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The Killarney Jaunting Cars: History, Tours + Tipping

The Killarney Jaunting Cars: History, Tours + Tipping

The Killarney Jaunting Cars (the horse and ‘cart’) have graced the cover of millions of postcards over the years.

They’re one of the most popular things to do in Killarney amongst visiting tourists and you’ll find them in several locations around Killarney Town.

Below, you’ll discover the history behind them along with the different tour options (e.g. the Gap of Dunloe jaunting tour). Enjoy!

Some quick need-to-knows about the Killarney Jaunting Cars

killarney horse and cart

Photos via Shutterstock

The Killarney Jaunting cars can cause a bit of confusion, so it’s worth taking 20 seconds to read the points below, first:

1. What they are

Built as a mode of personal travel in the 1800s to mid 20th century, these two or four-wheeled horse-drawn rigs were widely used to carry up to 4 four people. The name ‘jaunting’ was used to describe the pleasure trip and it’s where we get the saying that someone is ‘off on a jaunt’.

2. A very old tradition

Jaunting Cars were used for well over 100 years throughout Ireland and were a commonplace form of transport. They were replaced gradually once public transport became more readily available and motor cars started to become more common.

3. Where they leave from

The Killarney Jaunting cars leave from of several pick-up/drop-off spots including near the Lake Hotel, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House and Killarney Town Centre. If you prefare, you can book one of the Jaunty tours in advance (affiliate link).

4. Tipping

Tipping in Ireland is entirely at your discretion. There is an accepted rule of thumb of 10% of the service cost, and good service is always worth rewarding. However, it is entirely up to you.

5. Dress for the weather

Some of the Jaunting cars in Killarney are uncovered, so it’s well worth dressing with all types of weather in mind (i.e. waterproofs thoughout the year).

The story behind the Jaunting Cars


Photos via Shutterstock

Traditionally, a jaunting car was a lightly built two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage, usually pulled by a single horse – in its day, this was akin to the family car.

Jaunting cars were used by almost everyone who could afford one, and also as a means for others to earn a living by ‘driving’ passengers. The term ‘jarveys’ refers to those who ‘drive’ the jaunting cars.

In today’s vernacular, we can often hear the expression ‘go off on a jaunt’, and this usually refers to a short pleasurable excursion and comes directly from the usage of jaunting cars.

Although widely used throughout Ireland during the 1800s and into the 20th century, jaunting cars are now reserved as a tourist activity for those wanting to connect to a bygone era or perhaps a family legacy.

Some recommended Jaunting Car tours in Killarney

Jaunting cars Killarney

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’d like to head out on one of the Killarney Jaunting car tours, these are the ones that I have been recommending to people for years.

Note: if you book a tour through one of the links below we may make a commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. The 1-hour traditional Jaunting car tour

This tour is the one most people that visit this website book and I’ve rarely heard anything but rave reviews.

The tour takes 1 hour and you’ll trot around the town while taking in the gothic St Mary’s Church, historic Ross Castle, and the majestic scenery of Lough Leane.

2. The Gap of Dunloe jaunting car tour

If you’re looking to explore more of Killarney and you have some time, this very popular 5-hour Gap of Dunloe jaunting car tour is worth considering.

The tour starts with the jaunty tour of the Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe, ending at Lord Brandon’s Cottage. You’ll then move to a boat where you’ll cruise through the Lakes of Killarney.

Other things to do while you’re in Killarney

killarney national park

One of the beauties of the Jaunting cars in Killarney is that they give you a taste of what the area has to offer.

Many of the most popular places to visit in Kerry are a stone’s throw away, including:

FAQs about Jaunting and Jarveys in Killarney

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do they leave from?’ to ‘Do you have to tip?’.

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.

How much are the jaunting cars in Killarney?

The cheapest you’ll get one is from around the €35 mark (see above). Some include longer treks/additional experiences and can go as high as €100.

Do you tip on the jaunting cars?

Tipping is discretionary, but generally always appreciated. In Ireland, a 10% tip for good service is the norm. However, you can tip higher or lower, if you like.

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