One of the must-visit areas on the Wild Atlantic Way is County Kerry. Not only does it offer some of Ireland’s most scenic landscapes, like the Ring of Kerry, but it is also a hot spot for outdoor adventures like surfing (yes, we said surfing!) and hiking. While you are at it, why not stop by a pub or a local distillery to wind down after all that exhilarating exploration? Here are our most popular spots to visit in County Kerry.
Two hundred years or so ago, Ireland was teeming with independent distilleries, but times have since changed and the Dingle Distillery, founded in 2012, is one of two recognized independent distilleries in Ireland nowadays. Serving up awarding winning whiskey, gin and vodka, this family-owned business will have you buzzing about their single malts, pot still whiskeys and warm Irish hospitality. Pop by for a taste of Ireland’s Southwest liquid gold.
Galactic and Star Wars fan rejoice, this one is for you! Skellig Michael, otherwise known to the world as Luke Skywalker’s exile island on Ahch-To, offers loads of history and wildlife sightings. A rocky boat ride (not recommend for those prone to sea sickness), will take you towards the 217 meter-high rock formation, where you will get to see or walk (whatever floats your boat) the 618 steps carved on the face of the rock by the monks that use to live there. Although you won’t see any more Christian Monks roaming the island, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the stunning puffins who settle on the island for part of the year.
Get your hiking shoes ready! Carrauntoohil, meaning "Inverted Sickle," is Ireland’s highest peak. This climb is not for the faint hearted but is accessible to intermediate level hikers. In fact, at any point of its 3,414 feet ascent, Carrauntoohil offers breathtaking views of the Macgillicuddy’s Reeks mountain range. Plus, by climbing this peak, you will earn bragging rights as you will have conquered the steep Devil’s Ladder to get to the top!
Nestled within Killarney National Park, this 15th century castle built by O’Donoghue Mór, known as Ross Castle, sits by Killarney’s Lower Lake, Lough Leane. Not only does this castle offer history, but it also comes with its own legend. It is said that O’Donoghue remains asleep under the waters of Killarney’s Lower Lake and, that every seven years, he rises from the lake on the first morning of May and circles it on his white horse. Should you ever be so lucky as to catch a glimpse of O’Donoghue, word is that you will have good fortune for the rest of your life.
Ballybunion South Beach
Ballybunion South Beach offers 4 miles of sandy beaches. Having received the International Blue Flag award in 2019, this beach is known by the locals as one of North Kerry’s best surfing locations. Whether you are a beginner or an expert surfer, Ballubunion South Beach serves up waves for all experience levels. Catch a wave or a lesson with the Ballybunion Surf School and earn Irish surfing bragging rights.
It is no secret now that County Kerry has its fair share of hidden gems waiting to be experienced. Whether you prefer the water or the earth, you will be able to find something that everyone will enjoy and if the current is good, it may have you drift towards other counties for more Irish experiences.