Sometimes a holiday can feel like hard work - so much to see and do in so little time! So why not slow things down a bit the next time you’re in Kerry? After all, Nature has done most of the work for you, so all you have to do is sit back and admire.
Muckross House & Gardens
Kerry Airport is just a 20-minute drive from Killarney, Ireland’s premier tourist destination. As you head past the town and on to Muckross House & Gardens
, ease your foot off the pedal and soak up the views of Killarney National Park
, a place of special international significance, with its native oakwoods and yew woods, abundant evergreens, and ancient herd of red deer. The park forms the magnificent backyard of Muckross House, an exquisitely restored Victorian mansion on the shores of Muckross Lake (one of the three famous Killarney lakes).
Gap of Dunloe
Cut through the mountains 2 million years ago by creeping masses of ice, the Gap of Dunloe
is the most magnificent glaciated valley in western Europe. A narrow road winds its way for 10km around deep lakes between the McGillycuddy Reeks and the Purple Mountain. It’s best if you leave your hire car at Kate Kearney’s Cottage at the entrance to the Gap - but don’t worry, although you could walk the 10km route, ponies and traps are available to transport you between the imposing crags.
Ring of Kerry Drive
The Ring of Kerry drive
takes you on an anti-clockwise route around the Iveragh Peninsula, encompassing 180km of some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Car hire is the only way to experience such gems as Killarney, Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorglin. Highlights include Ladies View in Killarney National Park, Daniel “The Liberator” O’Connell’s Derrynane House, the Gap of Dunloe, and views of the monastic Skellig Michael - but don’t feel under pressure to tick off the sights like a to-do list; the magic of the Ring of Kerry is that the pace is up to you. Take at least a day to absorb the unique atmosphere of this part of the world, and stop when and where you like.
Slea Head Drive
This is another peninsular tour, but it could not be more different from the Ring of Kerry. Give yourself plenty of time to truly appreciate the Slea Head drive, a clockwise 46km route around the western tip of the Dingle peninsula. You will find yourself stopping frequently to gasp at dramatic sea views and explore significant archaeological treasures. The drive starts in the town of Dingle and hugs the coast along a well-signposted route to the most westerly point in Europe (that would be Slea Head), before looping past a variety of stunning beaches and historical attractions as it leads across the peninsula and back to Dingle town. Complete the trip with a relaxing meal or a drink in one of Dingle’s famous pubs and restaurants, and round off a perfect day by listening to some of the world’s best practitioners of Irish traditional music.