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

Killeen Course - 1st Hole
Killarney Golf & Fishing Club
Killarney, Co. Kerry
Course Type: Parkland
Killarney holds a unique place in Irish golf and Killarney Golf and Fishing Club has been described as a golfer’s paradise’. With three courses set in some of the most stunning countryside - some would say it is the most picturesque g ...
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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

Ross Castle - Killarney County Kerry Ireland
Ross Castle
Killarney, Co. Kerry
Ross Castle is located on the edge of Lough Leane, in Killarney National Park and is considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. Ross Castle was built in the late 15th century by local ruling c ...
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Wedding Venues

Wedding
Sheen Falls Lodge
Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Set in a 300-acre estate just across the river from Kenmare town, this stunning hotel enjoys a beautiful waterside location, and welcoming fires always burn in the foyer and in several of the spacious, elegantly furnished reception rooms, includi ...
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Local Recommendations

Hospitality

Special Offers

  • 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 golden years break from just €199 for three nights & two dinners with the 4th night free
  • 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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