Over 650 km2 (160,000 acres) of Ireland is covered in national parks, forest areas and reserves. Our 6 national parks contain an amazing variety of unspoiled landscape and vegetation.
Irish Experience Tours explore and stay in, or right next to, no fewer than 5 national parks…
A truly special part of Ireland, Killarney National Park is a rugged wilderness area situated just outside the town of Killarney in County Kerry. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty packed with mountains (including the highest in Ireland – Carrauntoohil), lakes, woods, parklands and waterfalls. Visit the stunning Muckross House and witness Ross Castle at sunset. Take a trip through the Gap of Dunloe and see Lady’s View and The Black Valley. This area is steeped in history and has a unique geological profile. Activities include bike riding through the park, taking a boat around the lakes or taking a horse-and-cart ride through the Gap of Dunloe.
Connemara National Park is almost 3000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and forests, and it’s all yours to explore. Awesome views coupled with great hikes and walks give this area an unforgettable character. Activities include pony rides, nature trails, a multi-lingual exhibition on the Connemara landscape, and an excellent playground as well as loads more. The boglands give rise to unique flora and fauna throughout Connemara, making this an area well off the beaten track and not to be missed.
Glenveagh National Park in west Donegal is a beautiful and remote wilderness of mountains, lakes, waterfalls and a haunting (some say enchanted) oak forest in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. The stunning Glenveagh Castle, a 19th Century mansion and gardens, is situated at the edge of Lough Veagh. This is a special conservation area and is protected. Walking trails and nature trails abound, so there is something for all ages and fitness levels. You can also go fishing and cycling in this magical spot.
“The Valley of the Two Lakes” is a rough translation for one of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations, Glendalough. Renowned for its history, scenery, archaeology and wildlife, Glendalough in the mountains of County Wicklow is a truly remarkable area. Visit the ancient monastic city, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century, and see the outstanding 30m high round tower along with churches and stone crosses. Check out the visitors’ centre which will tell you everything about this hidden gem, including the best walks to take along this ancient glacial valley. The area has lots of other visitor sites and amenities nearby too.
The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Parkland was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs and Fen.
The word “Burren” comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. This is an extremely appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil cover and the extent of exposed Limestone Pavement. However, it has been referred to in the past as “Fertile rock” due to the mixture of nutrient-rich herb and floral species.