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islands in blue water off the coast of kerry ireland

County Kerry, located in the southwest of Ireland, is a stunning and diverse region known for its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history. From rugged coastlines to majestic mountains, picturesque towns to ancient sites, County Kerry offers a wide array of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the must-visit destinations and experiences in County Kerry.

1. Killarney National Park:

Start your journey in County Kerry by visiting Killarney National Park, one of Ireland’s most iconic natural treasures. This expansive park covers over 100 square kilometers and is home to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the park’s trails, visit Muckross House and Gardens, or take a boat trip on the stunning Lakes of Killarney.

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2. Ring of Kerry:

Embark on the famous Ring of Kerry, a scenic drive that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula. This 179-kilometer route offers breathtaking views of coastal cliffs, picturesque villages, and majestic mountains. Stop at charming towns like Killorglin, Waterville, and Sneem along the way, and don’t miss the stunning viewpoints at Ladies View and the Gap of Dunloe.

3. Dingle Peninsula:

Another must-visit destination in County Kerry is the Dingle Peninsula. Known for its rugged beauty and rich Gaelic heritage, this peninsula offers stunning coastal vistas, sandy beaches, and charming towns. Explore the colorful streets of Dingle town, visit the ancient archaeological site of Dunbeg Fort, and take a boat tour to see Fungie the famous resident dolphin.

4. Skellig Islands:

For a truly unique experience, venture out to the Skellig Islands. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, are located off the coast of County Kerry. Skellig Michael is famous for its sixth-century monastic settlement perched on its steep cliffs. Visiting the islands requires planning and booking in advance, but the awe-inspiring beauty and historical significance make it well worth the effort.

5. Killarney:

Explore the charming town of Killarney, located at the gateway to Killarney National Park. Stroll through its vibrant streets filled with shops, restaurants, and traditional Irish pubs. Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, take a horse-drawn jaunting car ride through the town and its surrounding countryside, or catch a traditional Irish music session in one of the local pubs.

6. Gap of Dunloe:

Embark on a journey through the stunning Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass located near Killarney. You can hike, cycle, or take a traditional horse-drawn cart ride through this picturesque route. Marvel at the rugged landscape, ancient ruins, and sparkling lakes as you make your way through the gap.

7. Valentia Island:

Take a trip to Valentia Island, located off the southwestern coast of County Kerry. This island offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, dramatic cliffs, and fascinating geological formations. Explore the historic Valentia Island Slate Quarry, visit the 17th-century Cromwell’s Fort, and take a walk to the famous Bray Head viewpoint for panoramic vistas.

8. Kerry Way:

If you’re an avid hiker or nature enthusiast, consider embarking on the Kerry Way. This long-distance hiking trail spans approximately 214 kilometers, encircling the Iveragh Peninsula. The trail takes you through diverse landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and valleys, offering spectacular views along the way.

9. Gallarus Oratory:

Discover the ancient past of County Kerry at the Gallarus Oratory, an exceptionally well-preserved early Christian church. This stone structure, shaped like an overturned boat, dates back to the 6th century and is a testament to the region’s rich history. Explore the oratory and learn about its unique architecture and religious significance.

10. Irish Whiskey Experience:

To round off your exploration of County Kerry, visit the Irish Whiskey Experience in Killarney. Discover the fascinating history and production process of Ireland’s beloved whiskey through guided tours and tastings. Learn about different whiskey varieties, from single malts to blends, and sample some of the finest Irish whiskeys.

Remember to check local regulations and visitor information before your trip to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. County Kerry offers a multitude of attractions, from natural wonders to cultural gems, making it an unforgettable destination for travelers seeking the best of Ireland’s beauty and heritage. Find more resources for County Kerry here.

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