Feed your appetite for the great outdoors - and Ireland’s finest flavours - at this beguiling country bolthole, nestled in a picture-perfect hidden wooded plot, off the famed Ring of Kerry. With a rousing canvas of mountain and sea, and just minutes from the vibrant gourmet haven of Kenmare, Little Red Bridge Retreat near Kenmare is ideal for those seeking nature therapy, stunning views, and some local buzz on the side.
Regal castles, grand old piles, and the Wild Atlantic Way. Heavenly hikes dotted with waterfalls and lakes in spectacular national parks. Enchanting pubs that play host to a roaring culinary scene and "craicing" live music. Is it any wonder so many have chosen this idyllic pocket of south west Ireland as their favourite country retreat?
With expansive views over Kenmare Bay and the Caha mountain range on Beara Peninsula, Little Red Bridge is a bucolic remedy to the rat race. Add in a bubbling stream, emerald lawns, flower beds, fruit orchards, and the jaunty red bridge that lends this delightful holiday property its name and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a storybook.
This artfully renovated contemporary luxury home sets a stylish stage for majestic views fanning in all directions. In the fluid living space, heritage colours echo the landscape, while huge picture windows usher nature inside. Relish cosy hours snuggled around the striking wood burner. Indulge in guilt-free Netflix binges on the Smart TV; or curl up with a novel in an inviting nook. The owners have thoughtfully provided binoculars perfect for spotting seals and cormorants on nearby Coss Strand.
Active guests will appreciate being able to rinse off wetsuits or shower sandy children in the fully tiled ground floor shower room. Unwind over a bottle of wine at the generous kitchen island while you whip up hearty evening meals on sleek Smeg appliances. In the dining area, a smart 8-seater table encourages convivial gatherings.
Soak away the day’s adventures in a winsome rolltop claw foot cast iron tub (go native and add some foraged seaweed to the water: mineral-rich seaweed spas are a big hit all along the Irish coast). Afterwards, allow the calming chatter of the brook to lull you to sleep.
Amble over the bridge with your morning brew to greet the day. Secluded benches are scattered strategically across the lush gardens and adjoining meadow to capture the sun on its trek across the Kerry sky. Into daily meditation? Perch beside the stream, where the water tumbling gently over the rocks into a small pool, will inspire mindful reflections. Bond over lively games of petanque, flanked by bright flower beds. Bask in the warmth of the fire pit on chilly afternoons. Or simply set up camp on the enormous Australian-style scenic deck and crank up the charcoal kettle or instant gas BBQ. It’s the perfect base for savouring languid sunny days and starry nights watching the moon rise over the water.
ABOUT YOUR HOSTS
Irish-Australian Dennis Farrelly and his British-Greek partner Angela Kipling collided in an Irish pub in Australia over 10 years ago. Together, they run a successful Athens-based events management company. When Dennis felt the siren call of his Irish roots, they returned to discover the cosmopolitan hamlet of Kenmare and its gorgeous surroundings. “The whole area was brimming with great foodie finds, stonking scenery and walks, and we felt right at home with the open-hearted community of internationals and locals,” says former civil-engineer Dennis.
“We wanted to create a home with a cosy, welcoming vibe where you can unwind as soon as you step inside” adds Angela. “I so enjoy reconnecting with nature and my loved ones when we stay here. It’s a thrill catching sight of the deer in the woods and dolphins in the bay. As the song says, “it fills up my senses.”
Make sure to pack your walking boots. Ramblers’ paradise beckons all around, accessible for every fitness level. Explore the heady mountain paths and lofty lakes of breathtaking Gleninchaquin Park, with its showstopping 140 metre waterfall. Unmissable, too, is the Unesco-listed Killarney National Park, base of the iconic Ring of Kerry and home to Ireland’s only wild herd of native red deer. Hit the well sign-posted trails threaded all over this cinematic terrain of mountains, lakes and heathery moors; and tick off medieval landmark Ross Castle and splendid Muckross estate, on the glassy shores of Muckross Lake. To best sample Killarney’s rugged charms, trek the epic 12km route through the highly-snappable Gap of Dunloe, pinioned dramatically on both sides by mountains. If you prefer walking around 18 holes the area has three excellent golf courses. Trotting on four legs is amply catered for too with a plethora of equestrian facilities nearby.
TAKE TO THE WATERS
Whoever said, “It’s too cold to swim in Ireland”, clearly never visited the extraordinarily beautiful beaches and coves right on our doorstep, boasting swim-friendly waters warmed by the Gulf Stream. Take the plunge at invigorating Coss Strand or dive off the pier at neighbouring Templenoe. Rowing, sailing and kayaking are also popular. Our favourite swimming spot has to be Derrynane beach, just over half an hour away, but so worth the drive! This divine beach is consistently rated as being in the top three in Ireland.
Delicious food will shape your days. Insanely good French breakfast pastries are served at award-winning Maison Gourmet. Dine right on the water, at New England-style restaurants like the Boathouse Bistro where seafood is a specialty; or tuck into fresh shellfish from the bay at a seaside pub (look out for the mussel farmers bringing in their fresh haul daily). Committed foodies can shop for edible souvenirs at the colourful weekly farmers’ market and sign up for walking food tours.
We could wax all lyrical about the awe and boundlessness that engulfs you when you gaze up at the heavens from the nearby Kerry Dark Sky Reserve. Framed by craggy mountains and the crashing sea, this extraordinary slice of the Wild Atlantic Way is the only Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve in the Northern Hemisphere (and one of just three on the whole planet).
On a clear moonless night, thanks to the unusually low levels of light pollution, you can marvel at the sky from the deck at Little Red Bridge too. You might spot the Milky Way, nebulas, satellites, the Space Station and - if you’re really lucky – a falling star.
• Sleeps Up to 4 guests
• Two double bedroom with Super King-size beds, both en-suite one bathroom with shower, the other with bath and over bath shower
• Flexibility of the bedrooms zip and lock kings creates four singles
• One shower room with walk-in shower downstairs off the utility
• Babes-in-arms welcome. Travel cot and highchair available
• Private parking for two cars.
• SMEG Double electric oven, six burner gas hob, washing machine, drying machine, kettle and toaster
• Double electric oven, six burner gas hob, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, drying machine
• WiFi internet
LUXURY WELCOME HAMPER WITH LOCAL PRODUCE
• Fresh Irish Soda bread
• Fresh milk
• local eggs
• Irish butter
• A selection of breakfast and herbal teas
• Ground coffee
• Instant coffee
• Olive oil
• Irish Rape Seed Oil
• Condiments, dried herbs and spices
• Recipe books
Please note items subject to change according to season.
• Information book covering the property, utilities and the area
• Hand soaps
• Luxury bed linen and towels
• Waffle style dressing gowns
• Board games
• Travel cot
• Nespresso coffee machine and capsules
• Kerry Way walking guides
• Beach towels and a Beach Bag
• Vintage Picnic Basket
• Kindling and logs to get a fire started
• Gas BBQ
• Charcoal kettle BBQ
• Honesty bar
• Storage for bicycles and Surf Boards
• Outside taps for hosing bikes, kids
• Handy workstation for laptops
• Outdoor fleece blankets
• Outside Candle