Kenmare, Ireland
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Kenmare Introduction

Nestled between the Iveragh and Beara Peninsulas, in the southern part of the Wild Atlantic Way, the town of Kenmare has all the makings of an unforgettable holiday destination. It's a great base for touring Kenmare Bay and exploring the spectacular scenery along the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara. Kenmare is a fascinating blend of the old and the new, with relics harkening back to a prehistoric past sitting close to restaurants and hip boutiques. There's always something going on in Kenmare, so any time is a good time to go.

Hotels in Kenmare

There's a diverse selection of hotels in Kenmare, from 5-star properties to budget-friendly B&Bs. Suites and guestrooms at luxury hotels in Kenmore are fitted with premium bedding and blackout drapes, cable TV and in-room climate control. Some hotels go the extra mile with designer toiletries and in-room massages. An extra luxurious touch is added with perks like elegant restaurants serving haute cuisine, indoor pools, full-service spas, cheerful gardens and rooftop terraces. Reasonably priced lodgings are also plentiful, with guesthouses and B&Bs offering spacious guestrooms with en suite bathrooms, and complimentary amenities such as Wi-Fi, parking and full Irish breakfast. Some have charming gardens and terraces that are perfect for unwinding.

Where to stay in Kenmare

A good number of Kenmare hotels sit right in the bustling town centre, where the narrow streets are lined with plenty of great dining options – several of which are Michelin-starred restaurants – along with gift shops, bookstores and traditional Irish pubs. The scenic Killowen district east of the town centre is another good place to stay, with hotels located near the banks of the Roughty River. You might also want to try the Sheen Falls area at the edge of Kenmare Bay, a place replete with woodlands and waterfalls, and fishing spots aplenty in the River Sheen.

Things to see in Kenmare

You don't need to drive deep into the countryside to see marks of the area's ancient past. The Kenmare Stone Circle, which dates back to the Bronze Age, is a mere 5-minute walk from the town centre. The circle is actually egg shaped and one of the biggest of its kind in southwest Ireland. Colloquially known as 'The Shrubberies,' this monument consists of 15 boulders surrounding a megalithic tomb (dolmen) topped by a 7-tonne capstone. To learn more about the history of Kenmare and County Kerry, visit the Kenmare Heritage Centre. The exhibits here highlight life-changing events like the Great Famine, as well as cultural treasures like Kenmare Lace. And if golfing is part of your holiday itinerary, a visit to the Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club is in order. The 18-hole heathland course winds through rolling fairways, meandering brooks and expansive greens, with magnificent views of Kenmare Bay and the Beara Mountains all around.

How to get to Kenmare

In terms of air transportation, Kerry Airport at Farranfore is the closest to Kenmare at 50 minutes by car, while Cork Airport is an 80-minute drive away. For those travelling by boat, there are several ferry companies that offer services in Ireland's south and southeast regions. Folks driving themselves to Kenmare from either Kerry or Cork can take the N22 road and turn off at the R569. If you're planning on using public transportation, going by bus is your only option, since Kenmare's railway station closed down in 1960. Bus Éireann runs services from Kerry and Cork airports to Killarney, and from there you can take a bus directly to Kenmare.

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