County Kerry (Irish: Contae Chiarraí), in Southwest Ireland, is regarded as perhaps the most scenic county in Ireland and is certainly the most renowned for its scenery. It holds most of Ireland's highest mountains (including the highest, Carrauntuohill) in its most westerly fringes and holds a special place in Irish culture. It became a popular tourist attraction in the 19th century and is still very popular today, despite considerable rainfall. In some places the tourist pressure has arguably had a mixed effect but in general the county is friendly and relaxed as well as beautiful.
- 1 Tralee is the county town, with Kerry County Museum.
- 2 Castleisland has the extensive Crag Cave.
- 3 Killarney is Kerry's main tourist centre, flanked by Lough Leane and Killarney National Park.
- 4 Killorglin has Kerry Bog Village and the lively Puck Festival.
- 5 Caherciveen the birthplace of Daniel O'Connell has a Ruritanian police barracks and two stone ringforts.
- 6 Portmagee is the usual route to Valentia Island and for trips to Skellig Michael.
- 7 Cloghane-Brandon (An Clochán)
- 8 Dingle (An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis, "Ó Cúis' fort")
- 9 Kenmare (An Neidín, "the little nest")
- 10 Listowel (Lios Tuathail, "Tuathal's ringfort") has a 13th C castle.
- 1 Annascaul (Abhainn an Scáil or Abha na Scáil)
- 2 The Blasket Islands are six little islands off the Dingle peninsula, inhabited solely by Irish-speakers until 1953 but then evacuated. Boat trips to the largest, Great Blasket, run from Dunquin on the peninsula, where a visitor centre describes their lives.
- 3 Ballybunion (Baile an Bhuinneánaigh)
- 4 Castlegregory (Caisleán Ghriaire, "Griaire's Castle")
- 5 Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne)
- 6 Ring of Kerry (Mórchuaird Chiarraí) – A scenic route around the Iveragh peninsula.
- 7 Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl) – A small island off the coast, granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996.
- 8 Ventry (Fionntrá, "White Strand")
English is the most spoken language, however, in certain parts of Kerry such as in Dingle, Irish is the living language spoken by up to 70% of the locals.
1 Shannon Airport (SNN IATA) north across the Shannon estuary is a major portal of entry into Ireland. It has many flights from Europe, UK and the United States, with US border pre-clearance, and in summer from Toronto. The largest operators are Ryanair and Aer Lingus. There are several car rental agencies.
Kerry Airport (KIR IATA) is at Farranfore, between Tralee and Killarney. It has daily flights from Dublin, and year-round from London Stansted and Luton, Manchester, Frankfurt-Hahn, plus seasonal Med destinations.
Trains run from Mallow every couple of hours to Killarney and Tralee. One or two per day start from Dublin Heuston or Cork, but usually you change at Mallow.
Dublin Coach M7 runs hourly from Dublin Burgh Quay and Red Cow Luas station via Limerick, Adare, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale, where it branches for either Tralee or Killarney, taking 4 hours 20 min. From Dublin airport take their bus for Portlaoise, Waterford or Dundrum and change at Red Cow.
Bus Eireann 40 treks cross-country every hour or so, from Rosslare ferry port via Wexford, New Ross, Waterford, Dungarvan, Youghal, Cork, Macroom and Ballyvourney to Killarney and Tralee.
Bus 14 runs four or five times daily from Limerick to Castleisland and Killarney.
The Shannon Ferry plies between 2 Tarbert in County Kerry and Killimer in County Clare on the north bank, both on Highway N67. It sails hourly Sept-May and every 30 mins June-Aug. Fare is €20 for a standard car with all passengers, €5 for a foot-passenger, cyclist or motorbike. If you're touring the Atlantic coast, this saves a lengthy detour inland through Limerick. Watch for dolphins on the 20-min crossing.
- Bus Eireann buses
- Private bus tours
- Rental car
- Bicycle rental
- Walking - the Kerry Way is a major network of marked trails.
There are numerous major and local car rental companies that have locations in County Kerry. Most will have rental desks in Kerry airport Killarney town or both.
- Avis - car rental depot located within Shannon Airport
- Budget Car Rental Ireland - desks in both Kerry Airport and Killarney town.
- Dan Dooley - Kerry Airport desk
- Europcar - Killarney and Kerry Airport
- Hertz - Kerry Airport
- Irish Car Rentals - Kerry Airport
- National Car Rental - Kerry Airport
The Ring of Kerry is the best known area of natural beauty in Ireland. It is a 120 mile circuit around the Iveragh Peninsula in south Kerry passing through Killarney, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare.
- Gaelic games: Kerry GAA the county team play football in Killarney and hurling in Tralee. There are about 80 club teams across the county.
- Don't squish a slug unless you're sure it's not the rare, protected Kerry slug Geomalacus maculosus, found only in this area and around Finisterre in Iberia. No less than the European Court of Justice leaned down from its august height in 2005 to reprimand the Irish government for paying insufficient regard to the survival and slimy happiness of such slugs. The woodland version is brown, those on boggy open hillsides are dark grey, with yellow spots. Habitat loss is their main threat - they don't like rhododendrons - but mind where you tread.
As anywhere else in Ireland, there are many bed and breakfasts (B&B) in Kerry and around the Ring of Kerry. They are all priced about the same, which is €35 per person during the summer.