An aerial view of the stone Wishing Bridge over a winding stream at Gap of Dunloe in Black Valley of Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

Things to do in  Kenmare

County Kerry’s gourmet village

A colorful countryside village on the famed Ring of Kerry, Kenmare offers more than its small size might suggest. Charming architecture, quality restaurants, and accommodation options from inns to luxury hotels all make Kenmare a popular base for exploring the dramatic scenery of County Kerry. Popular things to do in Kenmare include golfing, hiking, cycling, and going for a scenic drive along the Ring of Kerry. In the evening, Kenmare comes alive with traditional Irish music.

Top 6 attractions in Kenmare

Ladies View

This scenic lookout takes its name from Queen Victoria and her ladies-in-waiting, who were bowled over by the views when they visited here in 1861. These days, the vista remains as spectacular as back then, with visitors lingering at the lookout to soak up the magnificent lake and peak landscapes of Killarney National Park.More

Ring of Beara

This scenic driving route loops around the Beara Peninsula, a secluded sliver of land that protrudes out into the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland’s southwest coast. The peaks of two mountain ranges—the Caha and Slieve Miskish mountains—rise up in the interior, while its serrated coastline is indented with inlets and coves.More

Drombeg Stone Circle (Druid's Altar)

Also known as the Druid's Altar, Drombeg Stone Circle is one of the most impressive prehistoric monuments in Ireland. Dating back to 1,100 BC, the megalithic site consists of 17 standing stones, which tower 6 feet (2 meters) above ground, and is thought to have been used as a burial or sacrifice site.More

Gougane Barra

When strolling through the trees of the Gougana Barra National Forest Park, and gazing out at the placid waters of Gougana Barra’s lake, you can see why this corner of southwestern Ireland was a place of historical solace. It was here on the island in the middle of the lake, that St. Finnbar—patron saint of Cork—founded a monastery in the 6th century before eventually moving to Cork. When visiting the Gougane Barra today, the most popular site is St. Finnbar’s Oratory on a small island in the lake. With its romantically elegant stone design, this 19th-century, picturesque church is a popular spot for weddings, and it’s also a holy pilgrimage site—where Roman Catholics would hold secret Mass away from the Anglican Church. Behind the lake is the National Forest Park and its system of hiking and biking trails, which pass through woods that are densely forested in Sitka Spruce and Pine. This is also the site of the River Lee—which meanders its way through Cork—and while Gougane Barra is most often visited as a relaxing day trip from Cork, there’s also a small, family-run hotel that’s open from April-October.More
Stone Circle

Stone Circle

Consisting of 15 heavy stone slabs set out in an oval shape, Kenmare’s Stone Circle—known locally as the Shrubberies—is among the biggest of the 100 or so such sites scattered throughout Ireland’s southwest. Though its original function remains unknown, the site most likely held spiritual significance for its Bronze Age builders. More
Cromwell's Bridge

Cromwell's Bridge

Though oral tradition holds that the original Cromwell’s Bridge was built by monks back in the 11th century, the current structure is believed to date back to around 1700. The exaggerated curve of the rubble-stone arch is thought to have been designed to accommodate the fluctuating tidal range of the Finnihy River, which babbles below.More

All about Kenmare

When to visit

Summer is the popular time of year to visit Kenmare, and County Kerry in general, especially for families and international travelers. This means that both hotels and restaurants require reservations, especially on weekends and for the popular Kenmare Arts Festival in July and August. Travelers seeking to avoid the crowds may opt for the shoulder seasons of spring or fall.

Getting around

Kenmare is located in the Irish countryside in County Kerry. This area is best explored by rental car or with a private driver, as stopping along the Ring of Kerry is part of the fun. Bikes are available to rent, and some visitors also choose to explore the coastline by kayak. To maximize time on the Irish west coast, fly to Shannon Airport and rent a car from there (vs. flying to the capital city of Dublin).

Traveler tips

The Ring of Kerry is not the only scenic drive in this part of Ireland. Some travelers may prefer the Ring of Beara, which also offers coastline views, but with fewer crowds than the Ring of Kerry. Be sure to seek out local seafood when you visit Kenmare; the coastal location means the fish in County Kerry are some of the freshest you’ll find in Ireland.


People Also Ask

Is Kenmare worth a visit?

Yes, Kenmare is worth visiting. This village in County Kerry is known as a stop on the scenic Ring of Kerry and has a good reputation for restaurants and pubs. Kenmare is a popular place to stay overnight for visitors exploring the rugged scenery of the region.

What is Kenmare famous for?

Kenmare is famous as a gateway to the natural beauty of the Ring of Kerry. Visitors arrive here to hike, play golf, and drive along the famed Ring of Kerry. The village itself also has a good reputation for quality restaurants and pubs, plus luxury hotels and cozy inns.

Is it better to stay in Kenmare or Killarney?

Kenmare is a village known for quality restaurants and pubs, while Killarney is a larger town with more bustle. Both offer access to the natural beauty of County Kerry. Kenmare is coastal with quick access to the Ring of Kerry, while Killarney is further inland. Choosing one is personal preference.

Why is Kenmare a tourist attraction?

Kenmare is a tourist attraction for two reasons: The quick access it provides to the dramatic Ring of Kerry roads and the charming base it offers with quality restaurants, pubs, and hotels. Many visitors choose to stay in Kenmare while exploring the region by car. Kenmare is popular with golfers.

Does Kenmare have a beach?

No, the village of Kenmare itself does not have a beach. But Kenmare is coastal and near the Ring of Kerry, home to several striking beaches including Derrynane Beach, Rossbeigh Beach, Castlecove Beach, and Coral Beach. These are all popular stops on the Ring of Kerry for a picnic.

How should I spend a day in Kenmare?

WIth one day in Kenmare, go for a scenic drive along the Ring of Kerry by day. At night, eat dinner in one of Kenmare’s excellent seafood restaurants; reservations are recommended, especially in summer. After dinner, check out Kenmare’s pubs and live music.

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