Welcome to the stunning landscapes and charming villages of Co. Kerry, Ireland! Nestled on the southwestern coast, this picturesque county is a must visit for it’s natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. If you plan a trip to the Emerald Isle, set aside time for some unforgettable day trips in Co. Kerry. From breathtaking coastal views to historic landmarks, here’s a guide to the top day trips that will leave you enchanted by the magic of Kerry.
- Ring of Kerry: A Scenic Adventure
Every trip to Co. Kerry involves a journey around the famous Ring of Kerry. This 179KM circular route takes you on a breathtaking journey through rugged landscapes, charming villages, and coastal wonders. Begin your adventure in Killarney, the gateway to the Ring, and follow the winding roads that hug the coastline.
As you drive along the Ring, be prepared to be awestruck by the dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean, lush greenery, and the towering peaks of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. Stop at Ladies View, a panoramic spot that offers a postcard-perfect view of the Lakes of Killarney.
Take advantage of the quaint villages along the way, such as Sneem and Waterville, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and perhaps indulge in traditional Irish cuisine. Whether you explore the Ring of Kerry by car, bike, or guided tour, this iconic circuit promises an unforgettable day immersed in Ireland’s natural beauty.
- Dingle Peninsula: A Haven of Tranquility
For a more serene day trip, head to the Dingle Peninsula, which effortlessly captures the essence of Ireland’s west coast. Start your journey in Dingle Town, a charming fishing village with colourful houses and a lively atmosphere. Stroll along the waterfront, savouring the fresh sea breeze and traditional Irish music from cosy pubs.
Drive along Slea Head, the westernmost point of the peninsula, where the rugged cliffs meet the vastness of the Atlantic. Keep an eye out for Fungi, Dingle’s resident bottlenose dolphin, who often delights visitors with playful appearances.
In addition to the stunning coastal scenery, the Dingle Peninsula is dotted with ancient ruins and beehive huts, offering glimpses into Ireland’s rich history. Gallarus Oratory, a well-preserved 7th-century stone church, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
- Killarney National Park: Nature’s Wonderland
Nature enthusiasts will find bliss in the enchanting landscapes of Killarney National Park. Just a stone’s throw from Killarney town, this sprawling expanse is a haven for wildlife, with its dense woodlands, beautiful lakes, and cascading waterfalls.
Begin your day trip with a visit to Muckross House, a 19th-century Victorian mansion surrounded by manicured gardens. Explore the house’s rich history and wander through the nearby Muckross Abbey, a hauntingly beautiful ruin.
For an active adventure, embark on a hike or bike ride through the park’s network of trails, offering a chance to encounter red deer and rare bird species. Remember to take a boat trip or kayak on the serene lakes, where you can admire the reflection of the mountains.
- Skellig Islands: A Journey into the Past
For a truly unique and historical day trip, set sail to the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Skellig Michael, is the larger of the islands and is home to a remarkably well-preserved monastic settlement dating back to the 6th century.
The boat ride is an adventure, offering glimpses of playful seals and seabirds soaring above. Once on Skellig Michael, climb the stone steps that lead to the monastic site, perched high on the island’s cliffs. Marvel at the beehive-shaped huts where monks lived and worked, surrounded by awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic.
Due to the islands’ popularity, it’s essential to plan your visit in advance and be mindful of the limited number of daily permits. This ensures a magical and intimate experience as you step back in time on the mystical Skellig Islands.
- Valentia Island: A Hidden Gem
Nestled off the Iveragh Peninsula, Valentia Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Accessible by a bridge from the mainland, this unique island offers a great blend of natural beauty and fascinating history.
Visit the charming village of Knightstown, where colourful houses line the waterfront. Take a leisurely stroll along the harbour, savouring the tranquillity that defines life on Valentia. If you’re a history buff, visit the Valentia Heritage Centre, which gives insights into the island’s rich heritage, from its geological significance to its role in transatlantic cable communication.
For a nature-infused adventure, head to Bray Head, a rugged headland that rewards hikers with panoramic views of the Atlantic and the Skelligs. The Bray Head Loop Walk is a moderate trail that takes you through heather-clad hills and offers a glimpse of the island’s diverse flora and fauna.
