Blasket Island Boat trip

Blasket Island Boat trip

Blasket Island Boat trip

On the 9th of September 2018, we took a trip from the Lake Hotel in Killarney to visit the Blasket Island by boat.

We have done a video here so you can see what it really is like to take on a great Adventure that is the Blasket Island Boat trip to the Island.

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Bluebells in Killarney

Bluebells in Killarney

Bluebells in Killarney

Late April and into May each year in Killarney you will see a blanket of Bluebells appear in the Killarney National Park. This is a great time to Visit Ross Island near Ross Castle and beside the main road just past the Lake Hotel on the Muckross road. You can find them throughout the park but these areas are easily accessible and a short walk.

Bluebells in Killarney National park

Along with the Bluebells, there is also a blanket of wild garlic which you can smell while walking through the Park. This time of the year the whole National park comes alive, most of the trees are showing their leaves as the Oaks are just starting to open the buds. This is a great time to visit Killarney, the longer evenings, warmer days, early sunrises with the morning call sounds from the birds.

Bluebells near the Lake Hotel in Killarney

The Red Deer are quiet, Stags are throwing their Antlers, the females are getting ready to Calf and the Rhododendron are showing buds.
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Mizen Head Lighthouse

Mizen Head Lighthouse

Mizen Head

Mizen Head Lighthouse is located on the South Western Coast of Ireland right on the “Wild Atlantic Way” on the Beara Peninsula. Take the N71 from Killarney and take a right on the R592 and then on to the R591. In my opinion, it is far more spectacular and less of a Tourist Trap than the Cliffs of Moher. You will experience a local community at work running the restaurant and the visitor centre. The views are up there with the best in Ireland.

At Mizen Head you can see :

Mizen Head Lighthouse & Bridge

Whales and Dolphins

Fastnet Lighthouse

Atlantic Seabirds

Grey Seals

The Stunning Barley Cove Beach

Also learn about:

Transatlantic cables

Irish lighthouses

Who ran the Lighthouses

What you will experience:

Locals who run the attraction are friendly

The fresh breeze from out deep in the Atlantic Ocean

Unique views of the Fastnet lighthouse the the South

On our travels back to the Lake Hotel in Killarney I visited the hidden gem that is Barley Cove Beach, the towns of Bantry and Glengarriff then stopping at Molly Gallivan’s old Famine Village. Next, it’s on through Kenmare, Molls Gap before returning to the Lake Hotel for a nice cold local beer.

I hope you enjoy the Video above on Mizen Head it will give you some idea on what you would expect, weather permitting. Mizen Head and the Kerry Cliff’s I would rate more than the Cliff’s of Moher. In my opinion its less touristy and better views and experience overall. That said if you are driving passed it would be worth a stop. Either way, I hope you enjoy your Vacation to Ireland and hope this page is useful and I can only highly recommend Mizen Head.

If you are in Killarney it takes a couple of hours through very scenic contryside to get to Mizen Head, the drive will entertain your journey and is worthwhile on its own.

Tip: If you can stay in Killarney a few days extra you will cease to live out of a suitcase and enjoy your Vacation more, save the time packing up checking in and out of your accommodation. Killarney is in the Heart of the South West and a great place to base yourself on your trip to this region.

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Where to stay in Killarney Lakeside setting

Where to stay in Killarney Lakeside setting

Where to stay in Killarney, 12th Century Castle on the grounds

Where to stay in Killarney? Location, Location, Location !!!

Where to stay, we recommend the Lake Hotel where Room rates are competitive.

There are many reasons to stay in Killarney because of its great location and easy access to the South West of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Gap of Dunloe, Beara Peninsula, The Killarney National Park and so much more. It is an ideal stopover and we would also recommend adding at least an extra day here on your Vacation.

When it comes to Where to stay in Killarney the Lake Hotel offers the following

Ten Reasons to stay at the Lake Hotel:

  1. True Irish hospitality from an Irish  family running hotels for 4 Generations
  2. Location, Location, Location more spectacular scenery (top image) in Killarney and Kerry
  3. Situated on the Ring of Kerry adjoining and looking on the Killarney National park
  4. Four-Star luxury with free internet, Outdoor Hot Tub, Free Parking and great walks on the Grounds.
  5. Friendly staff and efficient service, a choice of two Lake View Restaurants.
  6. The Lake Hotel is a Hub for the following to name a few: Ring of Kerry, Gap of Dunloe, Dingle Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, Skellig’s Boat Trip, Killarney National Park, Golf Courses, Horse Riding, Cycling, Walking and anything Outdoors.
  7. Nature on your doorstep and Wildlife not seen by any other Hotel in Ireland, Eagles + Native Red Deer can be seen here, especially the Red Deer.
  8. There is a 12th Century Floodlit Castle on the Grounds and Muckross Abbey is a one-mile walk into the National park.
  9. Relaxing Lounges, Library and Meeting rooms for group briefings.
  10. Photographers dream. Come and see the Views.


