Yours to Explore
If you’ve come to Kerry for the scenery and the remoteness, you’ll certainly find them in Killarney; miles and miles of mountain and moorland where the heather and the bracken are broken only by the occasional lake ; smooth hills whose fragrant, tussocky grass is covered with sea pinks, speedwells, thrift and red campion and that fragment into jagged rocks as they reach down to the lake shores.
Self guiding nature trails are a great way to explore Killarney and its environs. You can learn much about the interesting history, flora and fauna at your own pace. There are numerous trails to choose from. For example, The Fossa Way, The Old Boathouse Trail or the Arthur Young Trail which takes you through yew woodland and to the 19th century copper mines of the Muckross Peninsula.
Between 2007 and 2011, some 100 white-tailed eagles were brought from Norway and reintroduced to Killarney after an absence of 110 years. Of the 73 survivors, six have paired and hopes are high for the first chicks in 2013. Watch out for these magnificent birds on your travels with their 2.5 metre wing span and distinctive white tail, these mature birds are highly visible.
Killarney is also a joy for the angler. Rivers such as the Flesk, which flows into loch Lein , get a good run of spring salmon and a great run of peel. Brown and sea-trout enter the river around July. The river Laune flows from the Killarney Lakes to the sea at Killorglin. It has excellent salmon, trout and sea trout. Permits are necessary for the rivers and the stocked lakes. A brown trout permit for the Flesk is €5 a day; salmon and sea trout €30 a day. No permit is required for trout fishing on the Killarney Lakes.
No visit to Killarney would be complete without seeking out giant stags and their herds. The Red Deer in Ireland probably date from the end of the Mesolithic period (6,500 – 4,000BC) and were most likely introduced here by the first farmers. Today they roam freely in Killarney National Park. Each April the stags shed their antlers. The calves are born in June. Look out also for the smaller Japanese deer with white rumps, introduced in 1861. Red Deer can be seen in Knockreer Estate (opposite St Mary’s cathedral) or at Muckross, especially early in the morning.