Valentia is also home to the impressive Valentia Slate Quarry, where you can delve into the island’s industrial past. The quarry, operational for over 150 years, produced slate used in iconic structures like the British Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
As you explore the island’s winding roads, visit the dramatic cliffs at Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs, where the rugged coastline meets the wild Atlantic waves. The Skellig Experience Centre provides further insight into the nearby Skellig Islands. It offers a fascinating virtual tour if you need help making it to the islands.
To taste local cuisine, stop by one of the island’s pubs or restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood and traditional Irish dishes. The special hospitality of the locals adds a unique touch to the culinary experience.
Before you leave Valentia Island, take a moment to appreciate the iconic Valentia Lighthouse. Perched on the island’s northwest tip, the lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape. It’s a serene spot to reflect on your day of exploration and marvel at the beauty that defines Co. Kerry.
Valentia Island beckons those seeking a day trip off the beaten path. With its blend of history, nature, and breathtaking landscapes, this hidden gem in Co. Kerry promises an unforgettable adventure. So, set sail for Valentia and let this captivating island weave its magic, leaving you with memories long after you’ve returned to the mainland.
- Kenmare: A Jewel of a Town
Kenmare is a picturesque town that blends natural beauty with vibrant culture. This charming destination, often called the “Jewel in the Ring,” offers a perfect day trip for those seeking outdoor activities, gourmet delights, and a touch of history. It’s a great starting point if you’re looking to discover the Ring of Beara and The Ring of Kerry.
Begin your Kenmare adventure by exploring its colourful streets lined with boutique shops, cafes, and traditional Irish pubs. The town’s lively atmosphere and friendly locals create a welcoming ambience. Take a leisurely stroll along the Kenmare Heritage Trail. This walking route introduces you to the town’s historic landmarks, including the Holy Cross Church and Cromwell’s Bridge.
For a scenic outdoor experience, embark on the Kenmare Bay Eco Cruise. This boat tour takes you through the tranquil waters of Kenmare Bay, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. Watch for seals and seabirds, and listen to the local guides share fascinating stories about the region’s history and wildlife.
Kenmare is a haven for food enthusiasts, boasting award-winning restaurants and artisanal eateries. Enjoy a culinary journey with locally sourced seafood, organic produce, and traditional Irish dishes. The town’s commitment to gastronomic excellence has earned it a reputation as one of Ireland’s top food destinations.
Just a short drive from Kenmare, you’ll find the majestic Gleninchaquin Park, a hidden gem tucked away in the Beara Peninsula. This privately owned nature reserve offers a variety of walking trails that lead you through lush woodlands, past cascading waterfalls, and panoramic viewpoints. The park’s diverse flora and fauna and its tranquil ambience make it a perfect retreat for nature lovers.
For those seeking adventure, Kenmare is an ideal starting point for exploring the Ring of Beara. The route takes you along coastal roads, revealing breathtaking views of the Beara Peninsula and the wild Atlantic. Visit the beautiful villages of Allihies and Eyeries, known for their vibrant colours and warm hospitality.
Treat yourself to a relaxing evening in one of Kenmare’s traditional pubs as the day ends. Enjoy live Irish music and mingle with locals, immersing yourself in the town’s welcoming spirit.
Kenmare offers a delightful day trip combining Irish culture, outdoor exploration, and culinary delights. Whether you choose to meander through the town’s historic streets, cruise along the scenic bay, or venture into the natural wonders of Gleninchaquin Park, Kenmare will surely leave you enchanted by its unique charm. So, pack your sense of adventure and appetite for discovery, and let Kenmare unfold its treasures before you.
With its variety of landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Co. Kerry is a treasure trove for day-trippers seeking a taste of Ireland’s magic. Whether you choose to meander along the Ring of Kerry, explore the tranquil Dingle Peninsula, immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Killarney National Park, or embark on a historical journey to the Skellig Islands, each day trip promises a unique blend of adventure, beauty, and Irish hospitality. If you have any further questions please message us here!