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County Kerry Tourism And Travel Guide
4.3° C / 39.7° F
May to September
3 to 5 Days
Rathmore, Tralee, Killarney Railway Station
The ultimate Irish destination, County Kerry has often been referred to as ‘the kingdom’ by the locals for its fascinating rich history that can be experienced even in its language and music. County Kerry is situated in the Munster province in the south-western part of Ireland and has been a hub for tourism since the 19th-century. Towns like Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney and many others in Kerry are packed with a treasure of cafes, galleries, pubs and restaurants, along with fun adventure activities like windsurfing, canoeing, water-skiing etc. to suit every taste. A bunch of festivals, most of which are organised during the summer season, make Kerry an immensely entertaining tourism spot for those who would love to learn more about the region’s local culture. Here is a brief travel guide for you to know more about planning your trip to County Kerry.
How to Reach
The Kerry Airport in County Kerry is a small international airport that only operates flights to and from Dublin, Frankfurt in Germany, Luton and Stansted in England, Alicante in Spain and Faro in Portugal. Since Kerry Airport does not have good public transport services, it is advisable for travellers to make advance bookings for a private cab at the airport. Travellers coming in via long-distance flights have the better alternative of flying into Cork Airport or Shannon Airport, which is located an hour away from County Kerry and has good connections to Kerry Airport.
Operated by Irish Rail, trains run regularly from Dublin and Cork to the towns of Rathmore, Tralee and Killarney in the county.
Bus Eireann runs all buses in and out of County Kerry. Travellers can also drive in through the scenic route to Kerry. Those coming in from Galway and Clare can make use of car ferry across the Shannon river. It operates all year round between the town of Killimer in Clare to Tarbert in County Kerry and makes journeying by car quite convenient in the region.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summers in County Kerry have long daylight hours – about 17 to 18 hours – in a day. The weather is sunny and warm and gets all visitors to spend most of their time outdoors. Chances of rain are also least during the summers. There are a variety of activities to try here like trekking, boating, cycling and mountain climbing, including horse-racing events that take place across a number of towns in Kerry during the summers. Expect to find large crowds everywhere though with hiked up rates in hotels; visitors to Kerry include locals from across Ireland apart from international tourists during these months.
Autumn (September – October):
Autumn season sees fall colours transforming the entire landscape and the entire county gradually becoming quieter as the tourists begin to empty out. Visitors can still indulge in their favourite outdoor activities during the earlier part of September and with lesser crowds, have better opportunities to interact with the locals.
Winter (November – February):
Winters are cold and slow in County Kerry, but the Christmas and New Year’s holiday festivities make up for much of the off-season gloominess that might appear through the season. It is also the wettest time of the year, so expect rain and misty fog almost every day if you do plan a trip during the winters. Don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance since a lot of hotels remain closed for the season.
Spring (March – May):
Apart from the summers, springtime is also a great season to enjoy County Kerry. The countryside is filled with colourful blooms and the weather is almost as pleasant and warm minus the large tourist crowds; a factor that is preferable to many visitors travelling to Kerry. One also gets the chance to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the locals on 17th March, the most famous festival in the country.
Things to Do
Drive through the Ring of Kerry:
This 180 km circular drive consists of castles, museums, chapels, villages and parks, and is frequently travelled by not just tourists but also the locals. The route begins in Killarney, extending to Kenmare and around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin, before ending back in Killarney. The Kerry Way is an established walking trail here that follows the Ring of Kerry, along with an official bicycle route for cycling enthusiasts.
Bird Watching on Skellig Michael:
Skelling Michael is one of two rocky islands situated approximately 10 km off the coast of County Kerry and rising up 230 metres out of the ocean. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, the island was home to monks who lived here in an ancient monastery sometime between the 6th and 8th century. Today, the island is a bird watcher’s treat, with the Atlantic Puffins making an appearance in thousands of numbers between April to August. Other birds to watch out for are the fulmars, the gannet, the Arctic tern, and the cormorant.
Explore Killarney National Park:
Killarney National Park is the oldest national park in Ireland. It is home to the only population of red deer in Ireland and has been a focus of conservation after being declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. Accommodation is available in the park and visitors can indulge in various activities on their stays here like hiking and nature walks, boating and sightseeing.
Where to Shop
Shopping in Kerry usually means going back home with a large bunch of souvenirs. The Aran Sweater Market in Kerry is a must-visit to grab hold of a pair of this authentic winter-wear. Buy some delicate but beautiful creations from Louis Mulcahy Pottery in Dingle, and also some pieces of the famous Waterford Crystal from the same town at Dingle Crystal. Bricin Craft Shop is a fantastic place to buy anything from local fashion, books and other assortments of regional products. Interestingly, it also doubles up as a restaurant. At Skelligs Chocolate Company, visitors can see the rich indulgent treats being made and then have a purchasing spree at the end of the tour. The Bog Village Gift Shop in Kerry is where you’ll be encouraged to spend a little more money on a wide range of typical tourist items.
Where to Eat
County Kerry isn’t just one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions but also one of the country’s top gourmet destinations. Most of the restaurants across different towns specialize in quintessential European cuisine, with a special focus on seafood. For a taste of Ireland right out of the Atlantic Sea, try Out of the Blue in the town of Dingle for the best seafood in the region. Amongst the renowned beauty near the Lakes of Killarney, the award-winning Rozzers Restaurant serves delicious local food like roasted Kerry lamb, slow-roasted pork belly and confit duck leg. Visit Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant near the Ring of Kerry for great food accompanied by amazing views and brilliant music. QC’s Restaurant and Bar in Cahersiveen is run by a husband-and-wife team and has a menu that practically changes every day. If you have dietary restrictions, Cellar One Restaurant and Bricin Restaurant in Killarney have a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.