We are lucky to have some amazing National Parks in Ireland, with wonderful examples in each corner of the country.
We have selected some of our favourites which feature on our tours below.
If the one you would like to visit is not listed be sure to get in touch with us and we will gladly set up a tour for you to incorporate it.
Killarney, County Kerry
Killarney National Park located in the south west of Ireland is the ideal starting point for any tour in Kerry – hiking the Kerry Way or cycling/ driving the Ring of Kerry. Covering an area of approx. 26,000 acres there is an amazing array of attractions to see here.
To name a few attractions, the Park is home to:
- Muckross House – a 19th century mansion
- McGillycuddy Reeks – mountain range including Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil
- Lakes of Killarney – 3 wonderful lakes – Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake
- Torc Waterfall – a 20 metre high waterfall on the Owengarriff River, flowing from the Devil’s Punchbowl at Mangerton Mountain.
- Ross Castle – 15th century castle on the shores of Killarney’s Lower Lake (Leane)
- Killarney House – an 18th century mansion, formerly the seat of the Kenmare Estate
In 1981 UNESCO declared the Park a Biosphere Reserve – meaning it is a “learning place for sustainable development.
The Burren, County Clare
Located on the west coast of Ireland, along the Wild Atlantic Way, Burren National Park is one of the most breathtaking and unique locations in the world.
This 1,500 acre park showcases all the contrasting habitats within the Burren region – limestone landscapes, woodlands, lakes, springs, the flora and fauna. A barren, limestone area would not be the location you would expect to find some of the most rare flowers. However, the mixture of the soil that appears there along with the nutrients from the stone lends itself to the growth of nutrient rich hers and flowers.
The Burren has often been referred to as the “Fertile Rock”.
The Park is also home to Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, home to some rare birds, animals and trees.
If you are visiting on one of our driving tours you can venture a little further west to see Poulnabrone Dolmen – a spectacular example of a portal tomb.
Glenveagh, County Donegal
Glenveagh National Park is the 2nd largest park in Ireland, covering over 40,000 acres. It is located around 20km from Gweedore in Donegal. Similar to Killarney it is located in the shadow of a spectacular mountain range, Derryveagh Mountains, with a vast lake and forestry.
There is numerous hiking options in the park from nature walks to lake walks to hill walks – something for everyone.
At the centre of the park is a 19th century castle – Glenveagh Castle, nestled on the shore of Lough Veagh. Built from local granite between 1867 & 1873 the castle is now open for the public to explore, along with the nearby Visitors Center.
Glenarriff, County Antrim
Technically not a National Park, but very much worthy of a mention, Glenariff Forest Park in Northern Ireland covers almost 3,000 acres between the town of Ballymena and the east Antrim Coast.
Known as the Queen of the Glen (there are 9 in Antrim) Glenariff is home to some wonderful lakes, woodland, conservation areas and, of course, the much photographed waterfalls.
There are multiple walking routes around the park – varying from 0.6km up to 3km.
The Antrim Coast & Glens 8-Day Hike visit this park…… if you would like to explore!
If you are on a Northern Ireland Driving Tour you are only a short drive away from the rugged Antrim Coast and the renowned Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
There are 3 more National Parks in Ireland – 2 of which are included in our tours.
On the Wild Atlantic Way Guided Tour we call to Connemara National Park in County Galway.
Our Wicklow Way Self-Guided Hikes all pass through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, along with Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow.
The final one is Ballycroy National Park, located in County Mayo close to Nephin Beg Mountain. This can be included in a custom tour if it is on your bucket list.