Tour Killarney’s beautiful Lough Leane by boat
What better way to view the beauties of Killarney than by taking a tour on TheLily of Killarney around Lough Leane, the largest of the lakes?
Here’s a quick run-through the main sights:
- Lough Leane, also known as the Lower Lake, measures 8km by 5km – by far the biggest lake in Killarney. Lough Leane (Léin) means ‘lake of learning’.
- The boat leaves from 13th century Ross Castle, one of the last castles in Ireland to fall to Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1652 –restored at a cost of €3m between 1973 and 1993.
- Evidence suggests that the Old Copper Mines on Ross Island date back 4,000 years to the Bronze Age, the earliest known copper mines in these islands.
- You’ll first pass Innisfallen Island, with the ruins of a monastic settlement established almost 1,500 years ago (6thcentury). It hosted a university in the 12th century and it’s said that King Brian Boru was educated there at one time. It’s the subject of the ballad ‘Sweet Innisfallen’ by Thomas Moore.
The famous Annals of Innisfallen, compiled on the island in mediaeval times,have 2,500 entries about notable events spanning the years from 433 to 1450.One entry reads: “The fourth of the moon. A comet appeared.”
Raided twice by Vikings, it survived as a monastery and place of learning until 1594, when under Elizabeth I the monks were banished.
The island is home to a herd of Red Deer which swim out and stay there during winter.
- Across the lake is Tomies Wood, one of the largest natural oak forests in Europe.
- Glena Bay is a shallow shelf, good for salmon fishing. The main fish in the lakes are the Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout. The average salmon is around 8 to 10lbs.
- The surrounding mountains include the Purple Mountains (Tomies, Purple and Shehy), Mangerton and Torc. Ireland’s highest mountain Carrauntoohil (1,038m)is hidden by the Purple Mountains.
But that is just the highlights that are always on view. Often it’s the surprises that are most memorable, such as a herd of Red Deer sipping water on the shore, or, if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of the magnificent White-Tailed Sea Eagle, back in Kerry after an absence of over 200 years. Some 80 eagles were brought over from Norway and this is where they spent their first few months.
And, of course, on a good day there’s that exhilarating combination of shining waters, cloudscapes and exquisite light over the lake, lush woodlands and mountain slopes.
The tour lastsaround one hour and is a great way to get a different perspective on the National Park. During the trip, we provide live commentary about the history, folklore and natural life of the area.