Looking for the best pubs in Killarney? You’ll find plenty of them below!
A popular stop along the scenic Ring of Kerry drive, Killarney just might be one of the best destinations in County Kerry to enjoy a post-adventure pint.
Right, I need to level with you from the get-go: I’m not a big fan of fancy boutique bars or chain-style pubs – I like those old-school watering holes where it almost feels like time has stood still.
In the guide below, you’ll find plenty of old-school style pubs in Killarney, along with one or two newish bars that are well worth dropping in to.
The best pubs in Killarney, Ireland
Picking the best pubs in Killarney wasn’t easy. Why? Well, there are over 50 of them… which is a lot when you consider the population of the town and its surrounds stands at around 15,000 people.
The demand is there, though – Killarney town is a haven for tourists who flock to its buzzy streets by the boat-load (there are loads of things to do in Killarney, after all!).
However, not all bars in Killarney are equal. There are a handful of tourist traps to avoid! In the guide below, you’ll discover the best of the bunch!
1. John M. Reidy (one of our favourite pubs in Killarney!)
You’ll regularly see Reidy’s top travel guides to the best pubs in Killarney, and there’s no real mystery why.
John M. Reidy is an institution. Since it was built in the 1870s, it’s been home to everything from a sweetshop to an agricultural supply store.
Nowadays, John M. Reidy is a lively bar in Killarney that offers a variety of drinks (try the signature Reidy’s Whiskey Sour) and a buzzy atmosphere.
Traveller tip: If you’re in search of old-school bars in Killarney where you’ll be welcomed by a gorgeous interior, friendly service and a fine pint, get yourself here!
2. Murphy’s Bar
One of the most popular pubs in Killarney with both locals and tourists, Murphy’s Bar is located in the centre of Killarney.
Full of character with hundreds of photographs lining the walls, this traditional Irish bar hosts live music performances and has a restaurant upstairs that offers a full lunch and dinner menu.
Whiskey connoisseurs will be pleased to hear that, aside from an extensive beer and wine list, Murphy’s Bar has an amazing selection of whiskeys.
Traveller tip: If you’re searching for bars in Killarney that do a fine bit of food, you can’t go wrong with Murphy’s (the traditional Irish stew will warm the coldest of cockles).
3. The Laurels
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a sucker for typical traditional Irish pubs. Therefore, it’ll come as no surprise that the Laurels has found its way into this guide.
The Laurels is a family-owned pub has been keeping the town of Killarney fed and watered for almost a century.
They also host live Irish music nights and have an adjacent restaurant that serves mouthwatering dishes.
Food guides like Hidden Places of Ireland and Berlitz recommend this place, so make sure to try the food here.
Related read: Check out our guide to the tastiest restaurants in Killarney (there’s everything to burger spots to fine dining).
4. Courtney’s Bar
Dating back to the 1800s, Courtney’s Bar is one of the oldest pubs in Killarney. It also has some of the best reviews on Google!
Whether you’re craving a pint of the ‘Black Stuff’ or if you fancy sampling a selection of Irish whiskies, this traditional pub on Plunkett Street has it all.
This no-frills pub has an old-school, bare wood interior and it hosts live music sessions during the busy summer months.
5. O’Connor’s Traditional Pub
If you’re searching for a good old traditional Irish pub during your visit to Killarney, look no further than the O’Connor’s.
The place hosts live music performances on a daily basis and boasts a friendly atmosphere that’s enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
The pub’s loft-style restaurant serves a variety of home-made soups and traditional pub grub, so you won’t go hungry!
There’s also whiskey and gin tastings and beer sampling (available upstairs), but keep in mind that bookings for these events are essential.
Related read: Check out our guide to the tastiest breakfast in Killarney (there’s everything to cheap eats to boozy brunch).
6. Jimmy Brien’s Bar
You’ll find Jimmy Brien’s Bar on College Street right in the centre of the town. This place is a mix of a traditional Irish pub and a sports bar.
It’s known to cover a bunch of international and national sports events, making it a popular hangout spot for local and visiting sport fanatics.
The golden exterior of Jimmy’s (yes, they’re the Kerry colours!) tends to grab your eye as you pass, so you’ll be excused if you drop in for an impromptu pint.
This is one of a handful of bars in Killarney that I find people overlook, for some reason. Nip in here. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Kate Kearney’s Cottage (one of the most famous Killarney pubs)
Kate Kearneys Cottage is located just outside of Killarney, right next to the Gap of Dunloe. However, although it’s not in the town, it’s definitely worth travelling (it’s one of the most iconic pubs in Kerry).
This 150-year-old establishment is well-known for its hospitality and it tends to attract tourists by the boat-load (the Irish dancing sessions are worth visiting for if that’s what you’re into!).
The bar food at Kate’s is also top-notch (the bangers and mash and their signature apple pie are both incredible!).
Related read: Looking for a place to stay? Hop into our Killarney accommodation guide. You’ll find everything from the best hotels in Killarney to the most unique Killarney Airbnbs.
8. Buckley’s Bar
If the photo above doesn’t have you itching to visit the next of our Killarney pubs, I don’t know what will!
You’ll find Buckley’s Bar in the centre of Killarney, a short walk from the magnificent Killarney National Park.
This is another pub that’s well known for its trad sessions. If you can, I’d recommend dropping by either on a Saturday night after 10 pm or on Sunday, when the regular music sessions start at 1 pm.
If you’re in need of a feed, you’re in luck – this is one of the best pubs in Killarney for pub grub and you’ll find bar food on offer all day long, from May to September.
Fancy exploring Killarney on foot? Hop into our guides to Cardiac Hill, Torc Mountain, Carrauntoohil and the best walks in Killarney National Park.
9. The Killarney Grand (one of the best bars in Killarney for a lively night out)
Last but by no means least is the Killarney Grand, a place that’s known and loved for its regular live music sessions (not always trad sessions!).
You’ll find everything from cover bands to DJs rocking away here. The Killarney Grand is designed to cater for all ages; there’s a front-bar that tends to attract bands and solo acts and a nightclub where you’ll find DJs playing late into the night.
Live music takes place 7 nights a week all year round and the trad session here is reputed to be pretty damn good.
FAQs about the best bars in Killarney
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from which Killarney pubs have the best food to which ones host live music sessions.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best pubs in Killarney (traditional pubs, that is!)?
My favourite Killarney pubs are Courtney’s, The Laurels, Murphys, O’Connors Traditional Pub and Reidy’s.
What Killarney pubs host live trad sessions?
Two of the best bars in Killarney for traditional music, in my opinion, are O’Connors Traditional Pub and the bar in the Killarney Grand.
What are the best bars in Killarney for food?
It’s hard to beat The Laurels, Killarney Brewing Company, Jimmy O’Brien’s, Celtic Whiskey Bar and Hannigans Bar & Restaurant.