Killarney, Ireland, is somewhat of a hidden gem in the Irish tourism scene. Although many visitors use Killarney as a home base for exploring the beautiful Ring of Kerry, Killarney itself has much to offer. The city maintains an authentic feel with a small yet bustling city center, and live music can be heard in almost every pub. Adding to Killarney’s charm are the friendly locals, tasty Guinness, and great food. Killarney is an amazing little city and is well worth a visit when traveling in Ireland!
Sunnybank B&B: If you are looking for an affordable, comfortable, clean, and welcoming B&B to stay at while in Killarney, look no further. Sunnybank B&B is conveniently located just 200 meters, or a three minute walk, from the city center. The rooms are large and all have ensuite bathrooms. The customer service from Brendan and his staff is unbeatable. You are sure to be greeted with a warm welcome and suggestions for what to see and do in the area. Even better? A full Irish breakfast of bacon, sausage, tomato, eggs, toast, yogurt, cereal, juice, coffee, and tea is included each morning. Tea, coffee, and biscuits are available 24 hours in the main living area. I highly recommend Sunnybank B&B for your next stay in Killarney.
Murphy’s Bar: Murphy’s Bar offers reasonably priced, authentic Irish fare in a laid back atmosphere. The food is good – I recommend the seafood chowder and the Guinness casserole. Live music starts at 9:30 every night. Come early if you intend to get a seat for the session, as they do not accept reservations. If you prefer something a little more formal, Murphy’s has a sit down restaurant upstairs called Lord Kenmare’s. They have excellent food and reservations are accepted upstairs.
Bricin Restaurant: The Bricin, located on High Street, is regarded highly by both tourists and locals. The food consists of contemporary spins on traditional Irish dishes. Specifically, the Bricin is known for its boxty, or Irish potato pancakes, done in a variety of ways. Note that the Bricin is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
O’Connor’s Pub: This traditional Irish pub is an excellent spot to watch some live Irish music, whether it is a formal band or an impromptu session. There is a decent tap selection, and the pub serves food in their restaurant on the second floor, with the exception of Sundays. Located on High Street.
The Shire: Any self-respecting Lord of the Rings fan must pay a visit to The Shire Pub, a Lord of the Rings-themed pub in the heart of Killarney’s city center. Sadly, the bar tenders were not hobbits, and thankfully Gollum was not lurking around any corners. Despite my dismay at the lack of hobbits, I was excited to see that The Shire offered their own special shire beers – Frodo’s Lager, Bilbo’s Beer, and Gandalf’s Ale, all brewed locally. Enjoy a pint while watching live music on Wednesdays or Sundays.
The Failte: Yet another wonderful pub in the city center, the Failte offers great beer, entertainment, and food. Although short on atmosphere, the Failte’s upstairs restaurant has wonderful food. Reservations are recommended. Although all of the food was absolutely delicious, I recommend the peppercorn steak or the wild venison steak with red cabbage salad, seasonable vegetables, and a hearty brown gravy.
The Grand Hotel: This is where the best of the best musicians come to jam and perform every night of the week. It is a very popular place and it is recommended to arrive early if you intend to score a seat near the performers, especially on weekends. Music typically starts at 8:30 PM and lasts until 10:30 or 11.
The Irish Whiskey Experience: The Irish Whiskey experience was one of the highlights of our stay in Killarney. This restaurant and bar is not only perfect for dinner (the food is wonderful), but they have a variety of whiskey tasting courses available for all levels of whiskey drinkers. We opted for a whiskey and cheese pairing that consisted of four Irish whiskeys and four local cheeses, one to complement each whiskey. We had a wonderful host and teacher named Alan who taught us about the history of whiskey in Ireland, its evolution, methodologies, and tasting notes. Read more about their whiskey tasting courses HERE. Not a whiskey lover? That’s okay. In addition to their 600+ whiskeys available for purchase (in house or bottles for takeaway), the bar also serves multiple craft beers, ciders, and wines. Are you a serious whiskey lover? For 150 euros, you can bottle your own special edition, local cask whiskey to bring home with you. Read more about their menu HERE.