With more than 1,100,000 visitors every year, Killarney is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist draws. It’s easy to see why! Take a list of the top reasons to travel to Ireland, and you’ll be able to do most in or around Killarney. Some of the sites and attractions are great to see during the day, but Killarney has plenty in store at night.
The Killarney National Park is among Ireland’s top daytime destinations for genuine Irish awesomeness. In 2015, the Irish Times declared it Ireland’s Best Day Out. As for nighttime entertainment, you could rightfully expect it to revolve around pubs and bars.
But if you stick only to the pubs, you’ll miss out on plenty of other awesome things at night Killarney has to offer. It might be best to stay a couple of nights and mix it up a little. Here are some of the things you might enjoy doing in Killarney in the evening after dark!
#1 Visit O’Connor’s Traditional Pub
O’Connor’s Traditional Pub is, as the name says, a traditional pub. It’s not a big place and it’s not the most tourist-oriented. However, the tourists love it, and so do the locals.
How to spend an amazing night at O’Connor’s? Well, you can stop by on a whiskey or beer tasting night. You can learn to pour your own pint (which is something you should learn if you’re coming to Ireland).
If you’re hungry you can get traditional Irish grub upstairs in the Loft Restaurant at O’Connor’s. The real reason you’ll have an awesome time at O’Connor’s is, of course, the local people you’ll meet there!
#2 Sleep in Killarney!
The Ring of Kerry is a popular scenic drive that will take several hours. For those of us who like to enjoy nature and beautiful scenery a STEP at a time, there’s the Kerry Way.
It takes roughly nine days to walk because its 135 miles, but it’s the best possible way to experience one of the most beautiful parts of a gorgeous country (there are shorter options available). Killarney is usually the starting and the ending point of the Kerry Way.
The day before you set off make sure to get a good night’s sleep in Killarney. This adventure only suits well equipped and prepared walkers!
#3 Attend a Trad Session at the Killarney Grand
The Killarney Grand is a self-proclaimed party hotel and anyone who has ever spent a night out in Killarney has likely stopped! At the very least, they attempted to get in but the place was packed.
The Grand is a staple of Killarney nightlife. It’s also a great place to listen to traditional Irish music. Every night from 9 pm to 11 pm you’ll be able to listen to a great “trad session” at The Grand. If you go often enough you’ll be able to join the singalong.
You can stay after the session too — The Grand also hosts modern music acts providing a modern take on the traditional music. Either way, going to the Grand will show you firsthand why music is one of Ireland’s most important exports.
#4 Catch a Show at INEC
INEC is short for Ireland’s National Event Centre and it’s located right in Killarney. It hosts all kinds of shows and concerts year round, although it seems to be busiest during the summer months.
For visitors coming to Killarney, checking out the events at INEC should be a part of the experience. You might be able to catch a concert, a dance show, or a standup by Irish or British comedians. A show at INEC can easily turn into the beginning of an awesome night in Killarney!
#5 Drink Cocktails at The Kube
If you have an appreciation for cuboid, rectangular, and other similar shapes in interior design, or simply enjoy a good cocktail, The Kube is the place for you and you’ll be in for a treat!
The Kube is a cocktail bar with an interesting interior and arguably the best-known cocktails in Killarney. It opens in the afternoon on workdays, and at noon on the weekends. Most of the days it closes before midnight, except on Fridays and Saturdays when it’s open until the wee hours. It has been one of Killarney’s hottest nightspots since its opening.
#6 Stargaze Near Killarney
Stargazing in Killarney is a must. There are few places in the world where you can still see the Milky Way, where the night sky is still beautiful and untouched by light pollution are protected dark sky preserves … an area right outside Killarney is one of those places!
While you can’t stargaze in the town of Killarney, the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve is located within the Ring of Kerry just south-east of Killarney. Getting away for an awesome night of starry skies is one of the most awesome things you can do at night during a stay in Killarney.
#7 Have Fun at a Stag or a Hen
Are hens and stags in Ireland becoming classier? It turns out — yes, they are. That’s one of the reasons why the average Irish person is willing to spend more money on them now than they were a couple of years ago. And if you’re having a stag or a hen in Ireland, you might as well do it in Killarney.
What makes Killarney such a popular spot for hen and stag parties? Maybe the fact that Killarney is has a number of hotels in and around town. Tourism is very important for the town’s economy, and that means that a stag or a hen party will always be welcome.
You can spend the day at one of many Killarney’s spas. Or your party might enjoy some golf, fishing, or even falconry. But when the sun starts going down, you know what that means: an awesome dinner followed by a nighttime celebration of the last days of being single. Here’s to that!
#8 Take a Walk Outside
As you move away from the equator, the further you go, the longer the days become in the summer and the shorter they become in the winter. At the equator, night and day get last twelve hours each. But the poles have days and nights that last six months each.
