County Kerry is known as “The Kingdom,” and for good reason – it’s absolutely majestic. It might only be 1,856 square miles, but you could spend a full week there and not see all the sights – from the storied towns of Killarney and Dingle to the far out Skellig Michael. Picking just five Kerry places to highlight is nearly impossible, but we tried! Let us know in the comment section if we left out your favorite Kerry attraction.

Killarney National Park

The first national park in all of Ireland, Killarney National Park was created in 1932 when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish government. We’re cheating a little here, since the park encompasses the heart of the Lakes of Killarney, parts of the McGillycuddy Reeks (Ireland’s tallest mountain range), Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle, Ladies View (one of the most famous scenic lookouts in all of Ireland), Torc Waterfall and Innisfallen Island. And that isn’t even everything!

With the charming town of Killarney as your base, you could spend days exploring the park’s 25,420 acres, taking in the walking trails and driving routes and the stunningly diverse flora and fauna, including Ireland’s only native herd of red deer.

Click here for visitor information.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael, a small, uninhabited, rocky island topped by a 1,400-year-old monastery, which sits eight miles from the coast of the small Kerry fishing town of Portmagee, got world-wide attention after featuring in the mega-hit film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Now one of the most sought-after tourist experiences in all of Ireland, Skellig Michael is difficult to reach, but visitors report it’s well worth the challenge. A limited number of people are allowed on the island each day, due to its protected status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A number of local fishermen and boatmen offer passage to and tours of the island, but even a spot on a boat is no guarantee. Some days, due to the weather, the tour boats can’t set out for Skellig Michael at all, and on other days they approach the island only to find that the conditions are too dangerous to dock.

What awaits when you finally set foot on the rocky outcropping is a beautiful and formidable climb of 618 steps to the top, where monks once hid themselves away to be in closer communion with God. The summit offers views of the nearby Little Skellig, and the thousands of gannets and puffins that nest there.

For visitor information, click here. 

Derrynane Beach

County Kerry is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Ireland, and Derrynane, near the town of Caherdaniel, is one of the loveliest. It even won the International Blue Flag award for 2016! The sandy beach and typically calm waters are ideal for swimmers and the beach itself is a lovely walk no matter the time of year. Nearby is Abbey Island, where the ruins of Derrynane Abbey can be found.

For visitor information, click here

Slea Head Drive

From the Ring of Kerry to the Ring of Beara, Kerry has many scenic drives to choose from. Slea Head, which starts and ends in the popular tourist town of Dingle and makes up part of the Wild Atlantic Way, is a must. The route itself is only 30 miles, but you should set aside at least half a day for it as you’ll likely be stopping every five minutes to take in the sites, including Ventry Beach, the Blasket Islands, the ancient Gallus Oratory, and the Ranga shipwreck site.

Slea Head itself is a gorgeous promontory that competes with Dunmore Head for the title of westernmost point in Ireland.

For route and visitor information, click here 

Kenmare Town

Killarney and Dingle are the two most popular tourist towns in Kerry, so if you’re looking for a more low-key taste of Kerry town life, be sure to stop in Kenmare. The town sits at the head of Kenmare Bay, and is a great home-base for exploring the Ring of Kerry or the Ring of Beara. Kenmare offers cozy pubs, gourmet restaurants and cafes, galleries and shops galore, in addition to top class accommodations. The Kenmare Fair, a 200-year-old tradition, takes place every August 15.

For visitor information, click here


Cloonee Loughs, in the wild Beara Peninsula Raúl Corral / Wikimedia Commons