Killarney is a beautiful place to visit for at least three big reasons. First of all, because it's in Ireland, then there is the town itself, which is quite charming, and it's famous for the lakes and lush natural beauty all around it, part of the Killarney National Park. So perhaps the main reason the visitors come here is for the natural beauty of the lakes and the famous ride around the peninsula called the Ring of Kerry, but here you will see that the town itself is also a great reason to come and stay and spend some time.
In this page we are going to focus on the town we will have a look at the main streets, the shops and we will take you into several of their excellent restaurants. Following is the text of the movie. Photos, videos, links and maps will be added later.
More than a dozen of the pubs and restaurants feature Irish music on a daily basis, such as Scruffy's Bar. Families are always welcome in the pubs of Ireland, where local people usually outnumber the visitors. Music is one of the many ways that traditional Irish culture is being maintained and nourished in these modern days.
Killarney is the most popular town in the country for visitors, outside of Dublin, and in this page you will see why.
Killarney is in County Kerry, just about three hours from Dublin by car or train.
It's a fairly small town with just three main streets, and it's about 800 meters from one end to the other. Population is just 15,000 people, and yet there's plenty to see and do. The streets are filled with really good shops, and some excellent restaurants, and a lot of pubs with food, conversation drinks and music.
Another special feature of the town is that most of the shops and restaurants are family-owned rather than being part of a big chain, and the typical big high fancy stores that you see all over the world. These shops have their own unique character and the people who work there are friendly.
Our visit happened in the month of May, which is considerably less-crowded in the summer. Perhaps one of the only problems about Killarney is that it's too popular, and it could get a little congested if you're here in the peak season of June and July. And yet the weather in the summer is really quite lovely. That's what brings people here. Ireland does not usually get very hot. Of course you're going to have some rain, the most famous element of Irish weather. That's what keeps it green, keeps the streets clean.
This is the center of town where New Street, High Street and Main Street all come together at a crossroads.
Killarney does have nice wide sidewalks in the downtown area, with trees and some benches, and the shops each seem to be unique. It's not like going to a big shopping mall with a diverse mix of shops, restaurants and pubs.
Cars drive down the street, so this section is not a pedestrian zone, but with this layout, it's easy to take a comfortable stroll.
Some other Irish towns have a pedestrian zone, such as in Galway, and Kinsale, and parts of Dublin, but most towns don't.
Around the corner you'll get to Plunkett Street, which is a little different – its more narrow, it's one lane, and you see people are just strolling in the road. Occasionally it is reserved just for pedestrians. It's much more friendly to people out strolling. Hardly any cars come down Plunkett and when they do, they'll drive slowly, so it's very safe.
At the end Plunkett merges into College Street, which is also a very nice retail neighborhood. Being so pedestrian friendly, it supports a nice range of shops and restaurants, and there are even some AirB&Bs that you could rent here.
We're going to drop in on a handful of restaurants and talk to the owners and workers, and get a feeling for the food and the place.
The four-star International Hotel is one of the finest and oldest hotels in the city, established in 1906. Inside there are a couple of restaurants, including Hannigan's, an excellent gastropub.
So it's called Hannigan's Restaurant and we have lots of different Irish foods like roast lamb, stews, everything served with potatoes, they’re Irish again vegetables and lovely desserts, and everything.
And here comes the food. Hello.
Some of the dishes you could enjoy here include seared rump of farm fresh lamb, roast duckling, fillet of organic salmon and some vegetarian dishes, chickpea and spinach burger, and vegetarian curry.
The International Hotel has been operated since 1976 by the present owner, Sean and Frankie Coyne.
The Laurels is a famous and traditional Killarney pub, which has been run by the O'Leary family for almost a century, and little has changed in that time. Like many others in Ireland, this would be considered a gastropub with high-quality food, and typical for Killarney, you will get excellent service here, and eat at the bar if you wish.
Another popular restaurant is Cronin’s, and like so many of these Killarney restaurants, it's multi-generational ownership.