Ireland is far from the equator. Even though Killarney is in the southern part of Ireland, it’s still far enough from the equator to be pretty sure most humans are living closer to the equator than the townsfolk of Killarney. Any of them who visit Killarney in the summer are in for a surprise.
Between mid-May and mid-July, it’s technically never nighttime in Killarney. It’s true — at the summer solstice in Killarney, there are almost seventeen hours of daylight, followed by little over seven hours of various kinds of twilight. But technically, no nighttime. So that makes a Killarney night in those two months an awesome time for a walk and some sightseeing.
#9 Taste Genuine Irish Whiskey at the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder
Almost every culture in Europe has a national alcoholic beverage. The Germans have schnapps, the Balkan countries have rakija, the English gin, and the Russians vodka. The drink that started the national hard liquor craze was Irish whiskey, a drink that’s paradoxically not the national liquor of Ireland.
Irish whiskey was one of the first distilled drinks in Europe, back in the 12th century. It had its ups and downs since then, but it’s currently undergoing a sort of revival. You can be a part of that revival if you stop by the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney.
You can try at least a couple hundred different kinds of whiskey in the Celtic Whiskey Bar. Not all of them are Irish, of course, but the Bar still has arguably the best selection of Irish whiskeys in Killarney. And it has tasting nights, too.
#10 Travel to the Past at the Muckross Abbey
Ireland is a country that’s seen plenty of tragedy in the past. You can still see signs of it, in some places more than in others. Killarney’s Muckross Abbey, built in 1448, is one such place, having been a target of pillaging attacks, as well as on the receiving end of Oliver Cromwell’s cruel policies.
Would all the suffering that happened there make the place haunted? Probably not. But a nighttime visit to the Muckross Abbey is a unique experience that might be reason enough to visit Killarney.
People say you can almost feel the long-gone friars’ presence at the Abbey. You’ll certainly hear a lot of spooky stories that will make your hairs stand during the whole nighttime visit. But try to visit the Abbey during the daytime too, when it’s not so spooky, and when it’s much easier to admire how well-preserved it is.
#11 Eat and Drink Like a Hobbit in The Shire
Fans of The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, or any other work of J. R. R. Tolkien have a special place to drink and eat in Killarney. Its name is The Shire, and it’s a café, a bar, a place to eat, and a place to rest.
By all accounts, the Shire offers the same things you’d find in any respectable hobbit home. There’s more than enough to eat and drink there. When the food and the drink get you feeling woozy, you can sleep it off in your room. And you can even catch a stand-up comedy act, so there’s entertainment, too.
#12 Enjoy the Peace and Quiet
Can you stay in Killarney and have a calm and romantic night with your loved one without the noise from the pubs ruining it? Of course, you can. Pubs are important for the social life of the townsfolk, and the visitors like them too. But Killarney has a quieter side as well.
If a weekend in a room with a view over one of the beautiful Lakes of Killarney — Lough Leane — sounds good, you’ll find what you need at The Lake Hotel. Sure, there are plenty of outdoor activities you can do during the day and many trips to the beautiful Dingle Peninsula. But when the night starts falling, you’ll enjoy the quiet beauty of Ireland as you’ve never seen it before.
#13 A Game, A Few Pints, and Live Music in Corkery’s Sports Bar
You can’t come to Ireland and not experience the locals’ love of sports firsthand. You can go to a game or two. But it might be even better to watch sports the same way the locals do, at a sports bar. If you’re in Killarney, that means going to Corkery’s Sports Bar.
Known just as Corkery’s until the recent change of management, Corkery’s Sports Bar is one of the best places in Killarney to watch sports over a pint. As the afternoon turns into the evening, the sports program turns into live music. And you get to experience all of it along with the locals.
#14 Be Friendly to the Locals
Is there anything better than meeting new people when visiting new places? When you’re in Ireland, there isn’t. No matter which of the awesome things you decide to do during a night in Killarney, chances are you’ll never have to look far to see a friendly local face.
If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with a local, here are some topics you might mention:
- The tidiness of Killarney. It’s a very clean town, and the locals are proud of it.
- Gooch, the most famous GAA player from the town. There will never be anyone like him.
- The beauty of Torc Mountain. Most locals have climbed it.
- Michael Fassbender, the famous actor who was brought up in Killarney.
Any of those might be enough to spark a conversation that will last for a pint or two. All four of them will probably be enough to get you plastered.
#15 Do a Pub Crawl
The pubs on this list might be great, but they are not the only great pubs in Killarney. The town is a tourist spot, after all. It has to have more than just seven or eight watering holes.
That’s why you might want to do a pub crawl in Killarney. No need to drink a lot in every bar you enter. But it would be interesting to see how many you can visit in a single night, even if you had only a pint in every other or even every third pub. Remember to have a bite to eat in the middle of it, and you just might finish the crawl in one piece.