Kenmare is a small town in the south of county Kerry. It is conveniently located on two Irish tourist routes, the gateway to the Ring of Beara and the Ring of Kerry. It is also located on the Wild Atlantic Way. Kenmare is a jewel in the ring of Kerry located approximately 43 km from the bustling town of Killarney. It is a very popular tourist destination and is known for its food and pubs. No matter what your interests are Kenmare offers something for everyone. It is a walkers paradise and caters for every level of walking. Whether you enjoy history, golf, horse riding, cycling, sports or are a water enthusiast Kenmare has it all.
The town was home to the composer Ernest John Moeran for many years before his death. There was a local bar named after him but this has since been renamed. Irish Hotelier and television personality Francis Brennan owns the five-star Park Hotel in Kenmare. His brother owns the nearby Dromquinna Hotel and both him and Francis are best known for their TV Series “At Your Service”.
Due to Kenmare’s location in the centre of a large agricultural area it has served as the local market town. A fair continues to be held every year on the 15th of August that attracts crowds of locals and visitors. It is the busiest day of the year in the town. People from all over Ireland depend on the town to sell Horses, cattle and sheep as well as crafts and local goods. Kenmare Mart have cattle sales every Thursday and holds sheep sales every Monday at 11am.
There are daily bus services from Kenmare to Killarney during Summer season. During the off season the service runs from Monday to Friday. Also during the Summer months there is a daily bus service to Cork via Bantry and Clonakilty. You can also drive the scenic and mountainous route to Killarney on the Ring of Kerry via Moll’s Gap and Ladies View. The nearest airport is Kerry Airport located 59 km away. Cork Airport is approximately 96km from Kenmare.
Things To Do In Kenmare
1 – Bonane Heritage Park
Bonane Heritage Park is located approximately 10km from Kenmare town. It boasts one of Ireland’s most significant archeological sites including one of the most significant stone circles in Ireland. It is also the perfect setting for amateur or professional photographers and walkers. The park has over 250 well preserved sites from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age and goes right up to pre- Famine times. Nestled where the Ring of Beara meets the Ring of Kerry this makes it the perfect start to explore and walk through 5,000 years of ancient history. It is a magical place for all the family and rich in Irish folklore, so watch out for the little fairy houses and doors on the Fairy Walk.
2 – Go Horse Riding At Dromquinna Stables
Dromquinna Stables is a family run equestrian centre established in 1949. It is a beautiful traditional Irish yard with beautiful surroundings of the Kenmare countryside located just 4.5km from Kenmare town. The stables cater for everyone from beginners to experienced riders. The rides take you along the shores of the scenic Kenmare Bay and through woodland or mountains with spectacular views along the way. On a clear day it is possible to have views of over 90km as far as Bull Rock. Qualified staff offer lessons in all weather arenas. Or the whole family can go for a farm ride to the sea, which is suitable for any nervous riders or small children.
Pony Club is available on Saturday mornings. Here you will learn how to groom, tack and look after your pony. During the Summer months Dromquinna Stabes are open from 9.30am-6pm and Winter months from November till March the stables are open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 9.30am-5pm. Dromquinna Stables are closed on Sundays. Bookings are available for large groups of up to 10 people with coach parking available.
3 – Eclipse Ireland
The Eclipse Centre Ireland is a diamond set in Kerry and located just 10km from Kenmare town. They offer a variety of exciting adventures and activities including archery, fly fishing on Eclipse Lake, horse riding lessons, kayaking, orienteering, team games, mud surfing and much more. Qualified instructors are at hand for lessons on any activity. Eclipse also provide self catering holiday rentals.
4 – Derreen Garden
Derreen Garden covers an area of 60 acres with over 12km of pathways that lead down to the sea. It is approximately 24km from Kenmare town. The pathways wind through a variety of woodland including sub tropical plants, tree ferns and massive evergreens with glimpses of the sea and distant mountains. The stunning woodland garden was laid out 150 years ago and is a haven for wildlife. Derreen garden is particularly noted for its rhododendrons and large ferns.
5 – Visit Kenmare Stone Circle
Kenmare stone circle is located just a five minute walk from the town centre. It is one of the largest stone circles in South West Ireland measuring 56ft x 49ft. It is locally known as ‘The Shrubberies’. Unlike any other ring in Munster this one is egg-shaped. It is composed of 15 heavy boulders and in the centre there is an impressive Boulder Dolmen with a giant capstone measuring 2m x 1.8m. These Dolmens often marked a burial place.
6 – Visit Molly Gallivans Traditional Irish Farm
Molly Gallivan’s 200 year old Traditional Irish Farm is located 14km from Kenmare town. At the farm you will experience the simple country lifestyle in rural Ireland before the days of electricity. The privately owned historic site was once owned and farmed by Molly Gallivan, a widow with seven children. She supported her family through subsistence farming and the sale of farm produce.
