People have been escaping to Killarney – in the ancient Kingdom of Kerry for over 250 years.

They come for the legendary beauty: the lakes, waterfalls, mountain peaks and heart stopping views. And they come for the craic agus ceol: the good times and the banter, the pubs, live music, and easy Irish charm.

Queen Victoria visited and fell in love with it. Poets and songwriters have waxed lyrical about it. It’s known as “the home of the traditional Irish welcome”, because this is where Irish tourism began.

“Beauty’s home, Killarney” (as the song goes) is in Ireland’s first great National Park, where Na Crucha Dubha - the country’s highest mountains - ring three gorgeous glacial lakes. Ireland’s only herd of native red deer roam wild here in ancient woods of oak and yew. Rare white-tailed sea eagles drift overhead.

The town is on the north-east shore of the largest of the three Lakes of Killarney – Lough Leane, or Lake of Learning – where the medieval monks of Innisfallen recorded the earliest history of Ireland.

Killarney makes it easy to enjoy nature - to be as active or as laid-back as you choose. There are easy strolls and challenging hikes, trips and tours, bike hires and boat rides. Traditional horse-drawn jaunting cars – with their drivers known as “jarveys” – wait in the centre of town to take visitors into the National Park. You can take a jaunting car through the hauntingly beautiful mountain pass, the Gap of Dunloe. The boat trip across the three lakes is a magical experience.

And Killarney’s a great base for exploring South West Ireland’s three wild Atlantic peninsulas –Dingle, Beara and Iveragh – and the world-famous Ring of Kerry.

Back in town, the streets are a hive of activity, full of life … Irish through and through. Everything’s geared towards making sure you have a great time.

No wonder, when you say “Killarney” to an Irish person, they’ll start to smile.