Killarney Restaurants

Killarney Lake Hotel Restaurants

Where to stay in Killarney

Where to stay in Killarney what a view

Killarney Hotel Hot tub

Killarney Hotel Hot tub

Where to stay in Killarney, on the Ring of Kerry, the Lake Hotel is situated on the Ring and you could say the Ring of Kerry begins and ends at the Lake Hotel. We also have easy access to the Killarney National Park on our doorstep. Muckross Abbey is a short 1.5 km walk from the hotel and the McCarthy Mor Castle is 150 m from the Hotel and is floodlit at night.

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Ring of Kerry Tour

Ring of Kerry Tour

Ring of Kerry Tour

The Ring of Kerry, a Guided Tour. We hope you get some useful ideas here for your Ring of Kerry Day trip.

Ring of Kerry Tour

Leaving Killarney by Saint Mary’s Cathedral drive for the Killorglin road (N 72), you will pass Killarney Golf Club on your left, keep going straight on to Killorglin you will also pass Ballymalis Castle about 14 km from Killarney on the left, it is a sister Castle to Blarney Castle, Ballycarbery near Cahersiveen and Castlelough in Killarney by the Lake Hotel. You will soon arrive in Killorglin famous for Puck Fair, a Pagan festival dating back 3000 years ( Celebrated on the 10 / 11 and 12th. of August each year).


After Killorglin, you will also pass the Red Fox Inn and Traditional Bog Village Museum where you can see some Rural dwelling like those living in Ireland dated back in the 1800s.
Next stop is Glenbeigh, it has a beautiful beach at Rossbeigh, 3 miles of sandy beach, head back to the N 70.


Ahead the road joins the Atlantic Ocean where there is a Beautiful Ocean Vista is known as the Mountain Stage with great views of Dingle Bay, this is a good spot to stretch your legs and enjoy the view. Kells Bay is home to Kells Bay Gardens, a Sub Tropical experience and is also worth a visit a little further on.


After passing on from Kells and just before Cahersiveen at the on the left can be seen
the birthplace of Daniel O’Connell he was known as “The Liberator ”
and hero to the Irish people in the 1800’s and still to this day, nearly every town in Ireland has a statue of him of something that refers to him.

Local visitor information can be found in the Old RIC Barracks the big white tower-like building near the town centre. The Barracks was built by the English and designed for India but they got the plans mixed up, there is be an Irish Castle type designed a building in India and is still there to this present day.

In this area of the Ring of Kerry, there are two Stone Forts dating back to the 9th. Century. You can also find Ballycabbery Castle (ruin) which is said to be haunted, it was blown up by Cromwell’s Forces from the inside out, once a fortress to The McCarthy Mór who ruled Munster. If you would like to visit Ballycarbery Castle and the Stone forts of Cahergal & Leacanabuaile cross the bridge by the RIC Barracks to what’s known locally as “Over the Water”.

Valentia Island & The Skellig Ring

Leaving Caherciveen on your right-hand side you can see Valentia Island which can be accessed from Renard Pier by a Car Ferry to Knightstown and eventually exit at PORTMAGEE on a bridge. Here you have an option to do the “Skellig Ring”. The Skellig Ring is a great addition to the Ring of Kerry and we cannot recommend it enough but take note some of the roads are not suitable for Buses and only for cars and minivans.

VALENTIA was where the first Transatlantic Cable was laid to North America in 1857, more information is available in the Heritage Centre (old National School) you can also visit the Slate Quarry and the Light House amazing scenery and take a look at the Tetrapod footprints over 380 million years old. (see Map bottom of the page)

On the North road on Valentia Island there is an optional road (toll) up to Gokaun Mountain, here you can drive to the highest point on Valentia and from here you can see, West Cork to the South, The Skelligs to the Southwest. You can also see the Blasket Islands, the Dingle Peninsula to the West, and much of the Ring of Kerry to the East.

As you head to the other end of the Island turn right for Saint Brendan’s Well and the Pub used in the Guinness TV commercial with the phrase “Next Pint New York” painted on the side of it. Visit the Well but please stay away from the Cliff as the signs suggest. The Cliffs in Valentia are prone to get more freak waves than anywhere in Europe, enjoy the Well and photos besides the so-called most western Pub in Europe.

