Ireland Guide

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County Kerry

It's something special, being Kerry. This magnificent county in the far southwest has Ireland's highest and most varied mountains, and certain favoured areas also have our longest-lived citizens. Then, too, it's a region which has long been a global pioneer in the hospitality  business - in 2004, the scenically-blessed town of Killarney celebrated 250 years in the forefront of Irish tourism, while its most senior hotel, the Great Southern (now the Malton), celebrated its own 150th anniversary.

So visitors inevitably arrive with high expectations. Kerry, however, can face the challenge. This magnificent county really is the Kingdom of Kerry. Everything is king size. For not only has Kerry mountains galore - more than anywhere else in Ireland - but there's a rare quality to Carrantuohill, the highest of all.

By international standards, this loftiest peak of MacGillicuddy's Reeks (try pronouncing it "mackil-cuddy") may not seem particularly notable at just 1038 m. But when you sense its mysterious heights in the clouds above a countryside of astonishing beauty, its relative elevation is definitely world league. And all Kerry’s mountains sweep oceanwards towards a handsome coastline which rings the changes between sheltered inlets and storm tossed offshore islands. Visually, Kerry has everything.

But these days, spectacular scenery isn't enough on its own. Like other leading visitor destinations, Kerry is well aware of the need to provide accessible entertainment and an increasing choice of places with cultural and historical interest. Here too, the Kingdom can oblige.

The oldest fossil footprints in the Northern Hemisphere are in Kerry, and they’re about 350 million years old. You’ll find them way down west, on Valentia Island, and they’re reckoned one of the seven wonders of Ireland. In much more modern times, the Antarctic explorer Tom Crean was from Kerry. He came from the little village of Annascaul on the majestic Dingle Peninsula, and when he had finished with adventuring, he returned to Annascaul and opened the South Pole Inn.    

The town of Killarney, among the lakes and mountains where they’re re-establishing the enormous white-tailed sea eagle, has long been a magnet for visitors, but Killarney is determined not simply to rest on its laurels after more than a Quarter Millennium as Ireland’s premier tourist destination, for it was in 1754 that its attractions were first internationally promoted. Meanwhile, on the more immediate question of keeping the place clean, Killarney scored well in the latest national Tidy Town contest, announced in September 2007 – it came in with a Gold Medal.

Across the purple mountains from Killarney, the lovely little town of Kenmare in South Kerry is both a gourmet focus, and another excellent  touring centre. As one of the prettiest places in Ireland, Kenmare puts the emphasis on civic pride,                                                                           

Away to the west, thrusting into the Atlantic, is the Dingle Peninsula where the harbour town of Dingle is the focal point for a thriving, highly individual and notably hospitable region. And in the far northeast of this large county, Listowel – famed for its writers and its Race Week in September – has the restored Lartigue Monorail, another award-winning attraction. It’s unique. And if you want to know how unique, well, you’ll just have to go and see for yourself.



Local Attractions and Information:

Beaufort  Hotel Dunloe Castle Gardens +353 (0)64 44583

Castleisland Crag Cave  +353 (0)66 714 1244

Dingle Ocean World   +353 (0)66 915 2111

Dunquin  Great Blasket Centre  +353 (0)66 915 6444 / 915 6371

Farranfore  Kerry International Airport +353 (0)66 9764644

Glencar Into the Wilderness Walking Tours (May-Sep) +353 (0)66 60104

Kenmare Walking Festivals  +353 (0)64 41034

Kenmare Heritage Centre +353 (0)64 41233

The Centre covers various themes including Famous Visitors to Kenmare, The Nun of Kenmare, Kenmares history and historical sites, Effects of the Famine on Kenmare and the Landlords of Kenmare. The Centre also has a Kenmare Lace Exhibition.

An integral part of the Experience of the Kenmare Story is to visit the Historical sites after visiting the Centre. The Heritage Trail map will show you at first hand some of the delights of Kenmare. All the sites are within walking distance from the Centre and the trail takes about 40 minutes to complete.

