In this quiet corner of Killarney National Park, Ross Castle’s sprawling history is reluctant to remain in the past. Every seventh year, the benevolent ghost of the castle’s founder, O’Donoghue Mór, rises from the bottom of Lough Leane, and circles Ross Island on his magnificent white horse. The island’s occupation stretches back further still, to 4,000 years ago when it was one of Europe's earliest Bronze Age copper mines. Today, this history can be explored on a mining and nature walking trail.
A relaxing rowboat ride across the lake leads to the 15th century Muckross Abbey and the luxury of Muckross House and Gardens. Gazing up at this Disney-esque castle, it’s not difficult to understand why Killarney was voted TripAdvisor’s top destination to visit in Ireland in 2015.