As you guys know, I now live in New York full-time but I’m originally from Co.Kerry in Ireland. I’m from a tiny little village called Glenbeigh and the nearest ‘big’ town to me is Killarney – about 35 minutes away. When I was younger, I really didn’t like the fact that I was from Kerry. I was so annoyed that it was so far away from everywhere, the shopping was limited (before the days of online stores) and I guess, I just felt a little distant from everything that was going on. But wow, how things have changed! I really can’t even begin to describe what an absolutely breath-taking part of the world it is. It’s the county in Ireland that never fails to put me in a good (and relaxed) mood and I constantly count down the days until my next trip home. Whenever I do go home, the part of Kerry I spend a lot of time in is beautiful, Killarney. In my opinion, it’s one of the nicest towns in the whole of Ireland. While I was at home this Christmas and sharing photos, a lot of you were enquiring on snapchat (retroflame1) about the best places to stay, eat, go, etc. So that’s exactly where the idea for this post/new series came from.
Being from Ireland, I sometimes take it for granted and without even realizing, forget to give it enough credit here on my blog. So although I’m now based here in NYC, a goal of mine for 2016 is to showcase more of our beautiful country through this new ‘Ireland Travel Guide’ series. I’m hoping that my international readers will love this idea (and maybe give you the motivation to visit) and I’m also hoping that it will give my Irish readers the nudge to explore more of the absolutely amazing places that are right on our doorstep. So I’m going to begin this new series in Kerry and give you guys a guide to spending an amazing weekend in Killarney. If you haven’t been before, trust me when I say that you need to go!
The only reason I now sometimes wish I wasn’t from Kerry, is so that I could try out all the amazing hotels it has to offer. Up until this Christmas, I had never stayed in any of the hotels in Killarney and I knew this had to change. Some of the best hotels in the whole of Ireland are in Killarney so I want to start experiencing them for myself. As I begin to try them all out during my next trips home, I’ll be sure to update this post, but for now I can’t wait to tell you about two favourites I was lucky enough to stay in a few weeks ago…
One of my all-time favourite Killarney hotels to visit, eat & drink at is The Ross Hotel – so I was VERY excited to finally stay there. The Ross Hotel is the quirkiest and most modern hotel you will find in Killarney and you honestly will not beat it for location. It’s located right in the centre of town and as soon as you walk in the door, I guarantee you will be impressed. The decor, the service, the New York vibes (I think so anyway)…just everything! Absolutely 10 out of 10 every time. The girls and I stayed in 2 beautiful rooms and enjoyed 1 (of many) cocktails in their brand new Gin & Champagne bar called The Pink Lounge. The perfect girls night out! Their food also deserves so much praise (I went there for my going away party) and I HIGHLY recommend you try their hot chocolate. Oh and don’t even think about going to Killarney without trying a cocktail from their bar – The Lane Bar – my personal favourite is the strawberry daiquiri. Can’t say enough great things about this gem of a hotel!
Next up is another hotel I’ve visited time & time again – The Brehon. I firstly have to talk about their amazing spa. One word – WOW! I visited it for the first time about a year ago and I can honestly say that it was one of my best spa experiences to date. The massage I had was out of this world and I honestly still think about it. Their whole team of therapists are just fantastic and so if you’re in Killarney, I promise you that a trip here is a must. You’ll know from my Instagram that I finally stayed at this hotel over Christmas and I think I now love it even more. It’s located about 5 minutes outside of the town, so if you rather being a little away (but not too far) from the hustle & bustle, this is the hotel for you. It’s also located right next to the INEC, so if you’re planning a trip there, this location is ideal. Oh and they’ve also just been named as one of the Top 10 Irish Hotels by TripAdvisor. So deserved!
There is a HUGE amount of restaurants and bars in Killarney, so you definitely will be spoiled for choice, but I must admit that I tend to stick to my favourites. Some of my very favourite restaurants are in Killarney and I try to squeeze in a visit to all of them when I’m home.
- Noelle’s Cafe – The best cafe!
- Bombay Palace -My favourite Indian restaurant EVER.
- Genthing Thai
- Aghadoe Heights – You won’t find a nicer afternoon tea anywhere in Ireland.
- LIR Cafe – Best hot chocolate in the whole town.
- La Rambla
- MAC’S of Main Street
- The Smokehouse
- The Lane Bar – As I said, the BEST cocktails.
- Scotts Beer Garden – Perfect spot on a Summer’s day.
- The Porterhouse – Always great live Irish music!
- McSorley’s – Favourite Late Bar.
There’s no doubt about it, Killarney is beautiful. If you happen to be there on a sunny day, there’s honestly no place better to be. I feel like I’m definitely forgetting some things (writing this from my bed at 1am) but below are some must-do’s when you visit…
- Walk through Killarney National Park & go kayaking on the Lakes.
- Wander around Muckross House & Gardens.
- Visit Torc Waterfall & climb ‘Cardiac Hill’ (ask the locals) for the best view in Killarney.
- Take a trip to Ross Castle & look out for the swans.
- Visit the The Europe Hotel and take in the absolutely breath-taking views (& amazing spa).
I really hope you enjoyed this & I’m already looking forward to sharing more of my Irish favourites!
Have a great weekend,