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County Kerry

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About County Kerry

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Choosing the best places to stay in County Kerry is all about knowing what's pulling you most strongly towards this beautiful part of the world.

County Kerry's Ring of Kerry is a magical place of fog-shrouded mountains hiding old Celtic ruins and glacial lakes, which quickly dips to a coastline of wonderful wind-bashed cliffs. Painters flock here to attempt the ever-changing wonder of the light, folk singers wax lyrical and loud and tourists descend looking for ye olde Ireland. Kenmare is an excellent choice of base - a charming town at the head of Kenmare Bay.

As well as the Ring of Kerry, County Kerry is also home to some other names you might recognise; the Macgillycuddy Reeks, which is where you can find nine out of ten of Ireland's highest peaks and the Dingle Peninsula, a golden sand promontory which is Europe's most westerly point.

While you'll see plenty of tour buses and day trippers here, the way to see Kerry is at your leisure. Allowing time to stop when something catches your fancy - potentially when you see a shaft of light shining upon it from above, a meaningful gap in the clouds.

There are numerous stone ring ruins, Iron Age forts and small hamlets to catch your eye, as well as too many scenic lookouts to bother marking on a map.

County Kerry is also rich in foodie friendly pubs. The fish here is fresh off the Atlantic, like the winds, and Kerry lamb has an international reputation. Many pubs will also do a good evening's musical entertainment if you arrive on the right night.

You might want to make your way to the end of Europe, where you can look out across at the Skellig's, 200metre spires of rock which sit just off the coast. Unlikely as it may sound, Skellig Michael was once home to a community of monks, who lived here between the 6th and 13th Centuries, presumably eating a lot of seagulls in their creatively constructed cells.

What Not To Miss

  • You might want to visit Ross Castle, a 15th century tower house that's been the subject of a number of myths - including that of a ghost who still apparently reappears from time to time! Join in with a tour and wander around the place learning all about its history, whilst horse-drawn carriage rides are also available if you fancy indulging in something a little different.
  • The picturesque Muckross Abbey in Killarney National Park was originally a 15th-century Franciscan friary. Wonderfully preserved, this historic site actually first dates back to the 6th century (and the beginning of Christianity in Ireland).
  • Head off hiking and go visit the remains of Ballycarbery Castle, situated by the beautiful White Strand Beach on the picturesque Ring of Kerry. This impressive ivy-clad house was once home to the McCarthy Clan and, whilst currently in a state of disrepair, is impressive nonetheless. Pack a picnic and wander along the beach for a relaxing way to spend the day.
  • Drive around the scenic Ring of Kerry loop around the Iberagh Peninsula. This 179km long route boasts fabulous views and is a spectacular way to see the area.

Don't forget that this part of Ireland is extremely popular with tourists, especially during the peak summer months. If you want guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in County Kerry in July and August, you'll need to book well in advance. Alternatively plan your trip for spring or autumn when the crowds have dissipated but the scenery remains as beautiful, if not more so!

For sea views

  • Castlewood House overlooks Dingle Bay and offers comfortable beds in rooms with uninterrupted sea views, and award-winning gourmet breakfasts. This is a wonderful place to come for a quiet escape in amongst those unpaintable views.
  • Gorman's Clifftop House is a restaurant with rooms offering spacious accommodation with wonderful views of the Atlantic and Mount Brandon. Boasting an excellent restaurant which serves up regional dishes, this is a top spot for those looking to get away from it all.
  • Emlagh House, set in a charming Georgian building, provides stylish rooms featuring plush fabrics, Victorian antiques and artwork adorning the walls. Make the most out of your location to go dolphin and seal watching or head off sea fishing.
  • Aghadoe Heights is a contemporary 5* property boasting a spectacular location overlooking the Atlantic. Their rooms are simple yet chic in design, with plenty of natural light and impressive views. Come back after a day out and unwind in their extensive spa.

Country house hotels

  • Cahernane House Hotel is another peaceful escape. A grand country house hotel in the Killarney National Park, near the MacGillicuddy Reeks, this is definitely one of the best places to stay in County Kerry if you're here for a special occasion.
  • Foodies will love Carrig Country House, a lakeside Victorian residence turned country house hotel with spectacular views over Lake Carah and the mountains, and an excellent restaurant specialising in locally caught trout and salmon.
  • Also on the shores of Lake Caragh, Ard Na Sidhe Country House is a beautiful country house surrounded by 32 acres of garden, in a perfect location for exploring the Ring of Kerry.
  • Sheen Falls Lodge is a spectacular spot, situated amid stunning countryside and overlooking Sheen Falls. This luxury 5* property boasts elegant and traditional interiors as well as serving up gourmet Irish cuisine, whilst there's a range of activities to keep you busy. A first-rate country escape!

