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Killarney National Park facts for kids

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Killarney National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Young buck Killarney National Park.jpg
A male red deer in oak woodland
Killarney National Park is located in Ireland
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park
Location in Ireland
Location Killarney, Ireland
Nearest city Cork
Area 102.89 km2 (39.73 sq mi)
Established 1932; 90 years ago (1932)
Governing body National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland)

Killarney National Park near the town of Killarney, County Kerry, was the first national park in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks.

It has the only red deer herd on mainland Ireland and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. The park forms part of a Special Area of Conservation.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the management and administration of the park. Nature conservation is the main objective of the park, and ecosystems in their natural state are highly valued. The park is known for its scenery, recreation and tourism amenities are provided for.

Climate and geography

Killarney Castle, Killarney National Park - Ed Fitzgerald
Killarney Castle, Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park is in southwest Ireland close to the island's most westerly point. The Lakes of Killarney and the Mangerton, Torc, Shehy and Purple Mountains are in the park. Lough Leane is the largest of the Killarney lakes and contains over 30 islands. Some visitors take boat trips to Innisfallen, one of the larger islands on Lough Leane.

The park has an oceanic climate, heavily influenced by the Gulf Stream. It experiences mild winters and cool summer. The park experiences high rainfall and changeable fronts, with light showery rainfall being frequent throughout the year.

Killarney National Park - Auger Lake

The geological boundary, the park's wide range of altitudes, and the climatic influence of the Gulf Stream combine to give the park a varied ecology. These ecosystems include bogs, lakes, moorland, mountains, waterways, woodland, parks and gardens. Outcropping rock and cliffs are features of the park. Above 200 metres (660 ft), the mountainous sandstone areas support large areas of blanket bog and heath.


Muckross House-10-2017-gje
Muckross House

The park is open for tourism year-round. There is a visitor and education centre at Muckross House. There is a network of surfaced paths that can be used by cyclists and walkers. Boat trips on the lakes are available.

Muckross House is a Victorian mansion, close to Muckross Lake's eastern shore. The house has now been restored and attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. Muckross Gardens are famous for their collection of rhododendrons, hybrids and azaleas, and exotic trees. Muckross Traditional Farm is a working farm project that recreates Irish rural life in the 1930s, prior to electrification. Knockreer House is used as the National Park Education Centre.

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