Guide to Kenmare

About Kenmare

Kenmare is known as the jewel in the Ring of Kerry and no wonder with its location between 2 of the most beautiful touring routes in Europe, the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara.

Located on the sea and nestled among the mountains of Cork and Kerry, it is also proud of its Irish name “Neidin” meaning little nest.

The town of Kenmare, noted for having the cleanest air in Europe and some of the finest holiday homes kerry has to offer, is also a Mecca for some of the finest restaurants in Europe

Its location on the edge of the sea provides the town with seafood that is quite simply the best and the range of restaurants from simple bar food to fine dining is second to none.

Kenmare is an ideal base for touring the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara and it is approximately 30 minutes from a host of fabulous Sandy Beaches.

It also has a very pretty harbour from where you can swim, fish or take boat trips on the Seafari to view the wildlife in the area. There are lots of great Fishing spots to choose from in the area such as the lakes in the Caha Mountains and the Black Valley.

Activities & Things to do in Kenmare

Pony Trekking in Kenmare: is an ideal way to explore the hidden treasures of Kenmare and its hinterland. In addition professional lessons are available for beginners.
Golf in Kenmare: You can enjoy the woodland and undulating landscape of Kenmare’s 18 hole golf course or the new Ring of Kerry Golf and Country Club - 18 hole course in Templenoe is just 3 miles away. In addition the championship courses of Killarney and Waterville are within easy driving distance.
Other activities in Kenmare area include Water-skiing, Kayaking, tubing, sailing, quad riding, Scuba Diving, Canoeing, Bicycle Hire and Pitch and Putt.

There is Finnegan's Bike Hire in the centre of Kenmare town.

Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle

This scenic charity Cycle which takes place every July starts in killarney and is the biggest one day charity fundraising event in Munster. The leisure cycle takes in towns and villages the whole length of The Ring of Kerry from Killorglin to Glenbeigh onto Caherciveen Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare before completing the ring in Killarney. Each year the Ring of Kerry Charity Cylce selct a number of official main beneficary charities. Some of the charities that have benefited from the cycle include Down Syndrome Kerry, Talbot Grove Addiction Treatment Centre in castleisland, Recovery Haven Kerry, Kerry parents and Kids and Temple Street Childrens Hospital to name a few. 

To date the Ring of Kerry Cycle has raised over €10.2 million for Kerry Charities.

The Ring of Beara Cycle

Running the last weekend in May every year. Cyclist competing in this scenic cycle will have a choice of an exciting 140km or 110km cycle, by the rugged Wild Atlantic Way coastal route on the Beara Peninsula.Participants will pass some of Ireland’s most picturesque and quaint towns including Ardgroom, Eyeries, Allihies, Castletownbere, Adrigole, Glengarriff and back to Kenmare town. Cyclists can revel in the unspoilt beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Places to Eat & Restaurants in Kenmare

There are many fine dining experiences and family restaurants in Kenmare.  Check out some of these popular Kenmare restaurants:

  • The Lime Tree Restaurant  - a great mix of modern and traditional food in a relaxed environment all prepared by chef proprietor Mike Casey.  Comfortable and cosy in a beautiful building dating back to 1832.  Enjoy freshly made soup poured straight from the soup kettle into your dish at the table.  A lovely treat for a night out in Kenmare
  • Anois Kenmare- always busy so book well in advance.  Delicious fusion dishes.
  • The Horseshoe Bar & Restaurant - great daily specials - always something meaty and something fishy!  Well known for their ribs, wings and steaks and homemade brown bread and deliecious house salad.  All in a warm atmospheric pub.  Ask for a table close to the fire on a cold evening..
  • PF McCarthy's Bar & Restaurant - the home of great music and the traditional "Failte" in Kenmare.  There is music on every weekend and during holiday periods they often have early evening trad sessions and other local bands.  Great food also served to accompany the wonderful selection of craft beers and other unusual drinks.  
  • The Mews  - a relativley new comer to Kenmare's fine dining portfolio but it has takenthe town by storm quickly climbing to the top of the tripadvisor rankings. A warm welcome and a fabuloud foodie experience awaits. 
  • The Boathouse at Dromquinna Manor - The Boathouse Wine Bar and Bistro is located on the waterfront in a boathouse dating from the 1800s on the grounds of Dromquinna Manor. The Boathouse offers diners a cosy and nautical ambiance with fine wine and great food with sea views from the outdoor terrace.

The Local History of Kenmare

The charming picturesque town is a good example of one of Ireland's planned towns. It was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty. His descendent William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd Earl of Shelbourne and 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, commissioned the present design of the town which was completed in 1775.

Exploring the area around Kenmare is an absolute pleasure with so many wonderful things to do. There are an endless number of places of historical interest to visit including:

  • Kenmare Heritage Centre This centre provides an integral insight into the history of the town of Kenmare. The centre’s tours cover a wide range of historical themes from generations gone by.
  • Muckross House and Gardens and Traditional Farms Located in Killarney, this is a fantastic experience for everyone. The house and its gardens are kept magnificently, while the farm shows how farming used to be managed in more traditional times.
  • The Skellig Islands This is an experience of a lifetime. The two Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael and small Skellig stand in the Atlantic Ocean 12 km south west of Valentia. They are renowned for their scenery, seabird colonies and early Christian monastic architecture.
  • Dereen Gardens. Situated near Kenmare on the Beara Peninsula, the sheer beauty of the location of Dereen Gardens needs to be seen to be believed. The gardens are located on the sea and surrounded by wild majestic country. Mossy paths, lichen encrusted rocks, rhododendrons, towering eucalyptus and groves of bamboo all contribute to the making of a beautiful sub tropical garden.

For taxis in South Kerry visit South Kerry Taxi or call +353 (0)87 164 5981