Ring of Kerry:
Whether driving yourself, or taking one of the many coach tours, experiencing the unspoilt beauty of the Ring of Kerry is a must. Circling the majestic peaks of the MacGillycuddy Reeks, through valleys and along the shores of Dingle and Kenmare Bays, the looped route is an unforgettable tour that showcases Ireland's fantastic landscape at its best. Don't forget to stop on occasion to rest and look around, in the countryside or one of the idyllic villages, like Glenbeigh, Sneem or Waterville, that the Ring passes through. Other popular places of interest include Derrynanne House, Muckross House, and the stone fort at Staigue.
For the most rugged and stunning Atlantic coastline in Kerry, and perhaps Ireland, a tour of the Dingle Peninsula is ideal. Home to what many consider to be the most impressive scenery on the continent, a rare and unique range of plant and animal life, and the most westerly point of all Europe, Slea Head, the views as you look out over the Atlantic, taking in the scattered rocks and the Blasket Islands and the sunken, sixteenth century Spanish fleet can leave you breathless. The Peninsula is also home to delightful villages, and there are many ancient forts and prehistoric sites.
Named for the Archangel Michael, Skellig Michael, appears as an unforgiving rock rising seven hundred feet out of the sea. It is amazing to think that there was a settlement and a Christian monastery here from around the sixth century until well into the next millennium. The monastery still sits four hundred feet up in the rocks, reached only by six hundred individual steps cut directly into the cliff face. Amongst the monastery's remains can be found the monks' beehives, vegetable garden and cistern. In 1820, two lighthouses were also built on the island.
Killarney National Park:
Around eighteen miles south of Tralee is Killarney National Park, 25,425 acres of forest and lake lands that were established as Ireland's first national park back in 1932. Encompassing the stunning Lakes of Killarney, Dinis Cottage, Inisfallen Island, Knockreer Demesne, a visitor centre at Muckross House, and many more places of outstanding natural beauty. Ross Castle and Ross Island sit by the Lakes, Ladies View and Torc Waterfall are famous points of interest while the extensive native forest contains Ireland's only native herd of red deer.
The sixteenth century Ballycarbery Castle is about two miles from Caherciveen, down the road to White Strand Beach, and forty miles Tralee. High on a grass hill, bathed in greenery and facing the sea, the stone fort is built on the site of a twelfth century residence and is surrounded by what is left of a high wall. Much of the second floor and its access steps have also disappeared. Nearby are two stone-built ring forts; Cahergall, built in the tenth century contains a beehive hut, stairways and the remains of a dwelling, while Leacanabuile, from the ninth century, hide the entrance to an underground passage.