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The coastal village of Kenmare is less than an hour from Killarney National Park and forms part of the world-famous Ring of Kerry, a looped 150km driving route that takes you through the heart of the West Kerry countryside.
The picturesque town of Kenmare has a great selection of craft shops, cafes and pubs, and is the sort of town you will find somewhere to pop into at every turn. Visit the Kenmare Lace & Design Centre to find out more about the famous Kenmare Lace, while golfing fans should consider teeing off at the scenic 18-hole Kenmare Golf Course. The ancient Kenmare Stone Circle is also worth exploring, although they can be a little tricky to find, so be sure to visit the tourist office for directions. The ancient site is believed to date back to the Bronze Age. The ruins of Dunkerron Castle can be found a short-distance from Kenmare (along the Sneem Road), while Reenagross Park and the Bonane Heritage Park are other areas to visit when holidaying in Kenmare. While visiting Kenmare, be sure to make the trip to the stunning Dromquinna Manor before departing to embark on the famous Ring of Kerry drive.
Kenmare is one of the many highlights that lie in wait for visitors seeking to drive the Ring of Kerry and is a popular start and end point for many. The route takes you through many of West Kerry’s famous towns, including Killarney, Beaufort, Portmagee and Sneem, while Valentia Island and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael is a must-see. Killarney National Park is another famous Kerry attraction along this famous route, with Muckross House, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall all located in the park. The Ring of Kerry route takes you through the park and along the banks of the stunning Lough Leane and Lough Muckross. If you have time to spend exploring the park, consider grabbing the boat to Innisfallen Island, and the ruins of the old 7th-century monastery where Ireland’s most famous king, Brian Boru is thought to have studied.
The village of Sneem is another picturesque area to explore along the Ring of Kerry and lies a short-distance from Kenmare should you want to explore it for the afternoon. Beaches are plentiful as you travel along Kerry’s west coast, with Derrynane Beach in particular a highlight of the Ring of Kerry route. If beaches aren’t your thing and you’re a fan of hiking, Ireland’s biggest mountain, Carrauntoohil is located 30km from Kenmare. While visiting Kenmare, be sure to head west to Valentia Island, where you can discover more about Skellig Michael, while the town of Waterville along the Skellig Peninsula introduces you to even more wild beauty in an area that is up there with the most stunning in Ireland. If you’re visiting Kenmare in the summer months, keep an eye out for the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, a nod to the great man himself who regularly holidayed in Waterville.