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The no. 1 day tour in Killarney... for 250 years!

The no. 1 day tour in Killarney… for 250 years!

The tour has a number of variations. The day can be tailored to the needs of the passengers involved. These options include taking the tour in reverse order (taking the boat part of the tour from Ross Castle in the morning). Passengers may also choose to walk the Gap of Dunloe rather than take the pony and carriage or rent bikes in Killarney and cycle the tour. The following are the options which can be chosen:

Bus, Boat, Walk or Carriage

This is the most popular and is the traditional way to see the Gap of Dunloe and National Park.
The tour starts at 10am at our office in the Old Weir Lodge on the Muckross Road (12 minutes walk from the centre of Killarney, free parking is provided). The tour has the following itinerary:

  • A coach leaves from the Old Weir Lodge at 10am (you can leave your car there for the duration of the tour, and go into the reception where you will get your tickets) to bring passengers to Kate Kearney’s Cottage at the start of the Gap of Dunloe (14 kilometres).
  • At Kate Kearney’s Cottage, passengers may choose whether to walk through the Gap of Dunloe or to take the pony and carriage. The distance is 11 kilometres (7 miles), the road is sealed and hiking boots are not required but comfortable shoes are! The walk generally takes 2 – 2.5 hours. The pony and carriage ride is paid for upon arrival at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and is not included in the online booking price. Please note: Due to the remote location, please be prepared to pay cash rather than using credit cards. This part of the tour generally takes 1.5 hours and a commentary is provided by the driver.
  • The pony and carriage/walk ends at Lord Brandon’s Cottage which is at the end of the Gap of Dunloe, here, passengers may have tea/coffee, soup and sandwiches at a little cafe (not included in the price and cash only).At 2pm the boats leave to bring all passengers through the 3 lakes and 2 rivers of the National Park. The boat section is often considered to be the highlight of the tour with folklore and legends delivered by the local boat drivers while passing through scenery which hasn’t changed since the last ice age; 10,000 years ago. Note: depending on water levels on the day of the tour, there may be a short woodland walk. This walk is a maximum of 10 minutes and is to allow the boat to traverse a particularly shallow area. 
  • The boat tour finishes at Ross Castle at roughly 3.30pm. Passengers disembark at the castle and go straight to the waiting coach. This is the same coach that dropped everybody at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. The coach transports all passengers back to the Old Weir Lodge (2 Kilometres).


Another way to do the tour, would be to hire bicycles in one of the local bike rentals in Killarney on the morning of the tour.

Cyclists then travel down to Ross Castle where the bikes are put in the boats for transport to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. Note: The boats leave Ross Castle at 10.30am.

Bikes are taken from Ross Castle to Lord Brandon’s Cottage only as this allows passengers the rest of the day to cycle the 11km through the Gap of Dunloe and the 14km from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Killarney at their leisure. Bike rental is not included in the price of the tour. 


 For those that wish to take the boat from Ross Castle in the morning but are not interested in the horse and carriage, there is the option to walk the Gap of Dunloe. Transport from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Killarney would need to be organised separately or can be arranged on request. Note: The boats leave Ross Castle at 10.30am. 

Boat only

Another option would be to leave your car at Ross Castle, take the boat ride up the Lakes to Lord Brandon’s Cottage (leaving Ross Castle at 10.30am), where passengers may have a snack at the little café. Passengers may take a little stroll around this peaceful and scenic area which is on the shores of the Upper Lake, and at 2.00pm, return again to Ross Castle by boat, and back to your car. Note: depending on water levels on the day of the tour, there may be a short woodland walk. This walk is a maximum of 10 minutes and is to allow the boat to traverse a particularly shallow area. 

All tours must be pre-booked, as we only send the number of boats for the amount of people we know are doing the trip. All tours are subject to a 24 hour cancellation policy.



Killarney Day Tour route

What people have to say…

“This was our favourite day in Ireland. The Gap of Dunloe scenery is simply stunning! Booking a tour is the easiest way to do the whole route without worrying about getting back to your car. The walk was so so beautiful! It was a little longer then we thought, we figured around 11 to 11.5km. but you can soak it all in instead of driving through quickly. Our 11 yr old son did it no problem though and we had lots of time to sit at Brandon’s cottage after the walk and have lunch there before the boat left (they have soups and sandwiches, drinks and some goodies). Only one of the groups on our bus did the jaunting car, the majority of people walked. The boat ride after the walk was an hour, and again incredible scenery. It ends at Ross Castle and the bus takes you back to your car at the Old Wier Lodge. It’s a fabulous day out, with loads of photo opportunities.”
Liz, Waterloo, Canada

“My wife and truly enjoyed every part of this tour. After booking online, we met at the Old Weir Lodge where we were transferred to Kate Kearney’s Cottage were we hired a horse-drawn Jaunting Car tour though the Gap of Dunloe. You could drive this narrow road, but it would be too fast and you would be unable to experience the open-air sights, sounds and feeling of this remarkable place. After the Jaunting Car tour, we lunched at Lord Brandon’s Cottage before boarding a small motor driven boat to tour the lakes and rivers of Killarney National Park ending at Ross Castle. Once we arrived at the castle we were transferred back to the Old Weir Lodge. This tour is the stuff of great memories.”
Rehclass, Westminster, California

RSDL O’Donoghue Limited t/a Killarney Boat Tours,
Lahard, Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland • Tel: +353 87 261 7967
Email: info@killarneyboattours.com