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.
One County, Two Peninsulas
Kerry has two amazing rocky peninsulas, jutting out into the Atlantic. Iveragh is the closest to us, while the famed ‘Ring of Kerry’ and the Dingle Peninsula lies further north, an Irish-speaking area, comprising 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. Tralee and Listowel, both towns well-known for theatre and literature, are inthe north of the county, and don't forget Ballybunion with its famous golf links course and long sandy beach.
Characterised by forest, blanket bog, river, lake, sandy beaches and imposing mountains, the Iveragh peninsula is famous for the ‘Ring of Kerry’ driving tour that takes in Killarney, Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahirsiveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare.
- Drive the Skellig ring and take a boat trip from Port Magee (Valentia Island) to visit the mighty Skellig Rock (made famous by Star Wars in recent years) - this is weather dependent and requires suitable climbing boots and a good level of fitness. Check out the Skellig Interpretive Centre for information on the fascinating history.
- Visit Valentia Island or Caragh Lake, a little off the beaten track.
- Have a coffee in the Lighthouse Café in Knightstown or fill up on some great seafood in The Moorings at Portmagee.
- Climb Ireland highest mountain, Corran Tuathaill (1039m), with one of the many passionate guides in the area.
The Dingle Peninsula (Chorca Dhuibhne) is characterised by 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, famous for its music and the starting point for exploring the area.
- Take the Slea Head coastal drive with its cliffs, coves, islands and mountain scenery and its friendly Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) villages and national historical monuments including the Gallarus Oratory.
- Drive 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.
- Try your hand at the potter's wheel at one of Louis Mulcahy's pottery workshops on the Slea Head, magnificently located with incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean.
- Brave the sound in a ferry across to Great Blasket with its rich history and memories of a by-gone life, as described by Peig Sayers. Compliment your trip with a visit to the Blasket Islands Interpretive Centre.
- Take a boat trip in Dingle Harbour and meet the famous Fungie the dolphin.
Killarney and around
Killarney is a major tourist town with craft shops, galleries, and museums, set against a backdrop of the impressive McGillicuddy Reeks and National Park. There's so much to do, from visiting archaeological sites, castles, big old houses to climbing mountains, 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.
- Discover the magnificence of Muckross House, gardens and old-world farm and spectacular landscape, just like Queen Victoria did in 1861.
- Explore the ruins of Muckross Abbey with its amazing old yew tree and walk amongst the old Irish oak trees in the national park.
All around Kerry...
- Golf your way around Kerry on the championship links courses of Waterville and Ballybunion, Irish Open venues like Killarney or coastal courses like Dooks and Kenmare.
- Find memories of literary heroes of Kerry like Tom Crean in The South Pole Inn, Annauscaul, John B. Keane in Listowel, Peig Sayers on The Blasket Islands and Kruger Kavanagh in Kruger's pub in Dunquin.
- ‘Bring your boots and get out there.’ Walk a section of the Kerry Way or Dingle way, Killarney National Park, or a coastal or mountain trek.
- Meet the all black, ancient, Irish breed of ‘Kerry cow’ in Killarney, 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 (nr Sneem), Gallarus Oratory (Dingle Peninsula), an Riasc, Kenmare Stone Circle, Ross Castle (Killarney National Park), Caherdaniel Stone Fort and Ardfert Cathedral (nr Tralee).