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Torc Waterfall Killarney: Parking, The Walk + How To Avoid Stress

Torc Waterfall Killarney: Parking, The Walk + How To Avoid Stress

Torc Waterfall in Killarney is glorious in the off-season and chaotic, at times, during the peak tourist season.

One of the first stops along the Ring of Kerry, the Killarney waterfall is 20 metres (66 ft) high and located within the National Park.

How you visit will likely depend on your fitness level and how much time you have. There are three options:

  • The handy way (drive to main car park and walk 5 minutes to it)
  • The Torc Waterfall walk (there’s a 5km and 10km trail – map 1/2 way down this article)
  • On bike (arguably the best way)

Quick need-to-knows before visiting Torc Waterfall in Killarney

Although you’d image a visit here would be nice and straightforward, for most people visiting it isn’t.

This is thanks to crowds and a tiny parking area. Both of which combine to make this one of the things to do in Killarney that many people are forced to skip. 

1. Location

You’ll find Torc Waterfall in Killarney, along the Ring of Kerry, a stone’s thrown from the town and just outside Killarney National Park.

2. How to get to Torc Waterfall by car, foot and bike

If you’re driving, head straight for the Torc Waterfall car park along the N71 Road. If you’re cycling or walking, avoid using the main road and get into the park. There’s clear cycle routes and it’s a mostly flat path to walk/cycle (rent a bike in Killarney here – affiliate link).

3. Parking (warning)

The Torc Waterfall parking area (here on maps) is tiny. The best way to avoid hassle here is to arrive either very early (e.g. 07:30) or very late (e.g. before sunset) when crowd levels are lower. There’s more parking down the road (here on maps) but extreme caution is needed as there’s no path.

4. The walk/hike

If you do the full Torc Waterfall hike from Muckross House, it’s 10km and takes around 2.5 hours. If you do the shorter 5km trail, it’ll take you just under 2 hours (find maps for both walks below).

About Torc Waterfall in Kerry

how to get to Torc Waterfall

Photos via Shutterstock

You’ll find Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain in County Kerry, 7km from Killarney Town and around 2.5km 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.


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 conquered a magical wild boar up Torc mountain with a golden spear.

The Torc Waterfall walk

Now, a warning – although there is a long and short version of the Torc Waterfall walk, the only difference is the 4-5km section between Muckross House and the trailhead.

Both trails take in the toughest section, which is the incline section after the start of the trailhead. Good fitness is required.

The long walk

The long version of the Torc Waterfall walk is 10km and takes 2.5 hours. This is a tough hike with a lot of ascent, steep ‘steps’ (they’re just rocks) and a dangerous terrain when wet, so good shoes are needed.

If you look at the map above, the trail begins at the car park at Muckross House. From there, you follow the trail along the lake before reaching the car park on the N71.

Cross the road carefully and you’ll see the start of the trail. It’s easy to follow from there.

The short walk

The shorter Torc Waterfall walk is 5km and it takes around 1 hour and 50 minutes to complete. You can park here and start the walk from the trailhead across the road.

Please take great care when crossing this road as cars ten to speed along it.

Other walks nearby

If you don’t like the sound of the trails above, there are many other walks in Killarney that start close by.

Two of the most popular are Cardiac Hill (takes around 1.5 hours) and the 2-3 hour Torc Mountain walk.

How to cycle to Torc Waterfall and avoid all the hassle

The best way to see Torc Waterfall in Killarney is by bike. You can rent a bike from several different places in the town, and then spin straight into Killarney National Park.

Now, if you’re not used to cycling, don’t worry – I hadn’t ridden a bike in years until last summer, when we rented a couple in Killarney.

The National Park is a breeze to cycle through and it’s nicely laid out, so you can cycle at your leisure. You can cycle over to Ross Castle, Muckross House and Muckross Abbey.

Then, you can spin out as far as Torc Waterfall. There’s some railings near the public toilets that you come to right next to the bridge, where you can lock up your bike.

From here, it’s a short walk across to Torc Waterfall. This is a nice and handy way of exploring Killarney and seeing the waterfall without dealing with the parking pains.

Things to see and do near the Killarney waterfall

best things to do in Killarney Ireland

One of the beauties of visiting Torc Waterfall in Kerry is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter many of the most popular places to visit in Kerry, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Torc Waterfall. If you fancy a bite to eat there’s plenty of great restaurants in Killarney.

  1. Muckross House and Gardens (15-minute drive): Explore the 19th century Victorian mansion, gardens and farms
  2. Muckross Abbey (20-minute drive): Beautiful old ruins of a Franciscan friary founded around 1445
  3. Ross Castle (25-minute drive): Impressive 15th century tower house overlooking the lower lake
  4. Ladies View (25-minute drive): One of the most famous stops on our 1-day Ring of Kerry itinerary 

Frequently asked questions

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park for the Torc Waterfall walk to how long it takes to get to it.

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.

Is Torc Waterfall worth visiting?

Although it’s relatively small at just 20 metres (66 ft), Torc Waterfall is well worth a visit. It’s at its most impressive after heavy rainfall when the water thunders down from above.

Do you have to hike to Torc Waterfall?

No – Torc Waterfall is very accessible. If you park at the main parking area it’s no more than a 5-minute walk to the viewing area.

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