Near the Transatlantic monument up the hill, there is a car park and a nice walk up to Bray Head 2 km amazing views of the Skelligs and sea Cliffs, you can visit the Skellig Experience which is down near the bridge to Portmagee.

When you go over the bridge to Portmagee, Possibly Ireland’s most scenic fishing Village, the Bridge Bar is worth a visit or a lunch stop.

Later on, continue to do the Skellig Ring via Coomanaspig Pass the highest drivable pass in Ireland on to Saint Finians Bay home of the Skellig Chocolate factory and it’s well worth a visit. At Saint Finian’s Bay, there is a beautiful beach, here if you roar “Up the Kingdom” at the Skelligs you will hear the Echo come right back. 😉 I think you have to do it 3 times.

It’s on to Ballinskelligs after that and continues on following the signposts for Waterville.


Heading on to Waterville turn right at the church and take the Coastal road into Waterville. Here you have a great view of the Ballinskellig’s Bay. Waterville was and is very popular with people like Charlie Chaplin, Shirley McClaine, Walt Disney, Tiger Woods, Payne Stuart and Michael Jordan, Catherine Zeta-Jones to name a few. It’s a quiet Seaside Town, yet steeped in history and has many Ancient Standing Stones, Forts and Legendary tales of days gone by. You can get your photo taken with a statue of Charlie Chaplin and more recently Kerry GAA great Micko O’Dwyer.

The Fishermans Bar & Charlies Bistro in the Butler Arms Hotel is a nice place to stop for lunch, it is here the Huggard family has welcomed some of the most famous people from all over the world for their renowned hospitality at one stage the Huggard’s employed more than half the population of Waterville form here the Bay View hotel and the Huggard’s Stores. At the end of the village along with Shooting guides & Fishing Ghillies. The walls in the Butler Arms hotel are quite interesting and if you visit Saint Michael’s Church there is local history there including the Butler’s, John Mulcahy, and the Trans Atlantic Cable.

Caherdaniel / Derrynane

Leaving Waterville you head up and over the mountains at Coomakista Pass, park here and enjoy the views,
to the north Ballinskelligs Bay and to the south Caherdaniel, Derrynane and Castle Cove, in the far distance, you can see County Cork.
If it is a nice day go to Derrynane Beach, misty or rain visit Derrynane House once home to Daniel O’Connell the Liberator and is now a museum and open to the public.

After Caherdaniel you can visit Staigue Fort ( 2500 years old ) its a left turn just before Castle Cove is also open to the public and admission is free.

Ring of Kerry Video including the Skellig Ring


The next town is Sneem was home of the famous Casey brothers and as “The New York Times wrote: ” The Toughest Family That Ever Lived”. Steve Casey was the undisputed world wrestling Champion for more than ten years, when wrestling was “Wrestling”, Joe Louis refused many offers from Steve Casey as he feared this Irish man who could box as well as wrestle, there is a life-size statue of Steve ( the crusher ) Casey on the left as you leave Sneem. You have to see the Hands, from the tip of his Thunb to his little Finger was 15 inches ( 38 cm ) and he could tear a telephone book apart in seconds. If you google him you will find a fascinating story worthy of a Hollywood Movie Jim Casey trained the Astronauts for NASA in Huston Texas in tub o war they remained unbeaten. Pass their teens the Caseys were never beaten in a boat race, they once challenged the World to produce a team that would beat them for $40,000 paid by Grace Kelly’s father, when the other rowers found our the times the Casey’s were achieving over a 4 mile race the crews who turned up all went home they hadn’t a chance. There is a fabulous book now available called “The Legendary Casey Brothers” with Jim Hudson and Jim Casey. A DVD is also available

The road for Killarney in beside the Statue of Steve Casey for Molls Gap you can also go on to Kenmare, either way you will have a good view of the Mountains of Kerry, when you get to Molls Gap and you will see lakes in the distance on your left the Black Valley and the Head of the Gap ( the Gap of Dunloe ) in the distance. At Ladies View, you can see the Lake Hotel, that white building in the distance and as you descend you can see the Three Lakes of Killarney. You will pass the Upper Lake and the Middle Lake before you get to Torc Waterfall on your right and then on to Muckross House and Gardens, well worth a visit and stretch those legs after a great day. All that is left is, back to the ” Lake Hotel ” and Shower / Bath / or relax in a Jacuzzi or head straight to the Pub. You could also use the Outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney National Park, then a relaxing drink in the Devil’s Punchbowl Bar overlooking the Floodlit Castle and Lake, and its time for dinner in The Castlelough Restaurant our Lakeside Bistro / Pub. New in 2015 Huggard 1912 Craft Beer is now being served in our Pub.

