The town of Killarney - one of Ireland's best known tourist destinations - lies adjacent to the boundary of the National Park on its north-eastern edge. Its name comes from "Chill Airne", meaning "church of the sloe", the original site of which is thought to be the location of the present day St. Mary's Church of Ireland.
The spectacular scenery of the area, particularly the lakes has been the basis of a tourism industry that has been operating in Killarney for at least 200 years, although it was the visit of Queen Victoria to the area in 1861 that saw the start of the large-scale tourism that we know today.
The town itself is quite small, although the thriving tourism industry means that the population of the town swells considerably during the summer months. The total annual number of visitors to Killarney reaches well over one million, and it is estimated that up to three quarters of these will spend at least some of their stay within the National Park.
The most impressive building in the town is the Cathedral, which was designed by Pugin and finally completed in the 1920's after some eighty years of construction work.