A Magical Resort on a 500-Acre Estate Nestled amid the Beautiful Kerry Mountains and alongside Kenmare Bay
The luxurious Parknasilla Resort & Spa is the perfect getaway if you are on the Ring of Kerry. The place is a dream come true for those looking to relax amid natural beauty.
Overlooking Kenmare Bay, covering about 500 acres, Parknasilla Resort & Spa is set against a backdrop of the beautiful Kerry Mountains, adjoining a small part of the shoreline, which serves as its private beach.
As a guest at Parknasilla Resort & Spa, you can expect true hospitality and four-star service at a destination that offers many activities like – sea kayaking, boat trips, a private beach, spa with a swimming pool, thermal suites, outdoor hot tubs, coastal and forest walking trails, a 12-hole golf course, and tennis courts.
Things to Do in Parknasilla Resort
There’s never a dull moment with so much to do.
Parknasilla has an excellent outdoor playground between the Woodland Villas and Courtyard Lodges.
It even has an indoor play area for rainy days, which has many fun activities and games, including fuse ball, table tennis, mini-bowling (no alley), big connect 4, huge snake & ladders, and why not try your hand at air hockey.
The outdoor playground features a small zip wire, swings, and a slide to keep the young ones engaged while you enjoy the natural beauty around you.
There is an indoor play zone for the kiddies when it is wet.
While any good spa is always a delight, The Spa at Parknasilla Resort is all the more relaxing because of its stunning location. As you step out to the hot tubs or laze on the heated loungers, the scenic ocean view will take your breath away.
From facials and body massages to thermal treatments, The Spa at Parknasilla is the perfect place to pamper yourself. Sothys Paris is Parknasilla’s premium brand spa partner to ensure the best, most indulgent experience for guests.
The spa thermal suite offers experiences specially designed and curated by the thermal specialists Hydrotherm.
Depending on whether you’re looking for a detox, relaxation, or something else, the Laconium thermal suite, and Heated Loungerswill guarantee you a wonderful time. The spa is open from 8 am to 8 pm, and you can avail of treatments from 10 am to 7 pm.
Parknasilla Resort has a heated indoor swimming pool (30 C), two outdoor hot tubs on the terrace overlooking Kenmare Bay, and a fresh seawater hot tub at the pier. Children are allowed in the swimming pool from 10 am to 5:30 pm, and the 8 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 8 pm time slots are blocked for adults only. The pool closes at 8 pm.
The resort also provides free aqua aerobic classes. You can sign up for these at the spa. Expert sea swimmers can also swim in the sea, which can be accessed by Dorothys Beach (private) at the resort.
Parknasilla has two outdoor all-weather tennis courts. The resort provides tennis rackets and balls (you can ask for them at the reception desk if they are not in by the front door).
Parknasilla arranges a ‘meet the owls’ experience, where owls and a falcon from Ring of Kerry Falconry are brought to the resort with an expert, who explains how these birds of prey live in the wild.
You may even be allowed to hold one! It’s a truly wonderful experience, but make sure you check with the resort regarding the available time and dates for the activity.
Golf is definitely one of the most widely enjoyed activities at Parknasilla. The resort has a 12-hole golf course only a short distance away from the hotel building, which is open for both guests and visitors. When you consider Parknasilla’s size and geography, it’s not surprising they have a golf course.
Kenmare Bay, scenic green fairways, and the mountains in the background make the course quite a task and sight. The course is designed for golfers of all levels of expertise and the right combination of broad and tight fairways. Beware though, fierce winds can definitely make for a difficult game at times.
If you fancy a game, you will need to book in advance by calling or emailing the resort. Golf clubs and trolleys (manual) can be rented at the clubhouse. If you arrive early & are waiting for your slot you can use specially designed putting greens.
When at Parknasilla Resort, you can go horse riding at Blackwater Stables, which is just 15 minutes away from the Blackwater Bridge. You can opt for a session duration anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
They have qualified instructors who are excellent at guiding even nervous, first-time riders. The necessary gear (including helmets) and instruction are free of charge.
I recommend an hour-long trek for adults, which entails a leisurely stroll in the local forest, and a 20-minute pony ride for children.
The cost is quite reasonable, considering there are no hidden expenses for other equipment. Alternatively, you can even try horse riding at the Eclipse Center.
Boat Trips, Fishing, and Kayaking
The resort offers a variety of sea kayak tours, led by experienced guides who are adept at the necessary instruction and safety protocols. They also provide wet gear and life jackets at no additional cost.
Parknasilla Resort is partnered with Sunfish Explorer Kayaking Tours and a few others for these activities. Typically, a tour should take about an hour and a half and set you back a small sum. You can check with the concierge desk for timings if you’re interested.
Sunfish Explorer and other designated agents also offer several boat tours from Parknasilla, including RIB boat rides and sea safari boat trips. Again, the necessary gear is provided at no extra charge.