The Lake Hotel is ideal Ring of Kerry Hotel Accommodation, situated on the Ring of Kerry and next to the Killarney National Park.

The Ring of Kerry begins and ends at the Lake Hotel

Vacation Killarney recommend visitors take a look at our map it only gives a brief description of what’s on the Ring of Kerry but if you go to the points we mention it will open up many other points of interest.

Did you know the Ring of Kerry was recently voted in the top ten most scenic drives in the World!

Did you know Kerry has the largest Coastline

Free Ring of Kerry Map is available for Guest & Customers at the Lake Hotel

[mapsmarker layer=”2″]

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Snow in Killarney 2018

Snow in Killarney 2018

Snow in Killarney in 2018

We had amazing snow in Killarney in 2018 and it made the scenery look even more amazing, while it was bad for local businesses it did not stop family’s making the most of activities usually only available in Alpine Europe. We have included some images and a video of our experience in the Castlelough / Muckross region of Killarney and a bit from Ballaghasheen in central Kerry.

Killarney Hotels Views

View from Killarney’s Lake hotel and the 12th Century Castle at Castlelough Killarney.

Killarney Snow Video :

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The Skellig Ring in Kerry

The Skellig Ring in Kerry

The Skellig Ring in Kerry

This magnificent region just off the Ring of Kerry route has some of the best scenery seen anywhere in Ireland and Europe. Loaded with History, Tradition, Religion, Innovation, Landmarks, pre-Christian Monuments, 385 Million-year-old footprints and add some breathtaking scenery and you get the Skellig Ring. The very picturesque Islands just off the Coast were used in the recent Star Wars movie, Skellig Michael the larger of the two which has an Old Monastery dating back to the 7th century with its spectacular Beehive Hut style structures.

McCarthy's Castle Skellig Ring

McCarthy’s Castle Ballinskelligs on the Skellig Ring

Our Top things to see on the Skellig Ring

  • Knightstown on Valentia Island via the Carferry from Renard Point, (a nice restaurant here O’Neill’s)
  • The Museum Heritage centre on the Transatlantic Cable back in 1866 the first communication with Europe and North America
  • The Valentia lighthouse at Cromwell’s Point, a narrow steep road but worth it very scenic
  • Tetrapod footprints 385,000,000 years old one of the first amphibians to walk on land, one of the oldest in the World.
  • The Slate Quarry and Grotto great views on the Lighthouse and the Atlantic ocean.
  • Saint Brendan’s well which has become popular with New York Firefighters and emergency personnel in recent years, its a shrine to Saint Brendan the patron Saint of Kerry, on the way down too the well you will pass a pub “NEXT PINT NEW YORK” it was used for a Guinness commercial as the most remote pub in Ireland, you will be surprised when you see it 😉
  • Bray Head Loop walk a must in nice weather, great to stretch the legs here and enjoy the views of the Skellig Island’s from the old spotting tower in the distance. It’s nice to get out of the car for a break from driving here is the spot. You will at least need good runners/trainers for this one and preferably a pair of walking boots.

    Bray Head Skellig ring

    Bray Head Valentia Island

  • Portmagee is a nice place for lunch there are plenty of nice establishments in the area also but we like the Bridge bar in Portmagee.
  • Coominaspic pass the highest pass in Ireland on the way to Saint Finian’s Bay
  • Saint Finian’s Bay has a holy Well besides one of the most spectacular views of the Skellig island’s with its beach. This place is very popular with Surfers however it is not great for swimming and has strong rip tides. Here you can roar “Up Kerry” at the Skellig Islands and you will hear the echo come back if you do it loud enough.
  • The Skellig Chocolate factory where you can taste before you buy and it is being made in front of you, enjoy a fresh coffee, pastries, hot chocolates for the Kids and more.
  • Bolus Head walk is a remote walk yet has amazing views of the Skellig Island’s 

    Bolus head loop walk

    Bolus Head Loop walk

  • Ballinskelligs and McCarthy’s Castle a sister castle to the one at the Lake Hotel in Killarney there is a beautiful Abbey a short walk from the Castle to the right another nice break from driving. The Priory or Abbey was settled in the 12th Century from Skellig Michael after numerous attacks from the Vikings. Ballinskelligs Abbey Skellig RingBallinskelligs Abbey (Priory)
  • Reen Rua Beach popular with Surfers, it has the remains of a petrified Oak Forrest under the sand and can be seen in certain tides and times of the year. To the right is an old derelict hotel once the dream of Billy Huggard’s from Waterville, built in the late 1960’s in its day it offered Sand Yachting, Horse Riding, Surfing, Beach Sulkies, an Outdoor Swiming Pool, Indoor Swimming Pool, Standing Stones, Beehive Huts, Games Rooms, Snooker Tables and so much more. It even had an Airstrip, the troubles in Northern Ireland in the early ’70s and the decline of the growing numbers of visitors at the time stopped.

