Kenmare Bay - The 50 km long, narrow sea inlet and its wooded island is surrounded by woodlands and mountainous uplands of the unspoiled Beara peninsula to the south and the Iveragh peninsula, more famously known as The Ring of Kerry to the north. The bay area has a rich micro-climate creating lush growth and a variety of natural habitats. The bay is famed for its seal colonies and now sea eagles, the largest raptor in Europe, have nesting sites on the bay.
Kenmare/Neidín town, situated at the innermost corner of the bay is a sheltered haven which has retained much of its rich heritage and has developed an authentic cuisine of fine dining and seafood. It offers live music, eclectic well-presented shops and galleries as well as providing accommodation across the range, which make it an ideal stopover on the rugged Wild Atlantic Way route.
The square is flanked by 19th century town houses and a central green which was laid out in Victorian times. From the square one can see the
great natural vistas on all sides. To the north lie Killarney’s lakes and National Park. The Kerry Way walking route from here takes in The Old Kenmare Road a spectacular mountain pathway which was an ancient road to Killarney. To the south of the town lie Kenmare pier, giving access to the bay. There is a beautiful wildlife park Reenagross/ Rinn na gCros, on a marshy headland jutting into the bay, a 3km loop walk through mature trees and along the shoreline it is an ideal place for birdwatching.
Sea cruises are available from Kenmare Pier 5 minutes walk south the town, or Dawros Pier, 4km out the southern side of the bay. The road going south from Kenmare, the N71, crosses The Sound Bridge, a double arched Art Deco design, which is an ideal place to capture sunsets over Kenmare Bay. Kenmare is surrounded on all sides by a pristine landscape which makes it a paradise for outdoor activity. There are several deep valleys and mountain passes The Sheen Valley, Gleninchaquin, The Black Valley, Crinnagh Glen, Moll’s Gap etc. The mountainous uplands
on either side include The Cahas on Beara and Ireland’s highest mountains, The Macgillicuddy Reeks/Na Cruacha Dubha on the Iveragh peninsula.
A wealth of preserved antiquities can be encountered all around. Within the town and five minutes from the square is a stone circle believed to be the largest in the South West. There are many more sites dating from at least The Bronze Age all around the bay area. The most iconic heritage sites being The Skelligs islands and Staigue Fort on the Iveragh. Many of the hidden gems of the landscape mentioned above are on Kenmare’s doorstep and all within a day’s drive of Kenmare.
Further information on the area visit the Tourist Office, in the Courthouse building in The Square, visit Kenmare.ie website or obtain The Kenmare Tourist-Sneem Guide (an easy reference graphic map) published by Kenmare Bookshop.
©A. Barrett, Kenmare Bay Project
Kenmare Map & Tourist Information
GOLFING - Kenmare offers a choice of two 18 hole golf courses. Kenmare Golf Club is in the centre of the town and The Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club lies just 4km away. A pitch and putt facility at Faungorth’s Activity Centre is within easy reach of the town. There is also a 12 hole course at Parknasilla, just before Sneem on the Ring of Kerry road.
FISHING - River, sea and lake fishing is available in the Kenmare area. Contact John O’Hare, Main Street, Kenmare.
T. 064 6641499 for more information on the best places to cast a line, when the seasons start and end and for those all important licences.
WATERSPORTS - Star Outdoors Kenmare - Visitors can enjoy a variety of water and land activities. Visit www.staroutdoors.ie for more information (See advertising panels).
HORSE RIDINING - Dromquinna Stables. Enjoy treks to mountains, beach and woodland. Log onto www.dromquinna-stables.com for more information (See advertising panels).
SEAL WATCHING - Kenmare is the only place in Ireland to offer dedicated seal watching cruises. Seafari Eco-cruises run from Kenmare Pier or take the Star of Kenmare from Star Outdoors www.staroutdoors.ie
KENMARE LACE BIENNIAL FESTIVAL will be next held on March 19th to 22nd 2015 - We will be celebrating the wonderful heritage of lacemaking established by the Poor Clare nuns in post famine Kenmare in the 1860’s. Our festival programme will include workshops in : Kenmare Needlepoint lace, Irish Crochet Lace, Carrickmacross Lace, Limerick Lace and Bobbin Lace. These workshops will be taught by some of our best Irish lace teachers with international reputations. You can also enjoy workshops in hat making and up-styling, exhibitions, lectures and more. Further information www.kenmarelacefestival.ie or www.kenmarelace.ie
Take a tour of our beautiful area
BEARA PENINSULA is shared by Cork and Kerry and this fine coastline has some of the most outstanding beauty spots of the south west. From Killarney, take the Kenmare road via Moll's Gap, to Kenmare, continue on to Tuosist, Lauragh, Ardgroom, Eyeries, Allihies and return along the southern shore of the Peninsula via Castletownbere, Adrigole, Glengarriff and back to Killarney via Kenmare.
THE KERRY WAY is a long distance walking route and part of the route extends from Killarney to Glenbeigh through the Forestry, National Park and the Black Valley. A detailed leaflet on the route is available from the Tourist Office.
RING OF KERRY - To obtain a really panoramic view of Kerry's most outstanding scenery, this tour is a must! Extending for 170 km (120 miles) and usually done in an anti-clockwise direction, it follows the
coastline of the Iveragh peninsula, along the banks of the River Laune to Killorglin, via Glenbeigh, along the southern shores of Dingle Bay to Kells and Cahirciveen where Valentia Island comes into view. The tour continues to Waterville and along the coast via Coomakista Pass and Derrynane and on to Sneem. From Sneem to Kenmare and up the mountain road to Moll's Gap, then via Ladies' View and back to Killarney (See Ring of Kerry guide).
MUCKROSS & DINIS TOUR - Take the Killarney to Kenmare road (N71) for 4km (2.5 miles) to the main entrance to the National Park. This particular tour is best done by jaunting car, bicycle or on foot. The trip will take you right through the Muckross Demesne to Dinis. Highlights to be seen are Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Gardens, Colleen Bawn Rock, Brickeen Bridge, Dinis Cottage and Torc Waterfall. This area has some of the finest and most beautiful scenery and affords magnificent views of the Lake District.