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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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in County Kerry
Virginia's Guesthouse 8 rooms from £53County 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 chicGreat walks - In Killarney National ParkTraditional
Quinlan and Cooke Boutique Townhouse 4 rooms from £69Cahersiveen, 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 boatFoodiesValue chicSights nearby - Situated in Cahersiveen on the Ring of Kerry
An Riasc 4 rooms from £70Dingle, 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" walkOutstanding location - Located in an idyllic setting where the mountains meet the seaViews - Great views of the Three Sisters peaksFull of character
Castlewood House 14 rooms from £79Dingle, 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 producePrivate Hot Tub - Luxurious Junior Suites come with a private Jacuzzi bath tub and lots of little special extrasSeaviews - Uninterrupted views of Dingle Bay and gentle hills behind the hotelViews - Stunning views over Dingle BayRecommended by - Sawdays
Sallyport House 5 rooms from £88County 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.TraditionalRecommended by - Sawdays, Fodors
Gorman's Clifftop House 8 rooms from £96Ballydavid, 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 BrandonGreat 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
Emlagh House 10 rooms from £113County 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 restaurantsBirdwatching - A private guide can be arranged for this also to take guests along to various beauty spotsFishing - Sea fishing can be arranged by hotelRestrictions on childrenRecommended by - Fodors
Barrow House 8 rooms from £123Tralee, County Kerry
A luxury B&B boasting an enviable location overlooking The Wild Atlantic Way. Elegant rooms are decorated with soft hues, antique furniture and traditionally patterned fabrics. The restaurant is superb. This is the perfect spot for an active break or to simply completely unwind.Active Holiday - Find a host of outdoor pursuits nearby the property.Fishing - Fishing excursions start straight from the property's deck.Great walks - Take long walks along the pristine beaches.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Cahernane House Hotel 40 rooms from £114Killarney
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.LuxuryViews - Great views from hotelRomantic BreakRecommended by - Sawdays, Johansens
Carrig Country House 17 rooms from £132Killorglin, 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 mountainsOutstanding location - Stunning situation on the shore of Lake CaraghSights nearby - Adjacent to the Ring of Kerry, Muckross House, Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, Ross CastleRecommended by - Sawdays
Brook Lane Hotel 20 rooms from £140Kenmare
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 wildlifeFamilies - Lovely activites for children with Lorge Chocolate Factory and Adopt a Sheep farmDiving - Kenmare Bay Diving Club is located in Lauragh on the spectacular Beara peninsulaFishing - Boat fishing, shore angling or charter a boat on Kenmare BayRecommended by - Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
Sheen Falls Lodge 66 rooms from £140Kenmare, 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 DVDsFishing - The hotel has a resident ghillie who can plan residents' fishing expeditions5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Great walks - There are lots of river and garden walks to explore on the 300 acre estateRecommended by - CN Traveller, Relais & Chateaux
Ard Na Sidhe Country House 18 rooms from £158Caragh 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 shrubsOutstanding location - Beautiful situation on the shores of Caragh LakeViews - Stunning views over lake and Co Kerry countrysideSailing - Sailing and watersports can be arranged near byRecommended by - Sawdays
Aghadoe Heights 74 rooms from £201Killarney
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.
Killarney Park Hotel 67 rooms from £193Killarney
A luxurious 5 star property in the quaint town of Killarney. Traditionally styled rooms are light and airy with large sash windows, antique furniture and contemporary bathrooms. A spoiling spa and indoor pool are the perfect place to unwind after a day in the great outdoors. Fabulous.Local exploring - Ideally located to enjoy the quintessentially Irish town of Killarney as well as the surrounding countryside.Total relaxation - Complete with fabulous spa, exemplary restaurant and five star service, wish for nothing at this property.Great walks - Explore the Killarney National Park just minutes from the property.Kayaking - Paddle across one of the scenic Lakes of Killarney.