In this quick guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Torc Waterfall, Killarney, from parking and how long it takes to walk plus plenty more.
A visit to Torc Waterfall is one of the best things to do in Killarney – if you arrive at the right time.
On my last two visits (June of 2019 and May of 2017) we had a nightmare trying to park and had to come back at a later time – which was less than ideal.
If you’re planning a visit to Torc Waterfall while driving the Ring of Kerry, or if you’re just nipping over to it while on a trip to Killarney, you’ll find everything you need below.
About Torc Waterfall
You’ll find Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain in County Kerry, 7 kilometres from Killarney Town (more info on distances below) and around 2.5 kilometres from the entrance to Muckross House.
The waterfall is 20 metres (66 ft) high and 110 metres (360 ft) long and was formed by the nearby Owengarriff River as it drains from the uniquely named ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ lake.
Naming and mythology
There’s an interesting story about where Torc Waterfall gets its name, and it all begins with the meaning behind the word ‘Torc’ in Irish (it translates to ‘Boar’).
The area where Torc Waterfall is located is associated with the legend of a local man that was cursed by the Devil.
According to legend, the cursed man was transformed into a wild boar every night and it’s said that he’d spend his evenings roaming the area near the waterfall. This continued until the man’s secret was revealed by a local farmer.
The revelation of the secret resulted in the man bursting into flames and disappearing into the nearby Devils Punchbowl.
There’s another story that involves the warrior Fionn MacCumhaill killing a magical wild boar up Torc mountain with a golden spear.
Can you drive to Torc Waterfall?
Yes! You can drive up to the parking area of Torc Waterfall, which is a short walk from the waterfall itself.
If you or one of your party has limited mobility, you or they shouldn’t find it overly difficult to get from the parking area to the waterfall.
The one issue you may face is that, if the carpark is packed to the brim, you may not be able to find a space.
How long does it take to walk to Torc Waterfall
I tend to get this question quite a bit, and people are generally asking about the distance between the carpark and the watefall (if you’re not, see the section below).
It’ll take you 3 – 5 minutes MAX to walk from the carpark at Torc to the actual waterfall. If you’re talking about walking to Torc from Muckross House, it’ll take you half an hour.
How far is Torc Waterfall from Killarney
Torc Waterfall is roughly 7 kilometres from the buzzy town of Killarney. It’ll take you 10 minutes to drive, 21 minutes to cycle, and 1.5 hours to walk it.
The Torc Walk / Hike
There’s a 4.5-kilometre walk/hike that takes you up Torc Mountain and that offers some of the best views in the county.
This is a moderate walk that’ll take around 2.5 hours and that involves a 150 m ascent. The best starting point for the Torc Waterfall walk is Muckross House (you can park nearby if you have a car).
When you leave Muckross House, you’ll follow a track to the left that offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Keep to the left and look for the Old Boathouse. From here you’ll follow a trail that takes in the cliffs of Dundag Point (there are also lovely views over Killarney’s Middle Lake from here).
As you continue along the path, you’ll work your way through trees to cross the Owengarriff River. Keep an eye out for steps. These will lead you through woodlands to a viewpoint which will give you a cracking view of Torc Waterfall.
The walking trail continues to the N71 road which you’ll need to cross to return to the starting point.
Have a question about visiting here? Ask me below!