Discover the mountains, lakes and coastline of County Kerry
County Kerry has been welcoming visitors for generations. Located on Ireland’s south-west coast, fanned by the Gulf Stream, Kerry’s unspoilt nature, stunning landscapes, rich and distinct culture makes it the most visited regional destination for overseas holidaymakers. The region contains some of Ireland’s most iconic scenery, including Killarney and its famous lakes, the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Dingle Peninsula, Iveragh peninsula including the Ring of Kerry, the equally dramatic Beara peninsula, the historic town of Tralee and the rich pasturelands and sandy beaches of North Kerry.
County Kerry hosts Ireland’s highest mountains, longest walking trails including the Kerry Way, and the oldest National Park (Killarney). It boasts a treasure trove of historic and prehistoric sites and monuments, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael. It has a long established cultural tradition where Irish music, dance, literature, arts and crafts and the Irish language are cherished. Kerry people are renowned for their hospitality and warm, genuine welcome.
Kerry also has the most developed tourism industry with some 12,000 registered bedrooms, signature festivals and events, quality visitor attractions, world-famous golf courses, and is a vibrant eco-tourism, marine and green tourism destination. It is an activity and adventure holidaymaker’s paradise.
Kerry – Your Natural Escape – Do come and join us.
Explore the Kingdom
People have been escaping to Killarney – in the ancient Kingdom of Kerry – for over 250 years. They come for the legendary beauty: the lakes, waterfalls, mountain peaks and heart stopping views. And they come for the craic agus ceol: the good times and the banter, the pubs, live music, and easy Kerry charm.
Queen Victoria visited and fell in love with it. Poets and songwriters have waxed lyrical about it. It’s known as “the home of the traditional Irish welcome”, because this is where Irish tourism began.
“Beauty’s home, Killarney” (as the song goes) is in Ireland’s first great National Park, where Na Crucha Dubha – the country’s highest mountains – ring three gorgeous glacial lakes. The country’s only herd of native red deer roam wild here in ancient woods of oak and yew. Rare white-tailed sea eagles drift overhead.
The town is on the north-east shore of the largest of the three Lakes of Killarney – Lough Leane, or Lake of Learning – where the medieval monks of Inisfallen recorded the earliest history of Ireland.
Killarney makes it easy to enjoy nature – to be as active or as laid-back as you choose. There are easy strolls and challenging hikes, trips and tours, bike hires and boat rides. Traditional horse-drawn jaunting cars – with their drivers known as “jarveys” – wait in the centre of town to take visitors into the National Park. You can take a jaunting car through the hauntingly beautiful glaciated valley, the Gap of Dunloe; or enjoy a boat trip across the three lakes which is a magical tour experience.
Killarney is the ultimate Gateway for exploring South West Ireland’s three wild Atlantic Peninsulas – Dingle, Beara and Iveragh – and the world-famous Ring of Kerry.
Back in town, the streets are a hive of activity, full of life, with an abundance of great restaurants and dining to suit your tastes!
Kenmare is a tranquil sanctuary along the Wild Atlantic Way with superb food, outstanding accommodation and breath-taking scenery. It has ancient roots with a Stone Circle situated in the heart of the town believed to date back some 3,000 years. The unique planned town that you see today was designed by Sir William Petty and developed by the surveyor John Powell in the late 1700s.
The Irish name for Kenmare is Neidin which means ‘little nest’. An apt name for a town nestled between the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara peninsulas. Kenmare is a place of otherworldly beauty that nourishes the soul and encourages you to take a moment, relax, and then jump into all the amazing activities on offer!
There are plenty of land and water based things to do in Kenmare. Learn to ride a horse, don a wet suit and take to the water, cycle along the quiet roads or just take a leisurely hike along the many and varied trails. Kenmare Bay and the surrounding area is an ecological marvel and your adventures will leave you with lasting memories.
Kenmare is a place that draws people in and encourages them to return, in fact, many who come to visit, stay to build their own nest here. Artists of all mediums have taken inspiration from this beautiful area for generations.
