Ring Of Kerry & Dingle


A stay in Gougane Barra Hotel would not be complete without at least one day exploring Kerry, our neighbouring County. It’s so easy to visit either Killarney, the ring of Kerry, The Dingle Peninsula, or North Kerry in a day trip from here.

Kerry has two amazing rocky peninsulas, jutting out into the Atlantic, Iveragh is the nearest to us, with the famed ‘Ring of Kerry’ and the second peninsula is the Dingle Peninsula, an Irish speaking area, comprising of An Daingean (Dingle) and the ‘Slea head drive’.
Further inland you have Killarney town with its vast National Park with Muckross House and farm, the Lakes of Killarney, and Ross Castle. In North Kerry is Tralee and Listowel, both towns well-known for theatre and great Irish writers, and not forgetting Ballybunion with its famous golf links course and long sandy beach.
The Iveragh Peninsula is a natural wonderland of forest, blanket bog, river, lake, sandy beaches and mountains high, including Ireland highest peak Corrán Tuathail. The famous ‘Ring of Kerry’ tour is a driving tour that takes in Killarney, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahirsiveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare. By car you can go off the main tour, such as drive the Skellig ring or visit Valentia Island, or Caragh Lake as an extra suggestion, a little off the beaten track.

The Dingle Peninsula (Chorca Dhuibhne) is also a great day trip and is similar but different in it’s magnificent scenery, a wealth of historical interest, colourful towns and villages and of course friendly people. Dingle (An Daingean) town is the principal town on this peninsula, and is the starting point for the Slea head coastal drive with its cliffs, coves, island and mountain scenery. Through friendly Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) villages and national historical monuments, this road is well worth it. Another must is the ‘Conor Pass’, Ireland’s highest mountain pass connecting Dingle with Castlegregory, where there are many water-based activities and a long unspoilt sandy beach.

Killarney is a major tourist town with craft shops, galleries, and museums, set against a backdrop of the impressive McGillicuddy Reeks and National Park. It is easy to spend a day here, with so much to do, from archaeology, castles, big old houses to visit, mountains to climb, water activities, walking, horse riding, or maybe just having a coffee in the Killarney National Park, while watching the world go by.

Scenic routes from Gougane Barra to Killarney take in the Caha Pass between Glengarriff (N71) and Kenmare and onwards to Molls Gap (N71) en route to Killarney through the National Park.

Suggestions;

Climb Ireland’s highest mountain (Corrán Tuathaill 1039m) with one of the many passionate guides. It is also possible to do rock climbing, and other hikes in the mountains.

Take a boat trip from Port Magee (Valentia Island) and visit the mighty Skellig Rock, this is weather dependent and requires suitable climbing boots and a good level of fitness

Have a coffee in the Lighthouse café in Knightstown or have great seafood in The Moorings at Portmagee.

Discover the magnificence of Muckross House, gardens and old world farm and spectacular landscape, just like Queen Victoria did in 1861.

Golf your way around Kerry on the Championship links courses of Waterville and Ballybunion, Irish Open venues like Killarney or coastal like Dooks and Kenmare.

Try your hand on the Potters Wheel and make your own in Louis Mulcahy’s pottery workshop on the Slea head magnificently located with incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean.

‘Climb at Height’ – spend an afternoon in this exciting venue with climbing walls and high wires for the more adventurous.

Find memories of literary heroes of Kerry like Tom Crean in The South Pole Inn, Annauscaul, John B. Keane in Listowel, Peig Sayers in The Blasket Islands, Kruger Kavanagh in Krugers pub in Dunquin.

‘Bring your boots and get out there’ Walk a section of the Kerry or Dingle way, Killarney National Park, or a coastal or mountain trek.

Meet the all black, ancient, Irish breed of ‘Kerry cow’ in Killarney, Fungie the Dolphin in Dingle, White tailed sea eagles and Red deer in the National Park, Natterjack toads on the Iveragh peninsula, or Gannets on Skellig rock.

Step into the past in the well-preserved Staigue fort, Gallarus oratory, an Riasc, Kenmare Stone circle, Ross castle, Caherdaniel, Ardfert Cathedral, also worth a visit are the Blasket and Skellig interpretive centres which give an informative insight into the islands life in times gone by.