We spent 4 days and 3 nights around Killarney. There is a reason this is one of Ireland’s tourist hot-spots – there is so much to do! We didn’t even scratch the surface. Kid friendly doesn’t even begin to describe all you can do in and around Killarney.
Killarney is the major tourist town of south west Ireland; you can get practically anything here. One of our first stops was Christy’s Irish Stores. Yes, Christy’s is quite touristy. But if you are traveling with little ones there is no better place to let them pick out their own trinkets and souvenirs. Enter through the front door and head straight up the steps. Here you will find a very large, very open area of tourist gifts. Stuffed lambs, firey headed leprechauns, stuffed soccer balls… All emblazoned with “Ireland”. My girls had a great time picking out their own souvenirs. And don’t despair- there are treasures here for adults, too. And on your way back down the stairs take a quick turn to the left. There’s a tiny nook right before the crystal room (don’t leave the kids unattended in the crystal room!) with Bunratty Mead, whiskey candies and other flavorful goodies.
If you’re after a true Aran sweater leave Christy’s through the crystal room and turn left after your exit. Walk a couple of blocks and at the corner of College Street you will find the Aran Sweater Market. If you have any Irish in your background this is where you will come to get your hand knit clan sweater. And be sure to grab sweaters for the kids. The jumpers here are lovely- and warm!
Just a bit of history for you, in case you’re wondering about Aran sweaters and clan knits: The Irish have always been people of the sea, as you would expect of an island nation. An Aran sweater can absorb 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet. This made it ideal for fishermen. Each clan has it’s own design so when a body would wash ashore it could be identified by the weave of the sweater and the lost man could be returned to his clan for proper burial. For more thorough information click here.
A bit farther down College Street is a little shop called Serendipity. They have a beautiful selection of Kerry Glass.
And Country Crafts on Kenmare Place (just down from the International Hotel) had a great puzzle of Ireland and all its counties. The ladies who work there are absolute gems. They were so kind to the girls- and even shared their crisps.
Shopping is big business around the center of Killareny so I just want to leave you with this note: the shops close at 6pm. Do your shopping early.