When it comes to iconic Irish beauty, County Kerry could have set the precedent. The southwestern county is renowned for its exceptional scenery and spirited townships. Pick from two breathtaking touring routes and enjoy a showcase of the county’s unforgettable sights, including mountain ranges that plummet into roaring ocean waves, as well as ancient Christian monuments, farming hamlets and characterful pubs.
Killarney is Kerry’s well-appointed tourist hub. The town features a pretty streetscape defined by colorful frontages and historic structures. Join locals in the town’s cheery pubs and check out traditional folk music concerts.
Outside of town, Killarney National Park provides a picturesque backdrop to the stately Muckross House. Explore the mansion’s pretty gardens or travel farther afield to see beautiful oak and yew woodlands inhabited by red deer. Follow the park’s trails on foot, by bike or by horse-drawn cart to see historic sites and mountain vistas. Look out over the gorgeous Lakes of Killarney, which are sheltered on one side by Purple Mountain. Historic attractions in the park include the 15th-century Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and the Old Weir Bridge.
Explore Kerry via one of the county’s scenic driving routes. Take the narrow mountain pass that winds around valley-floor lakes in the Gap of Dunloe. There are also two popular loop routes that depart from Killarney: the Ring of Kerry, with its panoramas of the islands dotted around the Iveragh Peninsula, and the Dingle Peninsula Route, which showcases sandy beaches, ancient Christian landmarks and Ireland’s westernmost point.
Another of Kerry’s famed sights is the medieval monastery perched on the craggy cliffs of Skellig Michael Island. The Valentia Island Heritage Centre is a good place to learn about Kerry County’s offshore history.
Reach County Kerry via its regional airport, which is in Killarney. The county has a railway network, but is best explored by car. Go on a self-guided tour around Kerry’s scenic routes and make the most of the county’s short walking trails. Stay overnight in one of Kerry County’s seaside hamlets to wake up to exceptional sunrise views. For quintessential Irish scenery, you can’t beat County Kerry.