There’s almost no point in advising people on where to go in Kerry. Whether you drive the Ring of Kerry or the Wild Atlantic Way, or take a tour bus, or just drive aimlessly, you’re going to find natural beauty everywhere you turn. However, after many visits to Kerry, and a recent stay in Dingle under my belt, I feel I have to share my favourite spots and recommend a few places for eating and drinking. (Scroll to the end if you just want to know about food and drink.)
Around Killarney and the Killarney National Park
My favourite spot near Killarney has to be Moll’s Gap, a short drive from the national park, after Torc Waterfall. The tour of Muckross House in the national park is also very good especially if it’s raining and you want to be indoors. After that, Sneem village is lovely. The Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage on the way to Sneem from the National Park is great for pancakes or lunch. Went with my niece and we both loved it.
The town of Kenmare is also lovely; I saw the actor, Gabriel Byrne, there on his honeymoon a few years ago!
My favourite place of all is Dingle, especially the Connor Pass – totally unmissable. Go to Brandon Point while you’re there. If you go in the other direction towards Mount Brandon you’ve got a beautiful hike which overlaps with an old pilgrim trail and you should take a look at Brandon Creek which is so lovely, especially in the morning.
Slea Head and Dun Chaoin (pronounced Dune Kween – sort of) are breathtaking and serene. You’ll want to stop all the time. There’s a petting farm there as well beside the old famine cottage. (It’s also a sad place if you know anything about the Irish Famine and how it devastated the region in the 1840s.)
While Dingle was thronged when I was there, the countryside wasn’t at all so you may have a lot of these places to yourself.
Closer to the Cork/Kerry border, you could visit the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist monastery on Beara Peninsula near Castletown Bere. Most people I meet don’t seem to know about it but it is so beautiful, as is that region and West Cork.
I adore Inch Beach in Dingle but there are lots of wonderful beaches around – Dun Chaoin, Muireagh (wrong spelling), Caherdaniel, Derrynane…
Eating in Dingle:
Great lunches, cakes and coffee in Bean in Dingle. Great new cafe run by young people. Better value than pubs or restaurants if you’re happy with a sandwich for lunch.
Anchor Down – seafood. The owner is a fisherman and the wife runs the restaurant. I thought it would be expensive but it’s no more than the pubs around there. Out of the Blue is also excellent. If the fishing boats don’t sail that day, they don’t open. Dick Mack’s pub is also great for music and craic, and there’s a yard beside it with some small restaurants/cafes.
Not my favourite town but if you’re there you can get a decent, inexpensive lunch in Jam Cafe. If you’re looking for something more formal or ‘fancy’ you can get nice bar food and a glass of wine in the Maldon Hotel beside the train station. The setting is formal but the staff are friendly and welcoming; it’s a nice spot to chill with a glass of wine while you wait for your train home.