outdoor activities and festivals Kerry

Discover Kerry’s Best Outdoor Activities & Festivals

In Kerry, Ireland, we’re lucky to have a vibrant mix of outdoor fun and festivals. Kerry is famous for its lively events and many chances to enjoy the outdoors. You’ll find celebrations happening all year round that are full of energy and friendliness. Our area is perfect for all kinds of adventures, from easy walks to tough climbs and team sports. With the coastal cliffs and rolling hills, there’s something for everyone here, no matter your age or skill level.

Key Takeaways

  • Kerry is renowned for its robust outdoor activities and vibrant festivals, attracting both locals and travellers.
  • The festivals in Kerry are highlights of the calendar year, celebrated with great enthusiasm.
  • The region’s diverse landscape offers activities ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging mountain climbs.
  • Kerry’s rugged coastline and scenic highlands provide ample adventure opportunities for all age groups and skill levels.
  • Participating in Kerry’s festivals and outdoor pursuits offers an unforgettable experience aligning with Irish culture and hospitality.

1

Explore Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park is a top place for those who love the outdoors. It has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1981. The mix of history and natural beauty attracts adventure seekers and nature fans alike2.

Hiking Trails

The park has many hiking trails for everyone. The Gap of Dunloe is a 5-hour journey loved by many. It includes a 2.5-hour walk in a valley and a boat ride back to Ross Castle3. Another favourite is the Torc Mountain Hike. It’s a 7.5km trail that takes about two hours and has a 535m climb3. For a tough walk, Cardiac Hill is worth it. It’s 3.5km long and takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours3. Biking is also great to see the park in half a day3. If you’re up for a challenge, try hiking up Carrauntoohil. This is Ireland’s highest peak and takes 6 to 8 hours3.

Killarney National Park

Wildlife Watching

In Killarney National Park, watching wildlife is a big highlight. It’s a great place to see the native Irish red deer. This kind of deer is unique to Ireland’s mainland. You can see these amazing animals in their natural home. The park has varied landscapes, adding more chances to see wildlife and connect with nature2.

The park is perfect for walking and observing wildlife. Killarney National Park really shows what Kerry’s outdoor life is all about. From the tough hikes up Torc Mountain to the peaceful lakes and woodlands, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

The Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive

The Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive spans 179km, showcasing Ireland’s breathtaking scenery. Along the way, we see Kerry’s finest natural treasures. This drive is lined with key stops and top viewing points to take in the beauty.

Key Stops Along the Way

Sneem is a charming village, famous for its Sneem Seaweed Baths and a lively summer festival. Derrynane House, the former residence of Daniel O’Connell, is a must-see. It shows life as it was in the 19th century4. Nearby is Derrynane Beach, favoured for its soft sand and beautiful views4. The Muckross Lake Loop, offering a scenic journey through the Lakes of Killarney, is perfect for nature lovers4.

The Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive

Best Viewing Points

Ladies View is a highlight, known for its beauty. Queen Victoria’s ladies loved it when they visited Kerry in the 1800s4. Cahersiveen showcases Bentee Mountain and Valentia Harbour, providing stunning vistas4. Portmagee is great for views and offers fresh seafood at The Moorings. From here, you can take boat trips to Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage site4. For an in-depth experience, visit Valentia Island. It offers the Bray Head Loop Walk and the iconic Valentia Island Lighthouse4.

These attractions along The Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive offer great outdoor adventures. They also provide memorable experiences with Ireland’s natural beauty.

Kayaking the Lakes of Killarney

Kayaking the Lakes of Killarney is an amazing adventure in Kerry, Ireland. The lakes are in the peaceful Killarney National Park. They are perfect for exploring lovely islands and small bays. The water is calm, especially in good weather, making early morning or evening paddles ideal.

Kayaking the Lakes of Killarney

Rental and Tour Options

Looking for equipment or guided tours in the Lakes of Killarney? Outdoors Ireland and Mór Active have you covered. They rent out kayaks and offer tours full of history and beauty. The guided trips take about three hours, are available from March to October, and show off amazing sights3.

