds. Draped in loving sheaths of bogland and woodland comprising oak and yew, this viridescent park is as much steeped in history and archaeology as it is in natural beauty. A stirring testament to this fact is the strong existence of pre-Christian remnants like the Inisfallen Abbey and Muckross Abbey, along with other monastic ruins. A dazzling menagerie of tranquillity, nature, history and culture, Killarney National Park is one of Ireland's finest.
Despite the seemingly never-ending summer stream of travelers on foot, pony and in jaunting car, the Gap of Dunloe remains a spectacular beauty spot. Viewing the Gap during the quiet winter months can be preferable, though it may be difficult to find a long enough dry period to walk. The rewards are great: beautiful mountain lakes, cascading rivers on the mountainsides, and gravity-defying sheep in every visible crevice. As travelers reach the top of the Gap, the lakes spread out in a breath-taking vista. The road then descends into Black Valley and leads to motor boats bound for Killarney across the lakes.
This easy four mile (six and a half kilometre) walk to the top of Torc Mountain (1,764ft/525m) is suitable for almost everyone. The trail winds around coniferous woods, heather, and mountain streams. In forested areas, wildlife abounds with birds, rabbits, hares, and even the occasional deer may pass by. Open panoramic vistas provide a top of the world feeling and a breathtaking view of the Lakes, Muckross House Estate, and Ross Castle. The walk begins at the Torc Waterfall car park.
Carrantoohill (3411ft) is Ireland's tallest peak. Although its height appears pretty tame by world standards, Carrantoohill should never be taken lightly. Even locals would not attempt to make the climb without an experienced guide the first few times. Foolhardy and adventuresome tourists keep the Kerry Mountain Rescue Service busy during the summer months. Weather on the mountain can be quite changeable with sudden mists making visibility impossible. In such conditions it is easy to lose the trail. Expert guides from Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre offer supervised climbs.
Built in 1867, the Friary Church is a fascinating combination of both Irish and Belgian styles. The interior walls are painted with intricate, Celtic designs, while a stunning Flemish high altar dominates the back gable. This altar has elaborately carved niches featuring beautiful wooden statues of angels and saints. The two most prominent niches feature statues of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and St Joseph, the patron saint of Belgium. Within the sacristy of the altar is the skull of Fr. Francis O'Sullivan, Provincial of the 62 Irish Franciscan houses when he was brutally murdered in 1653.
Peaceful farmland and fern covered hills make this a particularly pleasant hike. Although the climb to Crohane Mountain is short, it can be rigorous in places. The total length is four miles (six and a half kilometres), but allow up to four hours. This walk offers spectacular views of Lough Guitane, the Lakes of Killarney, and Cappagh Glen. Also visible are the ruins of Killaha Tower, home to O'Donoghue of the Glen, before its destruction in 1562 by Cromwell's army. On the Kenmare Road take the sign posted left turn for Lough Guitane, just before Muckross Village. Look for a laneway on the right a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometre) after Lough Guitane. Park your car along the road and begin the walk here.
Banna Strand offers spectacular views over Tralee Bay, pleasant paddling, and an easy shoreline stroll. The beach is popular with bird watchers and it attracts a wide variety of interesting aquatic species. It's also famous for its association with Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement (1864-1916), who was arrested by British forces nearby. A plaque stands on the beach where he came ashore from a German U-boat on Good Friday, two days before the Easter Rising.
The Tralee Courthouse is imposing, but on a small scale. Sir Richard Morrison designed the building in the 19th century. It seems to combine function with size very well. Its fine Ionic portico and enormous regal lions may seem anachronistic today, harking back to the days of British rule, but they still impress. Although the Courthouse roof was damaged during the 1980s, it has since been fully restored. If you venture inside, there is a surprisingly pretty interior garden.
This Anglican church has a distinctively Scottish style and was built by the MacElligot family. Originally from the Isle of Skye, they came to Ireland with Strongbow's nephew, Geoffery de Marisco. A military family, they played active roles in both the Cromwellian and Williamite wars. In the 18th century, a number of them served with distinction in the Austrian army. The church is extremely well kept, with simple decoration throughout. A lovely stained glass window close to the entrance is simply and tastefully made from various coloured diamonds. The graveyard is the final resting-place for many of Kerry's noble families with large tombs and old carved tributes.