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Once you arrive in the heart of southwestern Ireland, where the island dips its toes in the magnificent Atlantic, you'll know you made the right decision in coming to Kerry. But until you’ve actually experienced its magnificence for yourself, here are some reasons why you should put the Kingdom on your itinerary.
If you only had one day in Kerry, a tour of the Ring of Kerry would bring you right around this stunning county. This 180km tourist trail around the Iveragh Peninsula encircles an area of breathtaking beauty, encompassing a haven for everything from horse-riding to hiking and golf to gourmet dining. If you are driving around the Ring of Kerry, take a break at some of Europe's finest beaches and savour the atmosphere in towns like Killarney and Kenmare.
Hovering above the Iveragh Peninsula on a map, but worlds away in terms of atmosphere and scenery, the Dingle Peninsula weaves its magic. This untamed region of Kerry offers dramatic coastal scenery, a vibrant traditional music scene, and the greatest concentration of ancient archaeological sites anywhere in the country. Enjoy the traditional pubs in in Dingle town and take a boat trip to see Fungie, the famous local dolphin.
On the outskirts of Killarney, on the main Kenmare road, Muckross House is a 19th-century Victorian mansion set among delightful gardens in Killarney National Park. The house overlooks Muckross Lake, one of Killarney's three lakes, and is surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens, a fine arboretum, and extensive rockery. You can take a guided tour of the house and visit the adjacent traditional working farm.
Visible for miles, the dramatic chasm between the Purple Mountain and the Bull Mountain in the McGillycuddy Reeks is one of the finest examples of a glaciated valley in western Europe. The Gap of Dunloe is a 10 km pathway of rugged beauty that passes between the two mountains and can be enjoyed on foot, by pony, in a jaunting car or by bicycle. Local tours combine a trip through the Gap with a boat ride through the lakes.
Covering almost a quarter of the area of Killarney National Park, the world-famous Lakes of Killarney are angling heaven. Comprising the Upper Lake, Muckross Lake (Middle Lake) and Lough Leane (Lower Lake), the Lakes of Killarney abound with brown trout, in addition to an annual run of salmon. You may also come across Arctic Char, which many believe were left behind after the last Ice Age. You don’t need a fishing permit for the lakes, but you can buy a permit in local tackle dealers to fish on the Rivers Flesk and Laune, which feed into them.
Rising from the Atlantic, roughly 12 km southwest of Valentia Island, the Skellig islands are unmissable. Skellig Michael is a 6th-century monastic outpost where the early Christians' stone settlement remains almost exactly as it was more than millennium ago. Boat trips to the island depart from the pier at Portmagee on Valentia island and offer intrepid visitors a unique experience that will live in memory forever.
Pack your clubs when you head down south, because Kerry is golfers' heaven. The county has some of the best natural golfing terrain in the world, from superb links golf courses at Ballybunion to the stunning parklands of Killarney, which hosted the Irish Open in 2010 and 2011. Follow such celebrities as Bill Clinton, Michael Douglas, and Bill Clinton, and golf at Waterville, Killarney, Dooks, or Ballybunion. Pretend you are Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy - they’ve played here too.
At 1,039m (3,414ft), Carrauntoohil is Ireland's highest mountain. On a fine day, you can stand at the top and look out across the surrounding MacGillycuddy Reeks as far as the ocean. This is an awe-inspiring, rugged mountain to climb, but it is not for the out-of-condition or badly equipped. Local guides are available to direct you up the mountain along any of eight different routes. It's a tough few hours hiking, but the view from the top is the perfect reward.
Derrynane is a peaceful coastal retreat near Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry that offers some of the most perfect beaches in a county famous for the quality of its seasides. It is also the site of Derrynane House, which was the home of the 19th-century "Liberator" Daniel O'Connell and is now a National Monument in a 320-acre national park. The ancient Staigue Fort is also just three miles from the village, and sightseeing trips for Skellig Michael leave from Derrynane Harbour in the summer.
Surfers are not known for publicising their favourite waves, preferring to keep them a closely guarded secret, but Kerry's magnificence as a surfing location is legendary. Because of its coastal position, Kerry catches swells from a variety of angles, and it often picks up even the smallest southwest swells, making it a consistent surfing destination. Inch beach and Maharees on the Dingle Peninsula, and Banna Beach, in North Kerry, are some of the most popular places to surf, with lessons available in summer.
8.7km from Dingle
Surround yourself with breathtaking scenery in a 4-star holiday home in the village of Bothar Bui, 11 km west of the thriving tourist town of Dingle in the County Kerry Gaeltacht.
Each stylish apartment features two spacious bedrooms furnished with hand-made pine and an open-plan kitchen/ living area.
The picturesque village is close to the unspoilt sandy beach at Muirioch.
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3.3km from Dingle
Enjoy the idyllic setting of a holiday home at the foot of the Conor Pass, approximately half a mile from Dingle town centre. A fresh-water stream flows past this brand new development of 10 two- and three-bedroom holiday homes, all of which are beautifully furnished throughout. Each dining area opens onto its own private garden.
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0.1km from Dunquin
This newly-built traditional style 3-bedroom self catering bungalow is superbly located in the scenic rural area of Dunquin in West Kerry. It has magnificent views of the Blasket Islands and Mount Eagle and is located right in the heart of the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). This self catering property has 3 bedrooms, including one ensuite bedroom.
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3km from Tralee
Experience the comforts of this new state-of-the-art development of beautifully appointed holiday homes just outside Tralee town centre. The holiday homes are equipped with everything the visitor needs for an enjoyable break in the Tralee area, and they also make an ideal base for a touring holiday of Kerry.
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0.5km from Dingle
Situated on an elevated site overlooking Dingle Harbour, these delightful holiday homes offer an excellent standard of accommodation in the thriving coastal resort of Dingle in County Kerry. Each three-bedroom terraced holiday home has everything you’ll need for a relaxing break.
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Experience a superb standard of accommodation just 2km from Tralee in County Kerry.
These dormer style holiday homes are ideal for those of you who prefer an independent holiday. Each holiday home has three ensuite bedrooms.
2.1km from Dingle
Enjoy the spectacular location of a 4-star holiday home just outside the town of Dingle in Co. Kerry. These luxury holiday homes are part of a recent development of quality accommodation on the grounds of a 1703 hunting lodge and former home of the Earl of Cork.
1.9km from Tralee
This holiday village offers 3-star accommodation 2km from Tralee town centre in County Kerry. Each holiday home has 4 bedrooms, a nicely furnished lounge, fully fitted kitchen, and a garden for guests' use.
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9.1km from Dingle
Enjoy superb 4-star accommodation just 10km from the busy town of Dingle in Ventry, County Kerry. This recently-built holiday home commands spectacular views of Ventry Bay and beach. The holiday home has three bedrooms: two double (one of which is ensuite) and one twin.
0.3km from Kenmare
Stay at a unique two-bedroom luxury cottage on a quiet side-road just ten minutes' stroll from the heritage town of Kenmare, adjacent to the lands of Tara Farm. Built in the late 19th century, the house was extended and sensitively renovated in 2007.
Operated by Visitravel Ltd., Registered in Ireland, No. 486102. Registered Office: FEXCO Centre, Iveragh Road, Killorglin, Co. Kerry, Ireland.
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