Wild and beautiful, inspiring and exciting, Ireland's energy and romance have often lured travelers to its welcoming shores. Fresh clean air, breath-taking scenery and the warm traditional Irish culture all combine to great effect.
With some of the friendliest people in the world, this surprisingly diverse island can keep you and the family entertained, whether it’s high adrenaline adventure or self-indulgent luxury.
Approximately one hour from the UK and six hours from the US, getting there has never been easier, with selected airlines now flying directly to Ireland. And if flying isn’t your thing then the ferry is an option from the British mainland, also allowing you to take your car across if you prefer.
Our trip took us to Killarney, situated in the centre of County Kerry, southwestern Ireland. A popular tourist destination, dating back to the Bronze Age, there was plenty to see and do. The town offered a variety of accommodation ranging from traditional bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, as well as plenty of shops, traditional Irish pubs, golf, fishing, walking, cycling and dining all in the midst of the magnificent scenery.
The Lake Hotel
Nestling on the lake of Lough Lein, Killarney’s lower lake, and about a one and a half mile walk from the Killarney town The Lake Hotel enjoys the most magnificent setting with the truly unique backdrop of the mountains, islands, woodlands and the 12th century McCarthy Mór castle ruins. The Lake Hotel is a four-star property run by the Huggard Family and has been welcoming guests since 1820.
Now run by the next generation of Huggard's who are all involved in the daily running of the Hotel, giving it a very traditional and homely feel. The hotel has received remarkable success including the receipt of several national quality awards for cuisine, quality service and hospitality. A showcase of historical memorabilia are dotted around the various communal, revealing the then and now of years gone by
Just beyond the doors of the Lake Hotel is The Killarney National Pak, which extends over 25,000 acres and encompasses the famous Lakes of Killarney, the peaks of Mangerton, Torc, Shehy and the Purple mountain as well as the MacGuillicuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range.
We stayed in one of the lake rooms with a view of the magnificent landscape, certainly a breathtaking sight to wake up to each morning. Others may prefer rooms offering the more low-key beauty of the woodland areas to the front of the hotel, where the deer roam freely. The reintroduction of the wild white-tailed sea eagles at the National Park is a wonderful project and these majestic creatures are a sight to behold swooping across the lakes and mountains in full view of hotel guests.
For those special occasions The Four Poster Deluxe Lake View rooms are all located on the top floor of the hotel and therefore have unparalleled views of the lake, mountains and National Park. All rooms offer enclosed balcony and lounge seating and have the added luxury of a fireplace for extra warmth and wellbeing. The Jacuzzi bath and classic four-poster bed make this room type special and one to consider for a couples break away at any time of the year.
Outdoors Ireland was a great experience! These guys are specialists in team building, training courses and adventure breaks. With a fantastic knowledge of the environment and a natural instinct to share their skills we certainly came away with a unique insight of this beautiful countryside from a variety of angles. Be it high on a hillside or skimming over water.
Jason McGloin was our guide for our hiking, rock climbing and abseiling in The Gap Of Dunloe, and the kayaking in The Deep Sparkling Lakes Of Killarney.
Having worked and trained in the outdoor adventure industry since 2004 and recently completed an Outdoor Education, Leisure and Geography Degree, Jason couldn't have been a better guide. He was truly passionate and enthusiastic, sharing a variety and wealth of instructional experience and environmental facts. He enjoyed every aspect of his work and this certainly showed in the time we shared together.
Throughout all of the activities Jason was very helpful and made you feel in control of whatever task you were completing. Weather you were leading the hike up the mountain or he was going through kayak strokes on the lake, his knowledge of the wildlife and surrounding area is extremely vast which made the experience even more fun and captivating.
The kayaking trip across Ireland's famous Lakes of Killarney and exploring hidden Inlets and Islands was a memorable new experience where we mastered our kayaking skills. We began at 15th century Ross Castle, and paddled into Lough Lein, discovering wooded islands, limestone caves and local history. We stepped on shore and landed at the ancient ruins of Innisfallen Abbey; once a leper colony, now home only to native red deer. It was here Jason gave us a great history lesson of the scenic areas.
The activities available at Outdoors Ireland cater for novice or skilled adventurer and come highly recommended.
Poppy Watt & Anish Suren