Killarney Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farm +353 (0)64 31440

Killarney  Tourism Information +353 (0)64 31633

Killorglin Kerry Woollen Mills +353 (0)64 44122

Killorglin Puck Fair (ancient festival), mid-August +353 (0)66 976 2366

Lauragh Dereen Gardens  +353 (0)64 83103

To the north of the Beara Peninsual is famous for tree ferns, azaleas and rhododendron.

Listowel St John's Art Centre  +353 (0)68 22566

Listowel Writers' Week (June)  +353 (0)68 21074

Tralee  Kerry County Museum  +353 (0)66 712 7777

Tralee  Rose of Tralee Festival (late August)  +353 (0)66 712 3227

Tralee  Siamsa Tire Arts Centre +353 (0)66 712 3055

Valentia Island The Skellig Experience +353 (0)66 947 6306

Valentia Island Valentia Heritage (Knightstown)  +353 (0)66 947 6411

Waterville Craft Market  +353 (0)66 947 4212

Gardens

Glanleam House & Subtropical Garden - Valentia Island County Kerry ireland
Glanleam House & Subtropical Garden
Valentia Island, Co. Kerry
Experiencing this garden is like straying into a benign jungle where the most exotic of plants rule in wild profusion. And if ever there was a place to give a sense of other worldliness it is Glanleam. The 40 acre site on an east facing bay on Va ...
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Golf

Dooks Golf Club - County Kerry Ireland
Dooks Golf Club
Killorglin, Co. Kerry
Course Type: Links
The golf links is set out on one of the three stretches of sand dunes at the head of Dingle bay. In the immediate foreground are the sand dune peninsulas of Rossbeigh and Inch and just a few miles away the whitewashed houses of Cromane fishing vi ...
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Self Catering

Selfcatering
Rose Cottage
Killorglin, Co. Kerry
Rose Cottage is a 4 star ITBA (Irish Tourist Board Approved) cottage, set in a secluded location in an orchard nestled in the hills above Killorglin. Rose Cottage belies it's secluded location as it is also very convenient to Killorglin town, onl ...
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What's On

Tralee Farmers Market - County Kerry - Saturdays
Tralee Farmers Market

Princes Quay, across the road from The Brandon Hotel. Tralee, County Kerry

Saturdays: 11am - 3pm

Has 22 stalls and growing and have won betwee ...
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Tourist Attractions

Derrynane House - Caherdaniel County Kerry Ireland
Derrynane House
Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry
Derrynane House is the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, lawyer, politician and statesman. Situated on the scenic Iveragh Peninsula on the Ring of Kerry coastline, Derrynane House displays many relics of O'Connell's life and career and is now a ...
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Wedding Venues

Hotel Dunloe Castle - Wedding Venue - Killarney County Kerry Ireland
The Dunloe (formerly Hotel Dunloe Castle)
Killarney, Co. Kerry
The Dunloe is named after its own ruined castle and is one of three hotels in common ownership in the area - the others are the aptly-named Europe Hotel & Resort at Fossa, and ultra romantic Ard na Sidhe Country House, overlooking Caragh Lake ...
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Local Recommendations

Hospitality

Special Offers

  • Family Breaks & Golden Breaks at Derrynane Hotel - Caherdaniel Co Kerry

    The Derrynane Hotel enjoys a most wonderful setting next to the sea in the magnificent county of Kerry. Enjoy a fabulous stay and dine break for families or golden years from just €199
  • Short Breaks at Carrig Country House

    If you love the outdoors or simply lounging around, you can enjoy a short break that’s packed with fun filled days and luxurious, pampered evenings at Carrig Country House on the shores of majestic Caragh Lake on the Ring of Kerry.
  • The Smugglers Inn - Co Kerry

    Complimentary glass of wine (or an Irish Coffee) for every Georgina Campbell's Ireland reader that has a 3 course dinner in the Smugglers Inn.
  • Variety of Breaks at The Malton

    The pillared entrance and ivy-clad facade of this classic Victorian railway hotel in Killarney County Kerry still convey a sense of occasion and they have great special offers on including One night B&B from just €60 per person sharing

Self Catering

Farmers Markets

Tourist Attractions

Golf Courses

Gardens

Town Information

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