It’s not called ‘The Kingdom’ for nothing! Kerry is one of Ireland’s most popular holiday destinations for both domestic and international travellers, and with a variety of towns, landmarks and festivals ready to welcome you throughout the year, we’ve looked at 15 reasons to get yourself to Kerry for a weekend break.
15 Reasons to Get Yourself to Kerry
1 Great Scenic Drives
Kerry is home to some of the most spectacular driving routes in all of Ireland; some would even argue the finest. From the stunning Ring of Kerry to Slea Head Drive in Dingle and a drive through Killarney National Park, it’s time to hope in the car and enjoy the top sights that lie in wait as you explore Kerry. View our top 10 Irish summer road trips, and plan out your own Irish road trip by taking inspiration from our Drive Ireland website.
2 Killarney National Park
Ireland’s oldest national park, Killarney National Park was established in 1932 and is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With over 25,000 acres to explore, Killarney National Park is home to landmarks like Muckross House, Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle. With so much to see and do, you’ll need plenty of time to explore everything this great park has to offer.
3 Majestic Mountains
Kerry is home to some of Ireland’s highest peaks, including the country’s largest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Get your hiking boots on and scale Carrauntoohil and tick Ireland’s highest peak of your Irish travel bucket list.
4 Walk the Kerry Way
If the thought of scaling Ireland’s highest peak doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not embark on one of Ireland’s longest walking trails, the 200km Kerry Way walking route? This route starts and ends in Killarney, and while the distance is vast, the peaks aren’t as challenging as Carrauntoohil and provide a great way to see the beauty of the county first-hand. For more information visit Kerry Way.
5 The Islands
Image courtesy @storytravelers
Kerry is home to some of Ireland’s most famous islands, with Skellig Islands, Valentia Islands, Blasket Islands and Fenit Islands all attracting visitors throughout the year. While most of Kerry’s islands remain uninhabited, they are still accessible and remain a big draw for visitors to the West of Kerry, with Skellig Micheal, in particular, grabbing global attention thanks to its role in Star Wars.
6 Go Dolphin Watching
One of Kerry’s most famous faces can be found swimming off the shores of Dingle. Take a boat tour from Dingle Pier and head out to sea to catch a glimpse of this amazing creature in his natural habitat. A great photo opportunity that will capture memories to last a lifetime.
7 Tee Off at Ballybunion
Kerry has lots of great golf clubs to choose from, but the jewel in the crown is Ballybunion Golf Club, considered by many to be the finest in Ireland. Golfing enthusiasts heading to Kerry simply must get 18 holes on Ballybunion’s famous old course.
8 Lakes of Killarney
We’ve already highlighted some of the famous buildings in Killarney National Park but one of the biggest draws to Ireland’s oldest park is the stunning lakes that dominate the landscape. Killarney’s lakes are made up of Lough Leane (the largest lake), Muckross Lake and Upper Lake, and are well worth exploring up close or even admiring from a distance as you relax and enjoy a picnic in one of Ireland’s most scenic destinations.
9 Catch a Game
When championship season comes around, few places in Ireland compare to Fitzgerald Park on matchday. The hallowed turf of Fitzgerald Park has been graced by some of the finest footballers in Ireland, and every GAA fan should aim to catch a championship game Kerry at least once in a lifetime.
10 Rose of Tralee
The Rose of Tralee is one of Ireland’s oldest and most famous festivals, and if you’re looking for an entertaining holiday in Kerry, then look no further than Tralee in August. With a series of events planned over the week-long event, Tralee is a hive of activity around the festival time, and well worth trying to get along to. Visit Rose of Tralee for more information on this year’s festival.
11 Blue Flag Beaches
With some of the finest beaches in Europe located along the Kerry coastline, and indeed several Blue Flag beaches, you’ll not have to travel far to find a beach that grabs your fancy. Among the most picturesque and popular of Kerry’s beaches are Derrynane, Inch, Banna Strand and Ballybunion.
12 Race Day
Kerry is home to two of Ireland’s finest horse racing courses with Killarney and Listowel hosting a range of racing festivals across the year. The summer months provide the busy period for both courses, so if you’re looking for a racing holiday with your friends, then Listowel or Killarney could be just what you’re after. Plus, you’re sure of a great night once you get past the racing post!
13 Pubs Aplenty
If you’re looking for a weekend break with the lads or ladies, or want a quiet one with the other half, Kerry has plenty to bring to the table. While Tralee, Killarney and Dingle can often draw the bigger crowds during the summer months and bank holiday weekends, towns like Kenmare, Listowel, Portmagee and Killorglin are well worth exploring. One thing you’re sure to find no matter where you go in Kerry though is plenty of choice when it comes to nightlife. A warm welcome awaits you in the many pubs spread around Kerry’s towns and villages, with many of them busy all year around.
14 Surfs Up
With some of Ireland’s finest beaches located in Kerry, you’ll not have to look too far to find watersports to try your hand at, and one of the most popular watersports in Kerry at present is surfing. The Dingle Peninsula has a number of surfing hotspots, with Inch Strand, in particular, a hit with surfers as it has some of the longest waves in Europe. Other popular surfing spots in Kerry include Brandon Bay, Coumenole Beach, Banna Beach, Ballybunion and Derrynane Long Beach.
Find more Irish surfing hotspots in our recent blog post on 10 great Irish surfing holidays.
15 Go Birdwatching
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the best locations in Ireland for doing a spot of birdwatching, with the Skellig Islands, in particular, becoming one of the best spots in Europe for puffin watching during the months of April to August. Just another fun activity to enjoy in ‘The Kingdom’.
What Are Your Favourite Things To Do In Kerry?
Has your favourite Kerry activity made our list? Do you have something different you would suggest? Let us know in the comment section below and we’ll share the best suggestions.
Plan your next trip by checking out the latest Kerry hotel deals.
Images via Fáilte Ireland