Kenmare’s is also world renowned for its hospitality and a visitors comfort and enjoyment are foremost in the minds of your hosts to ensure your visit is just how you want it to be, memorable for all the right reasons. The town is also famous as a food destination and eating out in Kenmare is always a special experience. The highly acclaimed and award winning restaurants offer the very best of locally sourced produce. There is a wealth of choice on offer.
At the far west of the Iveragh Peninsula – half way round the famous Ring of Kerry – you feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world. This is the Skellig Coast.
Out to sea, two jagged crags – Oileáin na Scealga – rise out of the Atlantic: Little Skellig, home to one of the largest seabird colonies in the world, and Skellig Michael, an extraordinary, far-flung place of pilgrimage – one of the wonders of the world.
The whole Skellig Coast is inspiring and energising. The coastal route, the Skellig Ring, takes you off down narrow lanes into the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region), through tiny ports and villages. You may find yourself climbing steep cliff roads, wind-buffeted above crashing seas. Or strolling along a wide sandy beach. In the distance, golden sunlight shines onto the rugged peaks of Iveragh and Dingle. The weather sweeps in off the Atlantic and through, followed by the widest of rainbows.
You can really get to know people here. There are small family-run businesses: pubs with peat fires and traditional music sessions, bed and breakfasts, restaurants with rooms, and local food producers – from artisan chocolate to some of the best seafood in Ireland.
There’s a wide arc of history too, from the Tetrapod tracks on the shores of Valentia Island – the earliest fossil footprints in the world, to the nearby site of the first Transatlantic Cable, and from Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace at Cahersiveen and home at Derrynane National Park, to memories of Charlie Chaplin, who loved to holiday in Waterville.
It’s surprisingly easy to be drawn off-the-beaten track, and lose yourself down byways. But if you do get lost – no matter. You’ll want to stay, take your time, and discover this place for yourself.
Wrapped in some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery, the Reeks District on the south-west coast is a stone’s throw from Kerry Airport. The region was recently chosen by Rough Guides as one of its Best Places to Visit in 2019 – an annual list of the holiday hotspots that most excite the esteemed travel guides’ authors for the coming year. It also features as number three in the list’s ‘6 Regions on our Radar’.
Stretching from Ireland’s highest peak Carrauntoohil (1,039m) to the Blue Flag beaches of Castlemaine Harbour, the region provides an awesome backdrop for both locals and visitors to enjoy, and has been dubbed Ireland’s Adventure Playground. The area offers the chance to take part in activities such as walking, hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking and surfing all in close proximity to each other.
Adventure enthusiasts can also do the newly-launched Big Five Challenge – Ireland’s ultimate bucket list adventure. Activities on the Big Five include climbing the country’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, surfing a wave at Inch beach, kayaking the length of Caragh Lake, cycling the Ring of the Reeks and enjoying a night-time SUP experience on Lough Cloon, a remote mountain lake which sits on the edge of the only Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve in the Northern Hemisphere (and only one of three Gold Tier reserves in the world).
There are plenty of other things to do in the region, including horse riding on golden beaches, golf, unique festivals, markets and heritage attractions.
After a day taking the sights, visitors will be spoilt for choice with a wide range of restaurants, pubs and accommodation in a selection of fabulous B&B’s, manor houses or boutique hotels & self-catering that the Reeks District region has to offer, all while retaining a traditional Irish welcome.
A short 15 minute drive from the airport is Tralee, Kerry’s Capital, a spirited and lively town which acts as the main Kerry gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way. Best Large Tourist town 2015, it is also the business, shopping, educational, and industrial capital of the county, playing host to international technology companies as well. Steeped in medieval history Tralee recently celebrated its 800th anniversary. The town’s highest profile recognition comes from the International Rose of Tralee Festival which is hosted every August.
Tralee and the Wild Atlantic Way
Tralee Bay is a jewel on the longest defined coastal touring route in the world. With stunning seascapes that will take your breath away, Tralee is the ideal base to explore the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry and is less than an hour by car from other destination towns featured on the Wild Atlantic Way – Ballybunnion to the north, Kenmare to the south , Dingle to the west and Caherciveen .
