Known throughout the Emerald Isle as ‘The Kingdom’, County Kerry is one of the most beautiful jewels in Ireland’s crown. Located way down south, in the province of Munster, the region has more than its fair share (even selfish share, some may say) of sprawling coastlines and beautiful mountains. What’s more, it’s quintessentially Irish. Sprawling green hills? Check. Sheep-congested traffic jams? Check. Creamy pints of Guinness in a pub that had its most recent makeover in 1969? Check. Leprechauns? Do let us know if you happen to catch one.
When it comes to picking the best sites to see in The Kingdom, however, some are more elusive than others. The first thing to understand is that you’ll be spoilt for choice; if you happen to get the right weather on the right day, there’s a beautiful slice of scenery whichever way you turn. But there are spots which you might just need some insider knowledge for; and never fear, that’s why we’re here. Hop on to BUCKiTDREAM to get a flavor for County Kerry and its luscious, rural atmosphere, then grab that BUCKiTDREAM planner as we provide you with the keys to The Kingdom.
Carrauntoohil, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks It’d be remiss not to kick off with Ireland’s highest peak, the formidable Carrauntoohil, nestled in the Black Valley, the poster boy of the famous Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. Attracting professional and amateur hill-climbers alike, the big C is just forgiving enough to make it doable for your average rambler, while still providing a serious workout for the more seasoned hiker. The most reliable path can be found in the north-east, where you’ll reckon with the ominous-sounding Devil’s Ladder before reaching the peak and basking in the awesome views that await you there. No special gear is needed to climb Carrauntoohil, but do take care if you’re planning to tick this one off your bucket list; loose stones and crowding have made the trek a little more dangerous in recent years.
Kilmackillogue Pier, Beara Peninsula The Beara Peninsula is one of Kerry’s best scenic sights, which could have its own top five list in and of itself. The peninsula runs from Kerry to the neighboring rival county of Cork, providing stunning snapshots of the wild Atlantic Ocean all the way around. Arguably the best spot on the route can be found at Kilmackillogue pier, which is of course situated on the Kerry side of things. On a clear day, you can see for miles across the Atlantic, surrounded by the stunning mountains of the nearby Healy Pass. Stop for a pint, take a seat on the pier, and soak up the atmosphere at one of the most relaxing places on earth.
The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney If serenity’s not your thing and you want non-stop drama from your scenic sights, you need look no further than the awe-inspiring Gap of Dunloe. Situated between the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and the main route into the town of Killarney, the Gap is a narrow, winding pass flanked by sheer mountains and capped off by an expansive lake. Scenery doesn’t get much more dramatic than this. Many tourists choose to hike through the Gap, as the route can be tricky for motor vehicles. Another common form of transport through the rugged terrain are horse-drawn traps, a cart that can hold up to four people, operated by in-the-know locals. Although most people travel from the Killarney side to the Macgillycuddy side, the most impressive way to see the Gap is actually from the opposite direction. So if this one’s on your bucket list (and it should be), do things a little differently and start your journey from the Reeks. Then you can land in Killarney for a well-deserved Guinness.
The Conor Pass, Dingle Peninsula Dingle is a popular part of The Kingdom, and with good reason; the little seaside town has a lot going for it. However, it’s the journey into Dingle which provides the best scenery around. It looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, and has the epic weight behind it to boot; the Conor Pass is one of the highest mountain pass roads in Ireland, standing an impressive 456 meters tall. Unlike the Gap of Dunloe though, this one’s not considered a hikable excursion; it’s pretty many cars only, and even then, it’s not advisable to drive the Pass in adverse conditions. Catch it on a good day though and you’ll be rewarded with some of the most scenics, expansive sprawls Ireland has to offer.
Reenagross Park, Kenmare Tucked away in the town of Kenmare, Reenagross Park is a well-kept secret among locals. Jutting out into Kenmare bay and accessible through a narrow laneway just off the main road into the town, Reenagross doesn’t look like much from the outside; but take one step inside its mossy forest path and you’ll discover a hidden wonder of Kerry. The entwined tree tunnels make it seem like something out of a fairytale, while the thin stone pier that extends into the Atlantic makes it a perfect spot to take some panoramic shots. It’ll only take you around half an hour to do a full circuit of the Park, but it’s such a memorable place that it might just define your bucket list trip to The Kingdom!
While you’re down in the deep and rugged Irish south, why not check out the newly established Atlantic Way with The Best Stops In Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way for more stunning scenery and priceless bucket list experiences?