In many ways, Killorglin is much like the many picturesque towns in Ireland. It is a small, quaint, lively town, with an abundance of natural beauty.
At the same time, it’s something different too – it is metropolitan and progressive, which makes it the right balance of the old and the new.
But undoubtedly, what makes this small town stand out among the rest is Puck Fair, one of Ireland’s oldest fairs. In terms of how you spend your time at Killorglin, there are plenty of options.
There are many pubs to keep your weekends occupied with a pint and a great vibe and several restaurants that offer delicacies for all price ranges.
And of course, you have a selection of activities when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, right from mountain walks to water sports and much more.
Among all the things Killorglin is known for, Puck Fair ranks first. One of Ireland’s oldest fairs, Puck Fair is held annually every August and entails three days of events.
There are a variety of street traders, traditional art and craft, and a parade.
On the first day, a mountain goat is crowned as ‘King Puck’ and put on a show in the town centre for three days, during which locals and tourists drink, dance, and enjoy themselves, and at the end of these three days, the goat is returned to the mountain unharmed.
While the tradition sounds odd, the history behind it does make sense. Altogether, the event is one of a kind and I recommend you plan your visit around these dates, if possible. Check out my webpage on Puck Fair here.
If you seek adventure outdoors, a trip to Cappanalea is a must-visit.
Located 10 km to the south of Killorglin, the center conducts adventure activities designed for personal development.
Its team of well-trained instructors conducts a range of activities suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
Right from kayaking, canoeing, and sailing to rock climbing, hillwalking, and bouldering, they’ve got something to suit all tastes.
Set against a beautiful backdrop of green hills and blue waters, Cappanalea is an ideal getaway for families and large groups to spend some quality time together. Check out my webpage on Cappanalea here.
Fishing in the River Laune
The River Laune, which flows from Lough Leane and ends at Dingle Bay passes through Killorglin, is a fisherman’s paradise.
As an angler, you have an opportunity to catch sea trout (January–October), brown trout (February–October), and salmon (January–September).
April to September are the most bountiful months among all and July to September are the best months for salmon. You can either try your luck along the riverbank near the N70 in the north on the way to Killorglin or the N22 and N71 in the east and south on your way to Killarney.
Lough Leane, the Upper Lake, and Muckross Lake are catchment areas for the river where you can go fishing.
Fly fishing is a great option when near River Laune; a single-handed 9’ 6’’ rod will do just fine, but a double-handed 13 feet rod is definitely better. While all legal methods are allowed, fishing in the Laune is governed by the Salmon and Sea Trout Angling Regulations, which are reviewed annually.
So it’s certainly recommended that you familiarize yourself with the rules beforehand. Furthermore, you need a Salmon Licence to fish for salmon and sea trout, which you can obtain from local shops or online. You also need permits and a State Licence, which again can be obtained online or through designated shops.
Located between Killorglin and Glenbeigh, Caragh Lake is a freshwater lake created by the damming of the Caragh River.
It offers much to do for all, right from fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating to hiking and biking around the lakeside.
While swimming is not the most common activity, it does hold some appeal because of the scenic views around.
There’s a public access point near the northern side of the lake should you decide to take a dip.
Kayaking and SUP are other fun activities; you can contact Cappanalea or other local providers for instructors and equipment.
If you wish to explore on land, the area around Caragh Lake has several trails, including:
* The Mountain Lakes and Bakers Buns Loop (Bike): 2 hr
* Treanmanagh: 2 hr
* Caragh Lake Forest: 1 hr
Fishing is another great way to pass the time at Caragh Lake. You can catch salmon and, at times, even sea trout and brown trout. While one can go fly fishing, the practice here is mostly trolling and spinning.
And although you can fish at the lake, access is somewhat restricted; you may be better served to try your luck at the outflowing river. You can hire a boat from one of the many providers in and around the area.
Kerry Bog Village
About 9 km to the southwest of Killorglin lies Kerry Bog Village, a one of its kind museum in Europe that depicts Irish history and culture through a recreated 19th-century village.
The whole setup is more an experience than anything else; the displays are self-explanatory and designed so you can accurately picture Ireland in times gone by.
You can even see Irish wolfhounds and Kerry Bog Ponies when on the premises. And before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the Red Fox Inn for what is often referred to as the best Irish coffee in Ireland. Check out my webpage on the Kerry Bog Village here.
Exploring the great outdoors
If you’re looking to enjoy the natural beauty in and around Killorglin, there are quite a few walking trails to choose from.
There are two river trails — the Laune River Bank Trail (20 min) and the Astellas Riverside Trail (25 min). To take the Laune River Bank Trail, start at the mill car park on Annadale Road and head down to the river bank.
Then cross the small bridge to enjoy a short walk along the River Laune. The trail is bustling; with a variety of trees, shrubs, birds, and animals that bring the woodlands to life.
To take the Astellas Riverside Trail, head out of Killorglin on the Tralee Road.
Ahead on the road, take the left marked as ‘Cloon Pitch,’ at the end of which you need to head left toward the Laune. Follow the river bank and take the old railway bridge to reach the remains of the historic railway embankment.
On the Astellas Riverside Trail, you can see the Metal Bridge, Astellas’ Kerry Plant, and a windmill.
While these are notable landmarks along the route, it’s the scenic beauty around that justifies the journey here. There are quite a few other trails, including the Ballykissane Pier Trail and the Railway Bridge Trail, but I recommend you try the Caragh Lake Trail (1.7 km) and a walk-in Lickeen (2 km).
The Caragh Lake Trail offers stunning views of Caragh Lake, Robert’s Island, and Illaunbuddoga. Specifically on the Mountain Spur Trail, one can see scenic panoramic views of MacGillycuddy Reeks and Inch Beach.
Closer by, the flora and fauna on the trail are just as spellbinding, making a trip here well worthwhile. About 15 km to the southwest of Killorglin lies Lickeen, an area of rich biodiversity with a lake and dense woods in the scenic Glencar Valley.
While the lake is a renowned location for salmon and trout fishing, the woodlands present a pristine location to enjoy nature. There are three marked walking trails at Lickeen:
* The Kerry Life Loop — Very Strenuous | 3.1 km, 90 min
* The Castle Rock Loop — Strenuous | 2 km, 60+ min
* The Lickeen Loop — Moderate | 2.2 km, 60+ min
Lastly, the Kerry Way is easily accessible from Killorglin.
How to reach Killorglin
If you’re traveling from Killarney, take the R877 when heading out from the town and join the N72.
If you’re traveling from Tralee, take the N86 on your way out and then join the N70. There are buses and plenty of cabs for hire, but by far the best way to explore Ireland and its rugged beauty is driving yourself.
Killorglin is much like many of the outstanding small towns in Kerry — it offers plenty of cultural value as a town with abundant natural beauty and plenty of historic attractions around.
Typically, I suggest stopping by for a day or so to enjoy the town, but if you can manage to make it here for Puck Fair, let loose for three or more days of fun and merriment.