Check with the hotel concierge for timings, and you can even have the hotel prepare a picnic basket for you. Boat trips typically take an hour and a half; of course, you can request for a longer/shorter one as per your preference.
You can also book a fishing trip with any of these agents. Around Parknasilla, you can catch Ling and Conger Eel, Mackerel, and Pollock.
The fishing trip’s cost typically covers the rods and tackle and depends on how long it will be; the usual options are anywhere between one and three hours.
Archery (Covid Restrictions)
You can try your hand at (or practice) archery when at Parknasilla. They have an in-house expert to guide seasoned archers or instruct newbies.
Adults and children (above eight years of age) can opt for lessons as well. Each 45-minute session of archery will cost you a nominal amount, and you can even opt for private tuition (at an added cost).
With a property spanning 500 lush green acres, Parknasilla is heaven for nature lovers. There are many trails that guests who enjoy walking can explore during their stay. Some of these take only half an hour while others can take as long as an hour and a half.
You can pick one depending on whether you want to enjoy the ocean or lush forest views. They even have a few specially designed to engage children.
The Treasure Trail is designed for children. It’s much like any treasure hunt, each ‘treasure’ holds a clue to the next, and children need to unravel a hidden word by finding letters along the trail. They also have a Fairy Trail for children, where young ones can find 20 fairy homes set up along the way.
There are many other options for adults. If you prefer something short, I recommend the Island Trail. It’s not very physically demanding, only takes 45 minutes, and in the end, you feel like you’ve stepped into a whole different place.
If you’re up for something a little more difficult and time-consuming, I suggest the Clashnacree Trail. I recommend you travel clockwise.
It will take less than an hour and a half, and in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the Kenmare River and Mountains. If you prefer to go somewhere magical and very secluded, you can try Heron’s Trail.
Apart from the above mentioned fantastic options, Parknasilla Resort offers several regular and offbeat activities as well.
The resort has a small but well-equipped gym should you want to burn off some calories indoors. They also regularly organize fun sessions, such as Pilates, so you may want to check with the hotel if something like this interests you.
Nature and Astro Discovery Walk
Parknasilla is at the edge of Kerry’s International Dark Sky Reserve, an area protected for its exceptionally starry nights because of the lack of artificial light in the surrounding area.
They have an in-house expert who can guide you on a nocturnal tour of stars, constellations, planets, and the environment around you.
Seashore Discovery Walk
Enjoy a guided tour of the rock pools at Parknasilla Resort with their in-house wildlife expert, who will brief you on identifying coastal wildlife.
Apart from these, Parknasilla Resort regularly organizes other activities on a seasonal basis, such as wine tasting, and other activities specific to the pool, gym, or other amenities. To make the most of your stay, check the resort’s activity schedule once you are check-in.
Places of Interest around Parknasilla
Located about 28 km from Parknasilla, Derrynane Beach was listed as one of Europe’s top 25 beaches. It has the perfect golden sand with crystal clear waters that make it ideal for snorkeling and other water sports.
I suggest you arrive early and carve out a few hours to enjoy the place with a picnic basket. Check out my web page here.
Visit this ruined stone ringfort if you’re a history enthusiast. Located about 22 km from Parknasilla, Staigue Stone Fort is an engineering marvel estimated to be built sometime in the Iron Age. An excursion here will only take about 30-40 minutes. Check out my web page here.
See where The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, grew up. Many of the artifacts of his life and career are preserved here. Check out my web page here.
About 23 km from Parknasilla is Kenmare, a small town popular among tourists for its dining options. It is a stunning destination known for a very authentic, unspoiled experience of European culture.
A quaint town peppered with cafes, craft stores, restaurants, and pubs, Kenmare offers a great getaway option that’s charming and not bustling with tourists.
While small, Kenmare offers much in terms of what to do. You can visit Gleninchaquin Park or opt for boat tours and water sports. You can even enjoy a game of golf at the Ring of Kerry Golf Club, which has one of the finest golf courses in Ireland.
Since Kenmare is best known for its culinary offerings, don’t forget to grab a bite and a pint at one of the many fine pubs and restaurants here.
I recommend you try Mulcahy’s Bar and Restaurant, which serves extraordinary dishes from a variety of cuisines that will woo your palate (reservation is a must). This place is an absolute must-visit.
Some other great options are No 35 (dinner only; reservation must), Tom Crean (great food and beer), and The Lime Tree Restaurant.
Kenmare also offers some great value-for-money food options – Wharton’s Traditional Fish and Chips, Kenmare Ice Cream, and Café Mocha.
If you’re more interested in visiting a pub, I recommend PF McCarthy’s, Crowley’s Bar, and O Donnabhain’s Traditional Irish Gastro Pub.
Restaurants around Parknasilla
While the food at Parknasilla’s Pygmalion Restaurant is delicious, should you wish to try something different, you can check The Blue Bull, The Village Kitchen, and Kelly’s Bakery at Sneem which is only 3 km away.