For fishing

  • QCS Townhouse is a stylish restaurant with rooms located on the Ring of Kerry. Offering spacious and chic accommodation, their restaurant specialises in local fish - whilst you can make the most out of your location to head off fishing yourself.
  • Sheen Falls Lodge is also known for its fish, but is even better known for its fishing. It's also got a spa and children's activities.
  • The 4* Brook Lane Hotel offers contemporary rooms featuring modern art, dark furnishings and chandeliers. Head off boat fishing, shore angling or charter a boat on Kenmare Bay before coming back to unwind in their charming lounge.

Quiet Retreats

  • Sallyport House boasts just five rooms and enjoys a wonderful location on the edge of the River Kenmare. This old country house boasts traditional interiors and charming bedrooms. Spend your days out hiking or fishing before returning to curl up with a good book in the cosy library!
  • The four bedroom An Riasc is set in a charming 200 year old farmhouse in the Dingle Peninsula. Individually decorated rooms feature plenty of pine furnishings, whilst huge breakfasts are served up each morning and four course dinners are available upon request. A great spot for hikers and fishers.

Kerry on a budget

  • Virginia's Guesthouse is located around ten minutes from Roughty River. Boasting 8 rooms with traditional interiors (featuring pine furniture and carpeted floors), and starting at just €60, it's a great value stay.

For A holiday cottage or Apartment

  • If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then check out the wide variety available online with our partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • It's best to visit Kerry during the summertime, with the average daily temperature reaching 15°C in July and August. This is by far the best time of year to make the most out of the county's beautiful countryside!
  • Visitors can fly into Kerry Airport, which is served by direct flights from London with Ryanair. Aer Lingus is their main operator, with regular flights to Dublin and beyond.
  • From the airport you can take the bus to Kerry's major cities. A single to Tralee costs €5.80, to Killarney it costs €5.30 and if you're going to Limerick it's €21.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in County Kerry

  • Virginia's Guesthouse 8 rooms from $69

    County Kerry

    Friendly guesthouse ten minutes from Roughty River. Interiors are traditional with pine furniture and carpeted floors. Library to enjoy complimentary tea and coffee before setting off to explore the area. Excellent value.

    Value chic
    Great walks  -  In Killarney National Park
    Check prices
  • QCs Townhouse 4 rooms from $90

    Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, County Kerry

    Super stylish restaurant with rooms on the Ring of Kerry. Four spacious bedrooms with king sized beds, wooden floors, roll top baths & Bose docking stations. Restaurant specialises in fresh fish caught from their own boat. Chic spot that won't break the bank on Ireland's West Coast.

    Restaurant  -  Specialising in fresh fish caught by the restaurant's own boat
    Foodies
    Value chic
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in Cahersiveen on the Ring of Kerry
    Check prices
  • An Riasc 4 rooms from $91

    Dingle, County Kerry

    A charming stonebuilt 200 year old farmhouse turned B&B in the Dingle Peninsula. Four individually decorated bedrooms with plenty of pine & patchwork. Huge breakfasts with home-made breads and preserves. Four course dinners on request. A great spot for walking enthusiasts & nature lovers.

    Great walks  -  Is on the renowned "Dingle Way" walk
    Outstanding location  -  Located in an idyllic setting where the mountains meet the sea
    Views  -  Great views of the Three Sisters peaks
    Full of character
    Check prices
  • Castlewood House 14 rooms from $103

    Dingle, County Kerry

    Overlooking magical Dingle Bay, Castlewood House is a very comfortable bed and breakfast. The award winning gourmet breakfast is what Castlewood is all about, with a dazzling array of delectable dishes, homemade bread, jams, pancakes, porridge with Cooley Whisky, Dingle kippers and the full Irish.

    B+B  -  Superb award winning, gourmet breakfasts, with a wonderful array of homemade soda bread, scones, jam and fresh local produce
    Private Hot Tub  -  Luxurious Junior Suites come with a private Jacuzzi bath tub and lots of little special extras
    Seaviews  -  Uninterrupted views of Dingle Bay and gentle hills behind the hotel
    Views  -  Stunning views over Dingle Bay
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Sallyport House 5 rooms from $114

    County Kerry

    A beautiful old country house in a stunning location on the edge of the River Kenmare and surrounded by mountains. Traditional interiors have cosy fireplaces, a library, lots of books, art on the walls, and charming bedrooms. The perfect spot for a weekend in the fresh air.

    Views  -  Stunning views over the orchards to the Caha mountains.
    Sights nearby  -  The nearest town, Kenmare, has lots going for it.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Fodors
    Check prices
  • Gorman's Clifftop House 8 rooms from $126

    Ballydavid, County Kerry

    Purpose built restaurant with rooms with stunning vista over both the Atlantic and Mount Brandon. Spacious, stylish, contemporary bedrooms make the most of the views. Highly recommended restaurant serving regional specialities from locally sourced ingredients. Ideal for walkers and outdoorsy types.