Best Times to Kayak

The Lakes are best for paddling in the calm mornings or evenings. Not only is it great for kayaking but it’s peaceful in Kerry. To visit Innisfallen Island, it’s a quick boat trip from Ross Castle and a walk through the woods. This adventure adds to the whole experience3.

Killarney National Park is a massive area full of lakes, mountains, and woods. It’s also home to MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains5. With easy rental and tour choices, plus knowing when to go, visitors will have a top-notch outdoor time.

Sailing to Skellig Michael

Heading to Skellig Michael is an amazing adventure. It takes us to the Skellig Islands, about 13km from Ballinskelligs Bay in County Kerry6. These islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site7. They are known for their huge rocks that are over 750 feet high6. They make a stunning view for Kerry’s outdoor activities.

You can start your journey from Portmagee, Caherdaniel, or Ballinskelligs Pier. These islands were first used by monks in the 8th century6. The spot has a deep history dating back to 1400 BC6.

Only 180 people can visit Skellig Michael each day. This helps keep the place beautiful for the next generations6. The trip also lets us see the amazing views of Little Skellig and the Kerry coast. These sights capture the true natural beauty and peace of the area6.

Tours run from April to early October6. The weather during this time makes the journey even better. This makes it a top choice when visiting Kerry’s outdoor events.

Sailing to Skellig Michael

Tour ProviderEco Tour Cost (€)Landing Tour Cost (€)
Skellig Michael Cruises50140
Skellig Boat Tours50125
Kerry Aqua Terra Boat & Adventure Tours75
Sea Quest Skellig Tours50130
Casey’s Skellig Island Tours45125
Skellig Walker50125

The island’s fame grew after Star Wars Episode VII “The Force Awakens” in 20146. Staying in Portmagee means you’re close to tours. This ensures you get the full Skellig experience6.

Dingle: A Must-Visit Destination

Dingle is tucked away on Kerry’s wild coast. It’s full of adventures and fun things to do. Take the Dingle Peninsula Drive for a day full of scenic walks and stunning coastal views8. The Slea Head Drive is a must-see, taking 1 to 2 hours for the route alone. But remember to stop often to enjoy the views8. Don’t miss the chance to see Conor Pass, offering incredible views at 410 meters high8.

Kerry’s outdoor festivals are a big deal, with Dingle’s Food Festival in early October being a highlight, drawing foodies worldwide9. It has over 50 stalls, cooking shows, wine tastings, and workshops, making the atmosphere lively9.

Love water sports? Check out Dingle Harbour for activities like paddleboarding and sea safaris9. Afterward, explore the charming town. Don’t forget to taste Murphy’s Ice-Cream with flavours like Irish Brown Bread and Dingle Sea Salt.

If you like whiskey, visit Dingle Whiskey Distillery, the first in Ireland for 200 years, and enjoy their prize-winning drinks9. History buffs will enjoy the Gallarus Oratory, a historic site from the 11th or 12th centuries8.

Experience local culture through traditional music in Dingle’s cosy pubs9. Dingle is perfect for adventure, food, history, and more. It’s a must on your Kerry visit list.

Dingle

Visit Derrynane House and Historical Park

In Caherdaniel near Derrynane beach stands Derrynane House, the family home of Daniel O’Connell, also known as The Liberator. He was the first Catholic elected to the House of Commons in 1830. This came after the government allowed more rights for Catholics in 182910. The Office of Public Works in Ireland owns this site. It is filled with beautiful rooms showing off many honours and medals10.

The Legacy of Daniel O’Connell

From 1775 to 1847, Daniel O’Connell had a very busy life. He and his wife had 11 children. Seven of them survived infancy10. You can see a video about O’Connell’s life when you visit. There’s also a large, ornate chariot inside. It’s nearly as tall as an NBA player. This is there to show how important O’Connell was10.

