Ask Joan – Where to Have Real Kerry Experiences

I’m heading to Kerry soon and am looking for a real authentic Kerry experience. What activities and restaurants would you recommend? SS 

I would be a fan of south Kerry and am familiar with the Kenmare area.  The town is beautiful and there are lots of great restaurants and pubs to visit. It is nicely laid out around a triangle of streets, so everything is nearby. 

If you are going to stay in this area, and with family the Kenmare Bay Hotel is ideal.  It has a leisure centre and pool.  They also have self-catering lodges in the grounds. Its five minutes into town.  

For a more romantic break the Brooklane Hotel is a lovely four-star stylish comfortable hotel with great food In Caseys Bistro. If you want to push the boat out The Park Kenmare is a stunning five-star with exceptional service. 

Nearby for a more unusual place to stay, Dromquinna Manor is a glamping site on the shores of the Kenmare River.  These safari style tents are very comfortable and a fun place to stay.  The Boathouse Restaurant on site is very good, but book in advance. 

Other restaurants in Kenmare to consider are the Lime Tree, Caseys Bistro, Davitts, Foleys Townhouse is good for music at night, and Crowleys is great for the craic. 

When in Kenmare I always go to see the prehistoric stone circle, it is a magical place and bring a piece of ribbon to tie on the fairy tree to make wish.

There are many great drives in this area.  Sneem is a lovely village and Dan Murphys is a good pub for a stop.  If you are in Sneem around sunset there are great views from the Sneem Hotel, across the bay. 

The Gap of Dunloe one of the most famous drives in the country, hair-raising at times.  A stop in Moriarty’s Heather restaurant is great for views and they have a lovely garden. 

Another hair-raising drive is the one from Killarney to Kenmare through the Black Valley.  One of the remotest places in Ireland, the scenery is stunning.  Take your time and stop to take in the views and some photographs. 

The Black Valley

If you are feeling active a hike up Carrauntoohil is a spectacular memory from Kerry.  Not for the faint-hearted, it has fantastic views from the cross at the top. It will also give you an enduring sense of achievement.   

There are lots of lovely beaches, one not to miss is Derrynane, a lovely wide shallow beach.  When in Derrynane you must visit Derrynane House, the former home of Daniel O’Connell and now a museum.

A Fairy House in Derrynane Wood

 

The forest around Derrrynane is a great treat for children as there are hidden fairy houses among the trees.  Even the adults will enjoy it, finding all the little treasures and conjuring up some magic.  

There is a magical looped walk, called the Mass Walk from Derrynane, through Bealtra Pier and back along the Kerry Way. It takes you through native woodlands along the shore and then uphill back towards the car park. 

 

The Mass Walk

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