    Views  -  Enjoy stunning sunsets over the Atlantic and views over Mount Brandon
    Great walks  -  Direct access on to the famous 180km "Dingle Way"
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • Emlagh House 10 rooms from $147

    County Kerry

    Charming B&B in Georgian house. Rooms are themed on wildflowers and feature artworks, plush fabrics and Victorian antiques. Elegant lounge with open fireplace, neat gardens. Very friendly service. Ideal for a weekend break.

    Local exploring  -  Plenty of outdoors fun nearby, such as fishing, cycling, walking trips, and Dingle's superb seafood restaurants
    Birdwatching  -  A private guide can be arranged for this also to take guests along to various beauty spots
    Fishing  -  Sea fishing can be arranged by hotel
    Restrictions on children
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
    Check prices
  • Cahernane House Hotel 38 rooms from $149

    Killarney

    Exceedingly grand and luxurious country house hotel on the edge of a national park with a most special atmosphere and ambience for business, weddings, and fine dining.

    Foodies  -  Award winning restaurant.
    Luxury
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic Break
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Johansens
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  • Carrig Country House 17 rooms from $171

    Killorglin, Co Kerry, County Kerry

    Lakeside Victorian residence turned country house hotel. Traditional period style interiors with rich fabrics, four poster beds and views to die for across Lake Caragh and the Kerry mountains. Highly recommended restaurant serving trout & salmon from the lake & Kerry lamb.

    Garden  -  Four acre gardens running down to the lake with many rare and unusual species. The head gardener will give you a personal tour.
    Views  -  Glorious views over Lake Caragh and the Kerry mountains
    Outstanding location  -  Stunning situation on the shore of Lake Caragh
    Sights nearby  -  Adjacent to the Ring of Kerry, Muckross House, Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, Ross Castle
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
    Check prices
  • Brook Lane Hotel 20 rooms from $183

    Kenmare

    Splendid hotel in the Ring of Kerry. Sumptuous rooms have modern art, dark velvet furnishings and chandeliers. Charming fireplace lounges and excellent restaurant offering locally sourced and organic dishes; unmissable breakfasts. Very friendly staff.

    Local exploring  -  Abundance of activities on the doorstep, with sea fishing, golf, walks and wildlife
    Families  -  Lovely activites for children with Lorge Chocolate Factory and Adopt a Sheep farm
    Diving  -  Kenmare Bay Diving Club is located in Lauragh on the spectacular Beara peninsula
    Fishing  -  Boat fishing, shore angling or charter a boat on Kenmare Bay
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
    Check prices
  • Sheen Falls Lodge 66 rooms from $183

    Kenmare, County Kerry

    Situated amid stunning Kerry countryside with views over the Sheen Falls from almost every room. Family friendly five star luxury country retreat with activities for everyone. Borrow a bike, go fishing with the ghillie or simply relax in the spa then indulge in gourmet Irish cuisine.

    Child friendly  -  The hotel has children's menus, free bikes, board games and a wide selection of DVDs
    Fishing  -  The hotel has a resident ghillie who can plan residents' fishing expeditions
    5* Luxury  -  Very high service standards.
    Great walks  -  There are lots of river and garden walks to explore on the 300 acre estate
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller, Relais & Chateaux
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  • Ard Na Sidhe Country House 18 rooms from $206

    Caragh Lake, County Kerry

    Country house hotel in a stunning location on the shores of Lake Caragh. 18 bedrooms are split between the original house and the garden house, some with private terrace. Spectacular 32 acres of gardens with rare species. Ideal for a relaxing rural escape in stunning Co Kerry.

    Garden  -  Set amid 32 acres including many rare and unusual trees and shrubs
    Outstanding location  -  Beautiful situation on the shores of Caragh Lake
    Views  -  Stunning views over lake and Co Kerry countryside
    Sailing  -  Sailing and watersports can be arranged near by
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Aghadoe Heights 74 rooms from $262

    Killarney

    A contemporary five star luxury hotel with a stunning position overlooking the Atlantic. Gorgeous rooms, with plenty of glass, are simple in design with focus drawn to the impressive views. A spoiling modern spa is worthy of a visit in itself. Excellent cuisine and a trendy bar. A rural treat.

    Spa breaks  -  A contemporary award-winning spa featuring a couples room, relaxation room and extensive thermal suite.
    Country Escape  -  A 5 star country escape with an impressive placing overlooking the Atlantic coast.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the impressive 15th Century Ross Castle.
    Sailing  -  Take a boat trip to the Innisfallen Island.
    Check prices