The Blue Bull: Delicious, well-presented home-style food with great service.
The Village Kitchen: Great food at a very reasonable price.
Kelly’s Bakery: Delicious home baking made with fresh ingredients.
Sneem and Kenmare are the 2 main towns for shopping. You can pick up souvenirs in both towns. For grocery shopping, I recommend Mace which is in Sneem. Aldi, Lidl, and SuperValu are in Kenmare. SuperValu delivers to Parknasilla Resort.
Parknasilla Rooms and Suites
Parknasilla Hotel has an old-world charm that will whisk you away from reality for a while. The Victorian decor and crackling open fires are matched with contemporary luxuries to bring you the best of both worlds.
The hotel has some great accommodation options – loft rooms, family rooms, parkland view rooms, superior rooms, manor rooms, and suites.
The Loft Rooms are cozy and great for solo travelers, while the Family Rooms feature a combined living and bedroom area ideal for families with children. Some of the Family Rooms have an ocean view while the others offer a gorgeous view of the mountains.
The Superior Double Rooms have been recently refurbished and offer a vintage feel with modern comforts. Most of these rooms do not have lift access, so bear that in mind if you have accessibility issues or if you have a lot of luggage, as you may need to do some heavy lifting.
Manor Seaview Rooms provide the best view from where you can look at the sea, the mountains, and the garden, while Superior Manor Rooms offer a majestic view to the front of the building.
These rooms are spacious with an open area comprising bed and the living space, all furnished with restored antique furniture and modern amenities. Manor Triple Rooms, which are great for friends, feature three single beds and all the other regular amenities.
The resort also offers some absolutely gorgeous suites. Each opulent suite is thoughtfully designed in terms of the furniture, decor, and views for a unique experience. Some of these feature a clean, contemporary design, while others take inspiration from the Edwardian and Victorian eras.
Parknasilla Resort Courtyard Lodges
Parknasilla offers self-catering Courtyard Lodges less than a five-minute walk from the hotel; each can accommodate four individuals. Located beside the Bishop’s house, the lodges feature a spacious open plan with living, sleeping, dining, and kitchen areas.
Each lodge features two bedrooms – one with a queen double bed and the other with a twin – and is thoughtfully designed for comfort.
You have large inviting couches, a kitchen equipped with all necessary appliances, crockery, and cutlery, and all other amenities for those looking to rest in comfort after a busy day. The courtyard lodges are wheelchair accessible.
The parking is close by and paved for wheelchair access as well. Guests at the courtyard lodges can use any of the resort’s many facilities, such as a spa and swimming pool.
Parknasilla Woodland Villas
The Woodland Villas are ideal for large families and groups seeking spacious and luxurious accommodation in nature’s lap.
Each villa can accommodate six individuals and features three bedrooms – a kind double, a queen double, and a twin – with two bathrooms and a furnished private outdoor terrace. Like the Courtyard Lodges, each villa features a fully equipped kitchen, plush couches, and spacious living areas.
One thing I would say is that when my sister was staying there she noticed that the bath & shower were upstairs so it is not wheelchair friendly. They might have a wheelchair-accessible Villa with a bath & shower downstairs.
A Vacation with Your Four-Legged Friend
Parknasilla Resort is a pet-friendly resort. They have dog kennels on the premises to house up to 10 dogs. This could be the perfect getaway with your pet as you can go and explore the many trails around together.
But be mindful, dogs are not allowed inside the hotel, lodges, and villas; they do make exceptions for guide/assistance dogs. Also, around the estate, your pet will need to be on a leash, and you will need to clean up after him or her.
The charges for the kennels are also quite reasonable. You will need to book the kennel (3 metres by 3.5 metres each) in advance and bring your dog’s bedding, bowls, and food along.
You want to check the hotel website before you plan as they do not accept all breeds (in line with government regulations). Even inside the kennel, you will need to clean after your pet; they provide a hose and other necessary supplies.
How to get to Parknasilla Resort from Killarney
You can drive down from Killarney to Parknasilla via the Ring of Kerry. It’s about 50 km, and it can take you just over an hour. Go out the Muckross Road passed Killarney National Park up to Moll’s Gap passing Ladies View on the way.
Parknasilla Resort offers something truly unique – a majestic property set in a pristine location with lush green forests, scenic mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean. While there are many stunning properties in Ireland, Parknasilla stands out as it offers something more.
It is a resort that offers a plethora of facilities, amenities, and a great many activities, Parknasilla is ideal for families and groups to enjoy time together at a scenic location. At the same time, the natural beauty around Parknasilla and its secluded nature make it the perfect romantic getaway as well.
To top it off, the property’s rich history further adds to its charm. While some may say a day is enough to experience the resort, I recommend you spend at least a couple of nights here, if not a few more, to truly experience it and try out everything they have to offer.