Innisfallen Island

Welcome to Innisfallen Island, a hidden gem nestled amidst the serene beauty of nature in Killarney National Park. This enchanting deserted island holds a treasure trove of history, breathtaking sights, and captivating legends just waiting to be explored.

Join me on a journey as we delve into the secrets and wonders of Innisfallen Island.

Exploring the Enchanting Innisfallen Island

This hidden gem is a must-visit for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Located in the picturesque waters of Lough Leane in the Killarney National Park, County Kerry. Innisfallen Island offers a truly unique and captivating experience. It is the largest island on Lough Leane.

Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey
Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey

As you step foot onto the island, you’ll be transported to a world of tranquility. The lush greenery, sparkling lake, and towering ancient trees create a breathtaking backdrop for your adventure. 

Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey
Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey

You might even see a herd of deer on the stunning island and you might think about how the deer got there. They swam from the mainland.

But it’s not just the natural beauty that makes this beautiful Island special. The island is also home to a wealth of historical structures that hold centuries of stories and secrets. From the ancient abbey ruins to the oratory, every step you take on the island will bring you closer to its rich history.

Roman architecture doorway in the oratory at Innisfallen Island
Roman architecture doorway in the oratory at Innisfallen Island

Whether you’re a history buff, an avid photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Innisfallen Island has something for everyone. Join me as we embark on a journey to uncover the hidden treasures that await on this enchanting island.

Getting to Innisfallen Island: Directions and Tips

Here are some insider tips on how to navigate your way to this enchanting destination.

1. Get a Curragh Boat Hire to the Island

2 Small boats moored at Ross Castle
Small boats moored at Ross Castle

One of the most popular ways to reach Innisfallen Island is by taking a curragh boat. These traditional Irish motorised boats offer a unique and authentic experience as you glide across the sparkling waters of the Lough Leane Lake.

Keep in mind that curragh boats are subject to weather conditions, so it’s always a good idea to check in advance. The person in charge of steering the boat will provide you with detailed information about the island during your journey.

Ross Castle Boats
Ross Castle Boats

They will also highlight Mouse Island and the island where O’Donoghue was imprisoned.

The cost per person for this experience is €45 during the summer months and €35 during the spring & autumn months and the boat journey will take you 20 minutes to get to the island. They will give you about an hour on the island and you can get a boat ride from Ross Castle.

2. Kayak to the Island

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not kayak to Innisfallen Island? Paddle at your own pace and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings. Just make sure to bring your own kayak or rent one from a local provider.

Remember to wear appropriate safety gear and check the weather conditions before setting off. It is about 1 mile from Ross Castle to the island and you can go as a group.

3. Get a Cruise Around the Island (Non-Landing)

If you prefer a leisurely experience, opt for a cruise around Innisfallen Island. These scenic boat trips allow you to admire the beauty of the island from the water without getting off.

Ross Castle on a frosty morning
Ross Castle

Relax and enjoy the breathtaking views while learning about the history and natural wonders from knowledgeable guides. The boat trips leave from Ross Castle and cost €8 for a child – €38 for a family.

Lily in Killarney Boat moored at Ross Castle
Lily in Killarney Boat moored at Ross Castle

Whichever option you choose, be sure to plan your trip in advance and check for any updates or restrictions.

Uncovering the Fascinating Structures of Innisfallen Island

As you explore Innisfallen Island, you will come across a variety of intriguing structures that add to its charm and historical significance. The Abbey was founded in 640 by Saint Finian but the extensive ruins on the island date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Picture of 2 trees taller than the ruin of Innisfallen Abbey
Innisfallen Abbey

One of the most prominent structures on the island is the ruins of the 13th-century Innisfallen Abbey. These ancient walls hold secrets from centuries past and offer a glimpse into the island’s rich history. Marvel at the intricate stonework and imagine the lives of monks who once inhabited this sacred place.

Roman architecture doorway and window in the oratory at Innisfallen Island
Roman architecture doorway and window in the oratory at Innisfallen Island

Another fascinating structure is the Hiberno-Romanesque oratory, standing tall amidst the lush greenery. Built in the 12th century, it is to the right of where the boatman will be dropping you off.

The ancient monastery was a renowned centre of learning and played a crucial role in the development of Irish literature and scholarship. It is said that the famous Annals of Innisfallen were written within these walls.

Marvel at the fascinating architecture of Innisfallen Island

The architecture of Innisfallen Island is a captivating blend of ancient craftsmanship and natural beauty. From the detailed carvings on the ruins of the Christian monastery structure to the imposing presence of the 12th-century Augustinian priory each building tells its own story.

Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey
Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey

Notice the intricate stone masonry and the arched windows of the abbey, showcasing the skill and artistry of the builders. The oratory has a beautiful Hiberno-Romanesque doorway, dating from the twelfth century.

Delving into the Rich History of Innisfallen Island

Step back in time and take a journey through the rich history of this ancient Island. This small piece of land holds countless stories and events that have shaped its identity over the centuries.

The Important Role Innisfallen Island Played in History

Uncover the significant role that Innisfallen Island played in the past. From being a centre of learning and spirituality to a strategic location, this island has left its mark on Ireland’s history. It was believed that King Brian Boru was educated on this island.

Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey
Ruin of Innisfallen Abbey

As you delve deeper into the rich history of the Island, you’ll gain a profound appreciation for its heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

The Famous Annals of Innisfallen

One of the island’s most significant historical treasures is the Annals of Innisfallen. These medieval manuscripts offer invaluable insights into early Irish history.

Written by the monks who resided on the island, these annals chronicle events such as Viking raids, royal successions, and religious developments. It’s a fascinating glimpse into Ireland’s past.

Unraveling Ancient Stories

These tales have been retold and embellished, adding to the rich tapestry of legends. One such story is

The stone cross in the oratory at Innisfallen Island
The stone cross in the oratory

It is believed that the Vikings raided the island and seized a cross. As they were returning to the mainland in their boat, the weight of the cross proved to be too burdensome, prompting them to remove the precious gemstones and discard the cross overboard.

Who were the last people to leave the island?

The abbey was seized from the monks in the 16th century by Elizabeth I.

Preserving the Island’s Heritage

Efforts have been made to preserve Innisfallen Island’s historical and ecological significance. Conservation initiatives ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate this unique destination. Visitors are encouraged to respect the island’s fragile ecosystem and adhere to responsible tourism practices.

Wheelchair users?

Regrettably, wheelchair users currently cannot access the island. The larger boats can’t dock there because it is too shallow.


Getting to the island is an adventure in itself, with options such as taking a curragh boat hire, kayaking, or enjoying a cruise around the island. Once you arrive, you will be captivated by the architecture and historical significance of the structures, which give a glimpse into the island’s past.

You will gain a deeper appreciation for the important role it played in history and the impact it has had on the surrounding area.