The family farm has adorable animals, fowl and traditional machinery . There is also ghostly ruins of an old family dwelling from the Great Famine era. Discover the neolithic stone row that forms part of a rare ancient sun calendar. Experience 5,000 years of history on a 500m walk or take a guided tour.
7 – Holy Cross Church
As you walk through the town of Kenmare you may notice the tall steeple from Holy Cross Church. The church features a beautiful interior with ornate chancel, decorative tiling, organ and wooden roof with carved angels. Holy Cross was consecrated in 1864 and built by Fr.John O’Sullivanwho is buried in front of our ladies alter. It is locally believed Fr.O’Sullivan topped the spire of the church with a cock to crow over the local landlord’s agent whose office was in the square because he had originally refused him a site for the church. They have produced a book to celebrate their 150th anniversary.
8 – Kenmare Heritage Centre
Kenmare Heritage Centre is located in the town’s old courthouse. It is home to an exhibition that tells the history of the town, from its origins through to its establishment as a market town, history and historical sites. Another theme covered in the Heritage centre is the effects the Great Famine had on the area. Kenmare was designated a Heritage Town by Fáilte Ireland and the Heritage centre was officially opened in June 1994 by the then Irish president Mrs Mary Robinson.
9 – Browse Through Kenmare’s Weekly Farmers Market
Every Wednesday Kenmare holds a Farmers Market in the town square from 10am-4pm. There is a selection of fresh local produce, crafts, home baked goods available to buy. The stalls are set up early to sell their tempting goods to the public. It is well worth a visit if you are lucky enough to be in Kenmare on a Wednesday.
10 – Go On A Seal Watching Cruise In Kenmare
One of the largest seal colonies in Ireland is explored on a cruise from Kenmare Bay. It is a very popular tour in Kenmare leaving the pier and taking you to the magical and tranquil waters of Kenmare Bay. As well as spotting seals you will also see many other animals and birds in the area. TripAdvisor has awarded the tour with a certificate of excellence.
11 – Kissane Sheep Farm
Kissane Sheep Farm is located at Moll’s Gap approximately 12km from Kenmare town. The Large Mountain Sheep Farm has been owned by the family for almost 200 years. Meet the sheep in their natural environment and watch the clever, skilled Corder Collie sheepdogs at work as they round up the sheep.If you visit in Springtime you will see the little lambs. A great experience for all the family.
12 – Explore Gleninchaquin Park
Gleninchaquin Park is approximately 21km from Kenmare town. The park provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Wander through streams with log bridges, mountain paths with carved steps, through rock passages along glens and lakes while you take in the amazing scenery. It is suitable for all the family as the walks around the cascades, waterfalls, woodland, streams and lakes are accessible for all ages. For the more experienced walker there are high level routes. Ample parking facilities are close to the waterfall and picnic areas. Feel free to bring your own packed lunch as there is plenty picnic tables throughout the area. Gleninchaquin park is dog friendly but must be kept on a leash as livestock graze around the entire park.
Places To Stay In Kenmare
1 – Park Hotel Kenmare
The five star Park Hotel in Kenmare was quoted by the New York Times as “One of the World’s most renowned hotels”. If you want the ultimate escape from the frenzy of modern day life in the beautiful town of Kenmare The Park Hotel is the answer. The award winning AA Two Rosette Dining Room offers a daily a la carte menu from 6.30pm-9.30pm. The historic hotel dates back to 1897 combing heritage and luxury. There are wonderful facilities available including a spa with many treatments, a 25m swimming pool, cinema boxing daily lifestyle classes. Enjoy spectactular views of Kenmare Bay and the Cork and Kerry mountains. There is an adjoining 18 hole golf course for golf lovers as well as garden walks. Just a few minutes stroll away will take you into Kenmare town.
2 – Kenmare Bay Hotel And Resort
Kenmare Bay Hotel And Resort is located just a 5 minute walk from the heart of the town. The ensuite rooms are spacious and are equipped with a hair dryer and a flatscreen TV. The Bay Restaurant serves European cuisine using the finest local produce. The courtyard Bar offers an all day menu while The Lobby Bar serves afternoon tea. The leisure centre in the Kenmare Bay Hotel And Resort offers a wide range of treatments and features a hot tub, steamroll and sauna. They also offer comfortable holiday homes and luxury lodges. The award winning hotel is an ideal retreat for anyone discovering the gems on the Ring of Kerry, Beara Peninsula and the Wild Atlantic Way.
3 – Sheen Falls Lodge
Sheen Falls Lodge is set amidst 300 acres of magnificent woodlands and waterfalls. The 5 star hotel has spacious and elegant rooms. All rooms are ensuite, with a TV and have striking views of Kenmare Bay and the Sheen waterfalls. It is located approximately 2.6 km from Kenmare town. The hotels Falls Restaurant has been awarded 2 AA rosettes. They serve tasty cuisine and panoramic views can be enjoyed as you dine. The luxurious health club offers a spa bath, a range of spa treatments, sauna, steam room, gym and an indoor heated swimming pool.