    Reenroe Hotel Ballinskelligs

    What was the Reenroe Hotel Ballinskelligs

The Skellig Islands

Skellig Michael can be visited via local boat operators daily but must be booked well in advance, the filming of Star Wars has increased its already popularity. Be aware you may be disappointed because of bad weather or rough seas the boats will not go and it is very difficult to get another slot close to the time. It is accessible from may to September and is around €70 per person and there is the physical effort required along with some scrambling on the way to the summit which quite steep in places. Safety briefings take place at the base of the steps that lead up the 700 feet to the Monastery. There is also an option to take a boat trip around the Islands from Portmagee.

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Killarney in November

Killarney in November

Killarney in November

Visiting Killarney in November can be a great time to visit, the Autumn colours are still here and a great time to experience another side of Killarney.

    • The locals will have more time to give to visitors in our Town on top of the usual welcome.
    • The days may be shorter but the atmosphere in Bars and Restaurants improves with open fires and homely atmospheres.
    • The Hotel room rates and lower and end of season shopping can offer some great bargains.
    • The woodlands and walks are beautiful this time of the year colours, one example is the Arbutus (Strawberry Tree) in full fruit and can be seen in the National park.
    • The Native Red Deer is still fairly active and easier to see with less vegetation.
    • Lower Sunlight a photographers dream great sunrises, sunsets and midday opportunities for some great Videos and Photographs.
    • Watch the Deer and floodlit Castle from the Outdoor Hot tub at the Lake Hotel

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Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Killarney Hotel to introduce a Craft Beer from an Old Family Recipe dating back to 1912 AD

The Huggard family at the Lake Hotel are introducing Beers like the ones made by their Grandparents during both Wars in the last Century. The Flagship Beer will be called “Martin Huggard 1912”

Craft Beer in Killarney

Craft Beer in Killarney

Visit the Lakeside Bistro overlooking the Lakes of Killarney

An Irish Pale Ale worthy of his name :

Huggard Craft Beer in Killarney

Huggard Craft Beer in Killarney


A few things about Martin Huggard :

  • He was a hands on Entrepreneur ran a shop along with two Hotels in Waterville Co. Kerry
  • A decade later Martin and Julia Mary started Ireland’s first Hotel chain, 7 hotels in all
  • Martin supplied the Gresham Hotel in Dublin with wine during the second World war from Waterville.
  • Due to rations in hard times Martin brewed Beer regularly and was able to supply the Royal in Valentia and the Lake Hotel in Killarney
  • Martin was also a Fisherman and a Farmer but now put all his efforts into the Hotels offering traditional Hospitality and local produce.
  • The Huggard’s became Ireland’s first Hotel school with the “Huggard trained” standard which is still remembered by many in the industry today….more….

Martin Huggard’s 1912 beer is bottle conditioned, few people will be offering such a traditional and artisan way of getting beer into a bottle, and as a result the taste is so much more tasty and natural.


Our Brewing Process

1:   Select only the best ingredients

2:   Add a characterful master brewer (Nik ‘the hat’) and traditional brewing equipment

3:   Heat pure filtered spring water to around 70 degrees C

4:   Mix this fresh heated water with your specialist selection of malts and leave for an hour or so

5:   Drain off the malt extract (wort)

6:   Boil with our secret selection of hops for another hour or so

7:   Drain off and cool the resulting crafted wort into a fermenter

8:   Add our strain of yeast and let the magic begin

Killarney beer

Killarney beer

Now serving Draught (from the tap) in the Devil’s Punchbowl Bar at the Lake Hotel

For non Beer drinkers

For non Beer drinkers 🙂 try a “Lakeside Dream” overlooking the Lakes of Killarney.


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Torc Mountain Killarney

Torc Mountain Killarney

Torc Mountain Killarney


There is a great walking trail on Torc Mountain that you can climb to the summit via Railway sleepers and stone steps. The views at the top are amazing as you can see on the video below, You can start at Torc Waterfall or an easier option is to start at the Upper Car park on the Queens drive which is the next left after the entrance to Muckross House.


Torc Mountain Killarney from Vacation Killarney on Vimeo.


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