There is no doubt that the best way to experience Killarney National Park is from the water. On each of the three lakes of Killarney, there are some great boat trips that you can take that give a truly unique perspective of the Park. The Muckross boat trip to Dinis across Muckross Lake is one of those great trips.Despite being located just a few hundred metres from one of the country’s busiest tourist hotspots at Muckross House, this Muckross boat trip can sometimes be overlooked in preference for some of the other attractions in the area. The next time you’re in Muckross, take a wander down to the Old Boathouse and try the Muckross boat trip – you won’t be disappointed I promise.
How to Get There
Located about 6km outside of Killarney town, Muckross Gardens and Traditional Farms can be reached by various forms of transport. There is a paved path from the outskirts of the town that goes through the National Park all the way to the farms. The path is shared by walkers, cyclists and the traditional jaunting cars. Jaunting cars can be hired from the town centre and there are a number of locations to rent a bicycle if you need one. There is ample car parking right outside the entrance to the farms, with an overflow car park in use during the busy summer months. There are also a number of buses stopping at Muckross House.
Please note that there is an alternative (small) parking area that brings you almost directly to the pier for the Muckross Boat trip. To access this alternative parking area, you need to take a left turn before you reach the main car park at Muckross House (see map above). Parking in the area will lead you straight to the Dundag boathouse. After parking your car, proceed through the pedestrian gates (signposted for ‘boat trips’) and walk 100m to the pier. As you approach the paved path ahead of you, continue across the path towards the boathouse ahead. You will see the sign with details of the boat trips ahead of you.
If you arrive from the main parking area near the Muckross Traditional Farms, follow the signs for Torc waterfall and Dundag. The lawns of Muckross House stretch down to a bay on Muckross Lake. As you pass this bay on your right hand side, you will soon come to the turn off to Dundag Pier and Boathouse. Look out for the signs for the Old Boathouse walking trail. Once you arrive at the old Boathouse, you will see the location where the Muckross boat trip begins.
Muckross Boat Trip
There are a number of ways to take in the Muckross Boat Trip while enjoying the Muckross and Dinis area. Outlined above are the ways to get to Muckross from Killarney town. From Muckross, there are four ways to reach Dinis Cottage: Walk, Cycle, Jaunting Car or Boat. Please note that cycling to Dinis Cottage is only permitted in one direction on the Muckross Peninsula. Below are four recommended options that you can choose from when taking in the boat trip.
|Option 1||Boat from Muckross to Dinis. Enjoy time at Dinis, Return via Boat to Muckross|
|Option 2||Boat from Muckross to Dinis. Walk back to Muckross|
|Option 3||Walk from Muckross to Dinis, Return via Boat to Muckross|
|Option 4||Cycle from Killarney to Muckross & Dinis. Return to Muckross via Boat with bikes. Cycle back to Killarney|
For most, the boathouse at Dundag pier on the shores of Muckross Lake is the starting point for the trip. Located only a few hundred metres from the iconic Muckross House, the pier is hidden away among the trees but is well worth seeking out the next time you visit. If you have some time to spare, why not follow the Old Boathouse walking trail which begins at this point. It follows the shoreline of the Muckross Lake. On the trail you will encounter old mine shafts, limestone caves, sandy beaches and beautiful lake views.
Muckross Boat Trip
For those not familiar with the Muckross boat trip, the boats used are similar to those used on each of Killarney’s lakes. These traditional open boats are powered by motorised engines but you will hardly notice the hum of the motor during your trip across Muckross lake. All passengers are required to wear life jackets and these will be provided to you by the boatman as you board the boat. On the open water, it is more exposed than on the shore, so dress appropriately and maybe consider wearing an extra layer for the boat trip.
Top Tip: If it’s a bit breezy, don’t sit at the bow of the boat where the spray from the lake can spill into the boat. Stay close to the boatman towards the back of the boat! As you travel across the lake enjoying the views, don’t forget to look up to the skies. The white tailed eagles are often seen in the vicinity of Dinis Cottage so keep your eyes peeled!
The boat trips run daily from approximately 11am to 5pm during the busier months of the year May to September. It’s best to check availability in advance by calling ahead – especially during the winter months or if the weather is not the best! Prices are €10 for adults or €5 for children (single or return – same price). Contact Gerry on +353 87 1200 420 or John on +353 87 2789 335 of Muckross Lake Boat Tours to get all the information you need.
Muckross & Dinis
The deepest of Killarney’s lakes, the cold dark water of Muckross Lake lies in the shadow of Torc Mountain on it’s southern shoreline. At this part of the lake, the water can be up to 80 metres in depth. Across the lake, the limestone rock forms hundreds of caves along the Muckross peninsula. There are some beautiful secluded sandy beaches hidden away in the many bays dotted around the lake.
Our destination at Dinis Cottage lies to the east where the Upper Lake flows into Muckross Lake. Before disembarking at Dinis, we will briefly leave Muckross Lake and enter into Lough Leane under the arch of Brickeen Bridge. Lough Leane or the Lower Lake, is the largest of the three lakes of Killarney. Brickeen Bridge connects Muckross peninsula to Dinis Island and forms part of a beautiful walking and cycling trail from Muckross.
Before disembarking at Dinis Cottage, you will enter a narrow channel under a low bridge to the Meeting of the Waters. It is here that the water from the Upper Lake and Long Range river flows into the Muckross and Lower Lake. The nearby Old Weir Bridge provides safe passage over the narrow channel that flows from the Upper Lake.
Dinis Cottage is an old hunting lodge that now houses a coffee shop during the summer months. The paved path continues past Dinis Cottage until it meets the main N71 road between Killarney and Kenmare, close to Torc waterfall. The car park area here is one of the starting points for the (in)famous Cardiac Hill on the northern slopes of Torc Mountain.
There is plenty to explore around the environs of Dinis Cottage as you stretch your legs on dry land. It’s about a ten minute walk to the Old Weir bridge so this is a pleasant stroll before you board the boat again for the return journey.
Don’t Miss The Boat
The Muckross boat trip is a fabulous way to experience Killarney National Park from the water. With the imposing slopes of Torc rising above you and the beautiful shoreline surrounding you, the trip across Muckross Lake to Dinis Cottage is peaceful, relaxing and inspiring in equal measures. Although the Muckross boat trip may not be as famed as the Gap of Dunloe trip or the short hop from Ross Castle to Innisfallen Island, it is a beautiful trip that you should try and fit in the next time you visit the Muckross area of Killarney National Park.
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