With Christmas just around the corner and the New Year looming, what better time to start planning your travel itinery for the year ahead – and we sincerely hope that you put our home of the kingdom of Kerry at the very top of that list – here’s ten reasons why you should !!
No. 1 Spectacular Irish Scenery
With a whole host of coastal scenic drives, miles of unspoilt beaches and of course the highest mountain range in Ireland, Kerry is the cream of the crop when it comes to discovering some of Ireland’s most breath-taking scenery.
Head west for a drive around Slea- Head and experience the wild and rugged beauty of the Dingle Peninsula or take the famous journey around the Ring of Kerry, renowned for its picturesque landscape as well as its slue of charming towns and villages or if you are really in the mood for adventure why not sail out to the Island of Skellig Michael, a designated UNESCO site, famous for its ancient monastic settlement and its rare inhabitants of species including puffins, razorbills and a population of grey seals – oh and did we mention it also features in Star Wars?!
And that’s just starters for ten!
No. 2 Let Kerry Entertain You
The kingdom of Kerry has always been a hotbed for Irish culture. With storytelling, music and dance steeped deep within its very foundations, it is perhaps the best county in Ireland to visit if you want to experience traditional Irish entertainment in its rawest form.
Ok, we may just be a little bit biased but as well as being the home of our Show, Celtic Steps, where you can experience the very best of Irish music and dance on a nightly basis, you will also find plenty of live music in most of the pubs and clubs around Killarney, Tralee and Listowel.
Just wander in, pull up a chair and join the session, hup!
No. 3 Bia Agus Deoch
Good old fashioned Irish food and drink is also on the menu if you choose to visit our county of green and gold in 2020 with an ever increasing growth in local food artisans and craft brewers each year.
If you are visiting in September, then you are in for a real treat with the Dingle Food Festival, or if you happen to be in the kingdom in May, then the Tralee Food Festival is also worth a trip. Both of these food events offer a rare opportunity to taste and sample some of the county’s finest culinary offerings in a simple and relaxed street food environment.
No. 4 Visit The Home Of Sporting Legends
There is nothing quite like Munster Final Day in the beginning of July, when more often than not, the Kerry team and their Munster rivals, Cork end up in an all-out battle in Fitzgerald Stadium, the home of Kerry GAA and Gaelic football.
We couldn’t think of a more perfect opportunity to don a green and gold jersey, sip a pint of the black stuff and soak up the electric atmosphere of pre-match fever on the streets of Killarney.
Historically known as the kings of the sport, the Kerry team are sure to have you at the edge of your seat for the afternoon – we promise you’ll be hooked.
No. 5 Horse-Racing Haven
If you are fond of a flutter, then make sure you visit Kerry in 2020 to avail of some of the finest Horse Racing Festivals Ireland has to offer.
With three different Race Festivals in our home of the Killarney Racecourse alone, starting from May and ending in August, and one in nearby Listowel in September, you are guaranteed a plethora of fun-filled and fashionable days ahead with plenty of fine fillies.
Don’t forget to dress to impress with fantastic prizes on offer for best dressed male and female each year. And they’re off !!
No. 6 History Go Leor
If you’re a bit of a history buff, then you will love turning back the pages of the past in the kingdom of Kerry.
Ross Castle, a stronghold dating back to the 15th century is a must see when visiting Killarney and we here at Celtic Steps are lucky to call it part of our home. Located just a short 5-minute stroll from our Killarney theatre in the Killarney Racecourse, you can find the grounds of the Irish Castle easy enough. Home to the O’Donoghue Clan, is it famous for being the last stronghold to surrender to Cromwell’s army in the Irish Confederate War.
And if you fancy going a bit further back in time you will find plenty more Irish relics and monuments just waiting to be discovered. We recommend the haunting remains of the 6th century monastic settlement on Innisfallen Island as well as the mystical stone masonry of Gallarus Oratory, a Christian Church dating back to the 7th century which lies on the edge of the Dingle peninsula, amongst many ancient others.
No. 7 World Renowned Festivals
For the past 60 years, our other home of Tralee, the capital of Co. Kerry, has played host to one of the biggest International events amongst Irish communities worldwide – The Rose of Tralee.
The week-long festival takes place in August and takes inspiration from the 19th century ballad of the same name about a girl called Mary, who because of her beauty, was crowned the Rose of Tralee.
Fast forward to present day, which sees over 65 young women with Irish heritage from countries all over the world take part in the competition for the title of the Rose of Tralee.
The televised competition takes place over two nights in the specially erected Rose Dome just outside the town and is celebrated with a week-long calendar of activities.
Highlights include the Rose Parade, the Rose Ball, fashion shows, family fun-fairs, street gigs with Ireland’s best musicians and much more.
No. 8 Ireland’s Very First Dark Sky Reserve
Ever dreamed of going on holiday and looking up at the stars or more specifically the Milky Way, Andromeda’s Galaxy and even Star Clusters? Well then folks, pack the picnic blanket and head off to the South West of Kerry which is home to Ireland’s very first Dark Sky Reserve.
Having been compared to the plains of Africa and the Grand Canyon in terms of its clear sky, the Dark Sky Reserve of South West Kerry has been widley acknowledged as being stunning by day but simply sensational by night.
Reserve areas include locations such as Kells, Caherciveen, Valentia Island, Portmagee, The Glen, Ballinskelligs, Waterville, Dromid and Caherdaniel and each town or village offers a charming location to witness this spectacular once in a universe opportunity.
No. 9 The Hike Life
If traversing across some of the most magnificent mountains in Ireland is on your to do list, then get those walking boots on route to Kerry where you can experience the best of the best.
Home to Ireland’s highest mountain, Carauntoohil standing at 3,047ft, this 6 hour mountain climb along the aptly called Devil’s Ladder is not for the faint hearted but well worthwhile for its awe- inspiring views of the MacGillicuddy Reeks and the breath-taking Lakes of Killarney.
Another hike worth mentioning is Mont Brandon, Ireland 9th highest mountain and with a range of shorter trails also available such as Torc Mountain, you can make your hike as hardy as you like. Don’t forget to thank us at the top.
No. 10 – Speak Gaelic Like The Locals
There are few locations left in the country of Ireland that protect our traditional mother tongue and we are lucky enough to have two of these special locations, so called Gaeltachts, right here on our very doorstep of Kerry.
Visit Corca Dhuibhne situated on the Daingean Uí Chúis Peninsula and Uibh Rathach located in the Iveragh Peninsula (both together make up 8.8% of the entire Gaeltacht area in Ireland) to hear the musical tones of the old Irish language and pick up a few genuine Irish memories and sayings along the way. Now what could be more authentic to bring back home from your time in Ireland than a cupla focal as gaelige (a couple of Irish words).
We hope you enjoy our tips and don’t forget to come and visit us while you are here, go n’éirí on bóthar leat!