Killarney National Park—set along the scenic Ring of Kerry—is a popular tourist attraction in the southwest of Ireland. Its 25,000 acres encompass lakes, forests, bogs, and foothills. The park’s transportation hub is the city of Killarney, which is well-connected to many major cities in Ireland.
Cork is Ireland’s southern hub and the closest major city to Killarney. Many also start their trips to the park from Limerick, which is near to Shannon Airport—Ireland’s western international airport.
Despite the distance, you can also visit Killarney National Park from Dublin. The east and west coasts of Ireland are linked by numerous highways, bus routes, and trains. For a quicker trip, you can also take a flight from Dublin to Kerry Airport.
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
A 1.5-hour drive along national road N22 with get you from Cork to Killarney. Rental cars and private transfers—available in both the city center and at the airport—are great options. Direct buses share a similar journey time (1.5 hours) and depart regularly from Cork’s main station, Parnell Place.
The train is another alternative. Early and late departures are direct and stay consistent with a 1.5-hour travel time. Other departures, however, require one connection in Mallow, adding about 30 minutes to the trip.
Once in Killarney, it’s best to enjoy Killarney National Park by car. The Ring of Kerry route (road N71) is home to some of Ireland’s most picturesque scenery. But if you don’t have your own vehicle, there are some private transfers and tour companies that take you through the park. You can check with the tourist office in Killarney.
If you’re interested in Ireland’s popular walking and hiking trails, County Cork is full of them. This 8-day walking itinerary makes a journey from Killarney to Cork, adding in numerous stops along the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.
From Limerick (Shannon Airport)
Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours
Limerick is the hub of Shannon Airport and connected to Killarney by national roads N21 and N23. Rental cars and private transfers are the fastest option, taking just 1.5 hours. Regional buses—operated by Ireland’s bus service, Bus Éireann—follow a similar route along N22/23. Some departures do require a connection in Tralee, so travel times range from 2 to 3 hours. If starting at Shannon Airport, a second connection in Limerick is necessary, adding about 30 additional minutes to the overall trip.
You can also reach Killarney by train, but keep in mind that the routes aren’t direct and require two connections (one at the Limerick Junction station and another in Mallow) and can take up to 3 hours.
For travel between Killarney and Killarney National Park, see the previous option.
Duration: 1.5 - 6.5 hours
Dublin is directly linked to Ireland’s southwest coast. The fastest way to reach Killarney is by flight, with Aer Lingus offering two daily departures to Kerry Airport. From the airport, a 20-minute taxi or private transfer will get you to Killarney. Rental cars can also be booked at Kerry Airport.
If you prefer to drive, major highways cross the country and connect the capital city with Killarney in about 3.5 hours. Buses take a similar route, but require a connection in Limerick and take 6-6.5 hours.
Trains are another option, connecting Killarney and Dublin in about 3.5 hours via the town of Mallow. For better details of the journey, check out How to Get from Dublin to Killarney. For travel between Killarney and Killarney National Park, see the first option.