“Welcome to Cronin's Restaurant, opened in 1957 by my grandmother. I'm the third generation. There is no fourth that we're aware of the moment. We are open 12:15 until 9 o'clock every evening. Local cuisine, all local sources, very good. Cronin's Restaurant, Killarney.”
They take pride in serving their guests the freshest locally sourced produce such as smoked salmon from Kenmare, award-winning Ring of Kerry lamb, Irish Hereford beef, and you can't beat that friendly, smiling service.
Another legendary Killarney pub is Danny Mann, with live Irish music most nights, and full-service menu.
It must be acknowledged that some critics dismiss Killarney as a touristic town full of bus tours and all that. And yes, while it is very popular with visitors, it has managed to hang onto a traditional feeling. It's one of the most attractive towns in the country, which is a big part of the reason why so many tourists come here.
Let's check out another family-run gastropub The Porterhouse.
“The Porterhouse, we’re a gastropub in Killarney and we do a wide range of dishes. Lots of steaks, and fish and chips, a bit of everything to suit everybody's palates, vegetarian, vegan, right across the board.”
Very good, and you're very busy, a big restaurant. Live music every night. Live music exclamation Mark
They've also got stuffed mushrooms, Kenmare prawns, gourmet burgers, they've got porterhouse-style fajitas, and they are renowned for their dry, aged, chargrilled Angus steaks. All the produce is sourced from local suppliers. It's a large restaurant, but the way they've divided up the space, it all feels very cozy and intimate – located on that pedestrian friendly Plunkett Street.
You can also enjoy some international fine dining.
And what's the French and Irish things, and tables is him and him
You can also enjoy some international fine dining.
And what's the cuisine?
“It's a French, French and Irish cuisine. And the name of the restaurant?
Treyvaud’s. French and Irish? French and Irish cuisine.”
So you are not limited to Irish food in a pub in Killarney. There is a big range of choices available for you, including French.
Also on High Street you've got another hybrid restaurant with Italian and Irish, Salvador's, another place owned and operated by the third generation.
And here I can personally vouch for the food because I had a fantastic Irish stew, steaming hot, one of the most traditional meals of the country, washed down with some Guinness.
"Yeah, it's Salvador's Restaurant.”
And what kind of food?
“Oh, mixed, everything, Pizza, yes, stews, Irish stews, curry, meat dishes It's kind of like a bistro. My grandparents started this up as a chipper, in the 60s, 70s.”
The restaurants that I'm showing here are typical of many of the other restaurants that you're going to find in town, so I am not pretending this is a selection of the top five restaurants in Killarney.
There are many excellent places to pick from, such as Mac's on Main Street.
While tourists are a big part of their market, local people also eat in these restaurants and shop in the stores. These repeat customers inspire quality control, so the businesses have to do a good job year-round to provide excellent service, quality food, and decent prices, and they do.
“We're here in Mac’s Restaurant in MainStreet in Killarney, County Kerry, by the lakes of Killarney. And we are a fish and steak house and we do Shepherds Pie, and we do a nice seafood chowder, lots of Irish cuisine, lots of European dishes
And we welcome all local and European and International customers
You will find Irish hospitality here at its very, very best.”
A slow trickle of tourists began arriving in Killarney way back in the mid-1700s. A century later, in 1853, the railroad arrived and that began to really increase tourism. Right next to Mac's, we come upon J.M. Reidy’s, a legendary business that opened up back in the 1870s. J.M. Reidy’s is probably the most fascinating of all the restaurant pubs in Killarney, because it's about the oldest, and one of the largest, and most diverse. Originally it was three separate stores. There was a grocer, a bakery and a hardware agricultural supply store. Later it was consolidated into the one diverse business that we see today. There's a pub, restaurant and a bakery. It sprawls over quite a large area, and it includes a central open courtyard that's a very popular community gathering spot for private parties, as well as open dining and drinking. And it's a sometimes rock club. Don't think that Killarney is strictly old-fashioned Irish music. This is a very hip town, with a lot of young people.