Derrynane House and historical park

Walking Routes in the Park

Around Derrynane House, there’s a park with beautiful gardens. These are open for all to enjoy. They make the perfect place for a peaceful walk10. As you stroll through, you can take in gorgeous views. These are ideal for enjoying a day out in Kerry.

The gardens are amazing but need some planning to visit. There are gravel paths and a bit of a walk from the car park. Plus, there are stairs at the house10. However, it’s all worth it. Particularly, if you love history and nature.

Experience The Blasket Islands

Off Kerry’s coast, you’ll find the Blasket Islands. They’re rich in history and stunning landscapes. These islands lie to the west of the Dingle Peninsula. There are six main islands perfect for both culture and outdoor adventures11. Until 1953, a lively Irish-speaking community inhabited them, filled with traditional storytelling11.

The Blasket Islands

Historical Significance

The Blaskets are key in Ireland’s history. Great Blasket Island was home to people until the mid-20th century. They lived without much of the technology we rely on today, mainly fishing and farming12. You can see the Blasket Island Village with OPW tours. They show you traditional homes and objects, giving you a glimpse into the island’s past12. These tours let you walk in the footsteps of the island’s strong inhabitants, bringing history to life.

Walking Tours

A walk on The Blasket Islands is a cultural and nature-filled journey. The Great Blasket Island Looped Walk takes around 3.5 to 4 hours. It offers amazing views of the sea and chances to spot birds11. The Eco Ferry from Ventry makes getting to the trails easy. These paths are great for all hikers1112. While there, you can also join marine tours to see porpoises and dolphins11.

There’s more than just walking to do on the Blaskets. You can explore old ruins, take photos, and soak in the stunning views12. Remember, the weather might change quickly, so wear waterproofs and good shoes12. You can stay in self-catering cottages, ideal for enjoying the islands’ peace during the summer11.

IslandMain AttractionsAccessAccommodation
Great Blasket IslandHistorical Village, Looped Walk, BirdwatchingFerry from Dunquin Pier1112Self-catering cottages11
InishvickillaneMarine Tours, Scenic ViewsPrivate Boat ToursN/A
InishtooskertSeabird Watching, AnglingEco Ferry from Ventry11N/A

Outdoor Activities and Festivals Kerry

Kerry’s diverse landscape and vibrant cultural events drive our love for outdoor activities and festivals. Killarney National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers endless adventure1. You can hike the Gap of Dunloe, spot native Irish red deer, and enjoy nature. Its Biosphere Reserve status makes it top for nature lovers.

The Ring of Kerry, with 179km of scenic beauty, is a must-see, including Torc Waterfall and Muckross House1. The full route or select spots, it’s an unforgettable journey through iconic landscapes. The drive is loved by motorists and cyclists for its beauty.

Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 11km offshore and recently a Star Wars location1. You can only reach it by boat, but it’s worth it for a view into early monastic life. It’s a key stop in Kerry with both history and beauty.

There are walking paths like the Kerry Way, a scenic 11-day route1. Enjoy the panoramic views from Bray Head or drive the Slea Head Drive for beautiful beaches and cliffs1. Kerry is ideal for hiking and walks. For culture, Blennerville Windmill and Ballybunion Beaches offer historical and scenic spots.

The mix of stunning scenery and rich heritage invite outdoor lovers and festival-goers to Kerry. Whether you’re seeking adventure or a calm walk, Kerry will leave lasting memories.

FAQ

What are some of the best outdoor activities and festivals in Kerry?

Kerry is packed with outdoor fun and exciting events. You can take a gentle walk, tackle steep mountains, or kayak on Killarney’s Lakes. Plus, Dingle is home to lively cultural festivals. Don’t miss the music and food celebrations, showing off local culture.

What hiking trails are available in Killarney National Park?

Killarney National Park has many trails for all hikers. The Gap of Dunloe stands out, with views of lush woods and high mountains. It’s a must-see for anyone who loves nature walks.

Where can I go wildlife watching in Killarney National Park?

