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8 Best Pubs in Killarney (For Music + Guinness)

8 Best Pubs in Killarney (For Music + Guinness)

The best pubs in Killarney are, in my opinion, Jimmy Brien’s (pictured above) and O’Connors.

However, when it comes to great bars Killarney is far from a one-or-two-horse-town!

I tend to lean towards Brien’s as it’s a fine example of a traditional Irish pub and they pour a peach of a pint of Guinness.

With that said, there’s stiff competition – especially when it comes to pubs with live music in Killarney!

Below, you’ll find some great bars to kick-back in for a post-adventure pint after a day on the Ring of Kerry. Cheers!

The best pubs in Killarney, Ireland

Take every guide to the best pubs in Killarney with a pinch of salt (including this one!). There are over 50 bars in Killarney Town and what’s ‘great’ is often subjective.

This guide is packed with pubs I’ve been to on at least 5 occasions and that I’m confident you’ll enjoy after a day spent ticking off the various things to do in Killarney.

1. Jimmy Brien’s

Jimmy Brien's

Photos via Jimmy Brien’s on FB

You’ll find it hard to miss Jimmy Brien’s on College Street, thanks to it’s bright green and gold exterior (the Kerry colours!).

This is a prime example of a traditional Irish pub – there’s just the one room and, thanks to the carpet and the walls lined with photos, it feels like you’re strolling into someone’s living room.

Nab a seat if you can and, if you’re so inclined, opt for a Guinness – you won’t find many (if any) pints in Killarney Town that rival this one.

While many of the best pubs in Killarney are fairly touristy, Brien’s has somehow managed to retain a ‘local’ feel to it. With that being said, any time I’ve nipped in here in the past I’ve felt more than welcome. A mighty pub.

2. O’Connors

O'Connors Pub Killarney

Photos via O’Connors on FB

Celebrating 100 years in business in 2023, O’Connor’s on High Street is one of the oldest pubs Killarney has to offer.

Traditional to its core, O’Connor’s is beautifully kitted out on the inside, with panelled walls, checkered floors and old-school decor.

It’s one of a handful of pubs with live music in Killarney running most nights of the week (check their Facebook for updates) and they do cocktails along with tasty toasties.

Now, although I’ve spent more evenings here than I have in any of the other bars in Killarney in this guide, I’ve never managed to nab a seat inside. Even during the off-season this place is popular, so keep that in mind!

3. Courtney’s Bar

Courtney's Bar

Photos via Courtney’s Bar on FB

If you’re visiting the town and you want to nurse a drink in a bar that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, head for Plunkett Street.

It’s here that you’ll find Courtney’s Bar. Dating back to the 1800s, it’s one of the oldest pubs in Killarney (it’s also one of the most visually impressive!).

When you walk through its doors you’ll be greeted by a glorious bare wood interior that’ll transport you to another world. Sit, sip and soak up the collection of memorabilia that is dotted along every wall.

Fancy some live music? According to their website, live music runs every Friday throughout the year with trad sessions taking place on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer.

4. John M. Reidy

John M. Reidy

Photos via John M. Reidy on IG

You’ll regularly see Reidy’s top guides to the best pubs in Killarney and, after you’ve spent an evening there, you’ll understand why.

Reidy’s is an institution. Since it was built in the 1870s, it has been home to everything from a sweetshop to an agricultural supply store.

When you step inside its doors, you immediately get the sense of the history of the place – it looks and feels ‘old’, and I mean that in the best possible sense.

Take some time to browse the countless artifacts and nods to the areas history that can be found on every wall. Oh, and if you fancy a feed, they do some of the best brunch in Killarney, too.

Why I keep going back: The thing that keeps me going back to Reidy’s are the booths. If you manage to nab one, you’ll have seating for 3 or 4 that, while nice and private, still lets in the atmosphere from the pub.

5. Murphy’s Bar

Although there are plenty of great restaurants in Killarney, if I find myself in the town and in need of a feed, more often than not I’ll head to Murphy’s.

A stone’s throw from Killarney National Park, it was established in 1955 and visitors to its cosy confines can expect wonderful wooden beams, decor detailing the areas history and rustic stone walls.

If you’re looking to sample some live music in Killarney, there are regular sessions running here (hit play on the video above).

You can also expect a fine bitta pub grub on-the-go with everything from soup and bruschetta to roasts and fish on offer.

6. The Laurels Pub

The Laurels

Photos via The Laurels on FB

The Laurels is one of the better-known pubs in Killarney and, in my opinion, it’s a good spot if you’re after a decent feed and a few pints.

Now, a tip – there’s a door on the left and a door on the right – if you head for the one on the right you’ll find a more pub-like setting, while the door on the left leads into what feels more like a restaurant.

Head in along the tiled floors, walking beneath the beamed ceilings and, if you’re lucky, the tables next to the fire will be free!

The Laurels has been run by the O’Leary family for over a century and you’ll find the type of service and fare that comes with this kind of tenure.

Fancy exploring Killarney on foot? Hop into our guides to Cardiac Hill, Torc Mountain, Carrauntoohil and the best walks in Killarney National Park

7. Kate Kearney’s Cottage

Kate Kearney’s

Photos via Kate Kearney’s on FB

Now, all of the Killarney pubs mentioned above are in the town. Kate Kearney’s Cottage is the exception. It’s located just outside of Killarney, right next to the Gap of Dunloe.

One of the most iconic pubs in Kerry, it’s worth travelling to if you have a designated driver in tow (or if you’re not drinking, of course!).

This 150+-year-old establishment is one of the most famous pubs in Killarney and it runs a popular Irish music night

On fine days, kick back in their beer garden where you’ll be treated to an eyeful of the Gap of Dunloe while you sip!

8. Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Celtic Whiskey Bar

Photos via Celtic Whiskey Bar on FB

So, this guide to the best pubs Killarney has to offer has been updated several times since it was first published 5 years ago.

One of the more recent editions is the Celtic Whiskey Bar. Now, this isn’t the type of place I’d usually go to if I’m visiting the town solo or with close freiends/family.

However, if I’m visiting with someone new to Ireland/someone visiting that’s a fan of whiskey, this place is a must. It’s home to Ireland’s largest whiskey colletion.

There’s a menu with the likes of chowder, wings and veggie options on offer along with an extensive cocktail list.

What bars in Killarney have we missed?

live music in killarney

The guide above contains my favourite spots in the town. If you’ve visited any Killarney pubs that you’re fond of, shout in the comments below.

If you’re planning a trip to the town, make sure to hop into our guide to the best hotels in Killarney for advice on where to stay! Cheers!

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