Tralee offers a wealth of family entertainment easily researched on Tralee.ie. Unmissable attractions range from the Aqua Dome to Tralee Bay Wetlands, Kingdom Greyhound stadium and The Playdium to name a few.
Tralee town centre boasts an eclectic array of stores. The main Mall and Square are hosts to famous retailers such as Shaws, Carraig Donn, Penneys and as well as many family-owned businesses and boutiques. The town also has a huge range of retail parks on the outskirts
Bars & Restaurants
Tralee a Purple Flag town who’s hoteliers, restaurateurs and chefs offer quality food at reasonable prices. People looking for authenticity, can experience the local culture in world famous bars and pubs where traditional music and story-telling give tourists a real sense of place. This is what sets Tralee apart from other destinations.
Arts & Culture
The National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire, based in Tralee and the Kerry County Museum in the Ashe Memorial Hall provide visitors with a rewarding insight into the Kerry culture. Gaelic games may be enjoyed at Austin Stack Park.
The Dingle Peninsula / Corca Dhuibhne, stretches 30 miles (48 kilometres) into the Atlantic Ocean on the south-west coast on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The Blasket Islands lie to the west and the peninsula is dotted with lovely villages that each offer their own unique sense of place…
‘The most beautiful place on earth’ - National Geographic
‘Voted among the top 100 destinations in the world’
- Trip Advisor
‘A very favourable winter destination’
Film location for Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Ryan’s Daughter and Far and Away…
Spend time in a place rich in tradition, literature and culture, where native Gaelic (Irish language) prospers alongside modern languages, where the perfect harmony created by nature restores the spirit, where you can relax and savour the scenery, the flora and fauna, the art & photography, craft trails, the culture, the archaeology, the local food, craft distillery and breweries, or just meet the people – the choice is yours!
Come and meet “The locals” in a place full of character and characters! Try a “cúpla focail” – our local Irish words, watch some Gaelic Football, join a traditional Irish Music Session or experience our local Festivals all year round! With a choice of villages – from fishing villages to market towns to seaside resorts, there is so much to explore, see and do!
Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula is much more than an attraction… It’s a destination!
The peninsula has something to offer to everyone – hikers & bikers – The Dingle Way and ancient walking trails, cycling delights, links golf, horse riding trails, water activities – surfing, kayaking, eco boat tours, windsurfing, diving, rowing, sailing, angling, swimming at Blue Flag beaches; family fun – aquarium, pet farms, summer camps; wellbeing and relaxation; educational holidays; immersive sports events; heritage and geology enthusiasts; shopping and so much more…
North Kerry boasts not only beautiful scenery, but is filled with amazing characters too, most notably in Listowel, the home of Ireland’s largest Literary Festival; Writers Week.
The beautiful heritage town of Listowel with Georgian square on the banks of the River Feale is a modern Irish town where stories begin and where people are cherished. A welcome awaits all who visit this place, whether its for a chat at the Farmers Market on Friday mornings, a whistle-stop tour on the Lartigue Monorail, a pint & a story at John B Keanes Bar, a gig at Mike the Pies, people watching in the Listowel Arms Hotel, shopping in Listowel’s fashionable boutiques, walking through Childers Park taking in the Garden of Europe. A truly special place, its only when you have visited, that you can truly understand Listowel’s magic that continues to inspire artists and writers alike.
Just 15 minutes’ drive from Listowel a little further along the Wild Atlantic Way on the scenic north-west coast is the seaside resort of Ballybunion is a haven for everyone. With two European Blue Flag sandy beaches, and spectacular high cliffs. Take in a round or two of golf on the world-renowned old course. When the wind is up, go surfing or try a spot of shore fishing along the Cashen river. For families there is a modern outdoor children’s playground, Crazy Golf, and the Health and Leisure Centre with three Indoor Pools, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Steam Room and state of the art Gym. And to finish of your day Ballybunion boast some of the finest restaurants and pubs in the region. And at the end of a long day sit in front of an open fire and enjoy the many traditional tunes and stories which will carry you well into the night. Ballybunion something for everyone.