4 – The Rose Garden Bed And Breakfast And Cafe
The Rose Garden Bed and Breakfast and cafe in Kenmare offers accommodation with free WiFi and rooms with a flatscreen TV. Every morning there is a buffet with continental breakfast being served. Lunch is also available with a variety of home baked products to eat in or take away at the B&B’s vibrant cafe. Kenmare town is just a few minutes walk away. Plenty parking is available on site and lovely landscaped gardens to admire. Experience a great nights sleep and great food at The Rose Garden Bed and Breakfast.
5 – Coachmans Townhouse Hotel
Coachmans Townhouse Hotel is located in the heart of Kenmare town on Henry street on the Wild Atlantic Way. The rooms are spacious and bright with free WiFi and all modern amenities. In the hotel’s gastrobar you can enjoy locally crafted beers as well as fresh vegetables, seafood, meat, lunch, dinner specials and carefully crafted breakfast every morning. The Coachman Townhouse Hotel is a perfect location, tucked in the midst of bakeries, chocolateries, and old Irish bars, woollen stores, linen shops and art galleries.
6 – Brook Lane Hotel
Brook Lane Hotel is located just 900 metres from Kenmare town centre. This four star Boutique Hotel is recognised for its high quality accommodation and exceptional service. It is family owned and managed yet provides a personal and professional service to all its guests. The hotel’s 22 boutique rooms have bespoke furnishings with handcrafted pieces by local artists. There is a selection of rooms and suites available that guarantee to meet the needs of even the most discerning traveller. The hotels bar and restaurant offer a variety of mouth watering dishes to choose from. Enjoy nightly live music with stunning Irish dancing every Wednesday night.
7 – The Lodge
The Lodge is located just 1 minute drive from Kenmare town, just opposite the the town’s 18-hole golf course. The family run luxury property is set on 2 acres of land with free private parking. Each bedroom has well appointed bathrooms, an iron and tea/coffee making facilities. Each guest has access to a fridge with ice. Killarney town is a 35 minute drive away.
8 – Davitts Guesthouse
Davitts Guesthouse is located on Henry Street in Kenmare town. It is a modern, comfortable guesthouse in the centre of the town. Davitts bar and restaurant has an Art Deco theme with excellent food served all day. Lunch is served from 12pm and dinner starts at 5.30pm. During the Summer months traditional Irish music is played in the evening. It is very popular with the locals. Choose from double or twin ensuite bedrooms, all equipped with satellite TV, direct dial phone, safe, hairdryer, an iron and an ironing board. Breakfast is also included and a free shared car park.
9 – O’Donnabhain’s Bed And Breakfast
O’Donnabhain’s Bed and Breakfast is located on Henry Street in the centre of Kenmare town. They offer ensuite bedrooms with TV’s, telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and free WiFi. The spacious bedrooms are unaffected by noise as they are away from the bar and street area. fine food is on offer in the restaurant including fresh fish caught in Castletownbere and Kenmare mussels. Every morning you can enjoy a cooked breakfast and an outdoor dining area is available. In the Summer season traditional music is played in the bar. The distinctive bar front with its traditional stone and colour has featured on calendars and postcards around the world. It has even been seen on US Visa cards. Recently the bar was used for a television commercial that needed an authentic look for an Irish pub scene. Free parking is included during your stay.
10 – The Happy Pig Guesthouse
The Happy Pig Guesthouse is approximately 1km from Kenmare town centre and on the Wild Atlantic Way. All ensuite rooms are equipped with a TV, free WiFi, toiletries, hairdryer with tea/coffee making facilities available on request. à la carte and full Irish/English breakfast options are available every morning. The cosy bike friendly guesthouse is just a short stroll from the town centre so it is an ideal location.
11 – Bridge Street Townhouse
Bridge Street Townhouse is located in the square in the town of Kenmare. Every morning continental and buffet breakfast options are available. The guesthouse has a sun terrace. It is perfect accommodation if you are touring the local area as Moll’s Gap is just under 10km drive and Ladies View is 16km away. Gleninchaquin Park is just under 21km from Bridge Street Townhouse.
12 – Tom Crean Base Camp – Food, Drink, Bed
Tom Crean Base Camp is located in Kenmare town and offers guests accommodation with an award winning restaurant. Breakfast, fresh homemade pizza, vegan & vegetarian dishes and lunch are available in the restaurant. All rooms feature a flat screen TV, free toiletries and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a bus stop conveniently located outside the property. This is possibly the only restaurant in the world where an Irish Antarctic Explorer’s grand-daughter cooks your dinner while his great grandson serves it!
More posts on Kerry towns here
Check Out Our Recent Posts