In Killarney, you can see the rare Irish red deer. They are unique to mainland Ireland. The best time to spot them is early morning or late evening.

What are the key stops along The Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive?

The Ring of Kerry’s must-see spots include Torc Waterfall and Muckross House. You’ll also find stunning viewpoints along the way. Each stop showcases Kerry’s beautiful nature.

What are the best viewing points in The Ring of Kerry?

For the finest views, go to Ladies View, Moll’s Gap, and Coomakista Pass. These spots offer breath-taking scenes. They’re great for taking photos and enjoying nature.

Where can I find rental and tour options for kayaking the Lakes of Killarney?

For kayaks and tours around Killarney, check Outdoors Ireland and Mór Active. They offer trips to discover hidden islands and rich nature. It’s a chance to explore the area’s history.

What are the best times to go kayaking on the Lakes of Killarney?

The ideal times for kayaking are early and late in the day. This is when the weather is mild and the water is peaceful. It’s perfect for a serene adventure.

How can I get to Skellig Michael?

To reach Skellig Michael, take a boat from Portmagee, Caherdaniel, or Ballinskelligs Pier. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ancient history and stunning views. Boats are available for visiting.

What makes Dingle a must-visit destination?

Dingle is famous for its cosy pubs, colourful shops, and water activities. Try kayaking with Irish Adventures then treat yourself to Murphy’s Ice-Cream. It’s a fun and tasty adventure.

What can I expect when visiting Derrynane House and Historical Park?

Derrynane House tells the story of Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator. Its park has beautiful walks and educational spots. It blends history with the beauty of nature.

What is the historical significance of The Blasket Islands?

The Blasket Islands were a vibrant Irish-speaking community famous for storytelling. Tours offer a glimpse into their lives and the islands’ wild beauty. It’s a journey through Irish history.

Are there guided walking tours available on The Blasket Islands?

Yes, you can join guided walking tours of The Blasket Islands. They are full of culture and history. These tours are special, combining hiking with rich insights.

What types of outdoor activities and festivals can I enjoy in Kerry?

In Kerry, there’s a wide range of outdoor fun and festivity. From thrilling adventures in national parks to cultural gatherings, you’ll find something for everyone. Kerry welcomes you with open arms, offering adventure and tradition.

Source Links

  1. https://www.discoverireland.ie/kerry/things-to-do-kerry
  2. https://killarney.ie/things-to-do/
  3. https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/outdoor-activities-in-killarney/
  4. https://www.discoverireland.ie/ring-of-kerry/ring-of-kerry-road-trip
  5. https://www.discoverkerry.com/explore/regions/killarney/
  6. https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/the-skellig-islands/
  7. https://kerryairport.ie/website/destination-kerry/skellig-coast/
  8. https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/dingle-peninsula-ireland/
  9. https://www.discoverireland.ie/dingle/things-to-do-in-dingle
  10. https://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/traveling/derrynane-house-co-kerry-ireland.html
  11. https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/blasket-islands/
  12. https://www.kingdomofkerry.com/blasket-islands/

Healing Spirit festival takes place at Drummany Spirit, Milltown, Cavan, Ireland on the 4rd to 5th August 2024. Our festival is run by our small community group, Drummany Spirit, is family and child friendly and is alcohol and drug free. This boutique festival features a large lineup of live music, plus a large array of holistic events and practices including sweat lodges, yoga classes, movement meditation (ecstatic dance), pranayama/breathwork, meditation; plus alternative healing and therapies, crafts, art, drumming circles and talks by leading authorities on personal and spiritual growth, sustainability, conscious living, and healing.

We are set on beautiful sacred land overlooking Lough Oughter in Cavan. Drummany Spirit is a community group which hosts the festival each year. 2024 is our third year running the festival and it's been a major success so far with new friends from across Ireland and abroad attending. You can see the festival lineup here, see photos from previous years here and you can get tickets here (note: the festival has very limited capacity and is almost sold out) .