Kenmare ‘Little Nest’ is called so due to its location nestled between the Ring of Kerry and Ring of Beara. This coastal town located on the estuary of Kenmare Bay is a charming destination.
Kenmare is an outdoor haven for any outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are looking to walk, hike, bike, or even splash in the Bay there is an experience to suit all the family! Kenmare has an array of walks to choose from, a very popular walk is the ‘Old Kenmare Road’. It is a 16km hike from Kenmare to the car park at Torc Waterfall. This walk presents a mixture of terrain and passes through mixed ground and sea, lake, and woodland views. A walk to suit all the family is the Gleninchaquin Park with stunning views. Wander over streams with log bridges, meander up the route towards the lakes and take in the views of the green landscape and gushing waterfall. There are a number of areas in the park to lay a picnic blanket and take a break.
If you have packed your bike or renting locally there are a number of cycle routes to choose from. A moderately challenging route is the Molls Gap Circuit. It is 57km long and can take between two and five hours to complete depending on your level of fitness. A more leisurely cycle would be the route to Kilgarvan village, 25km in length, and brings you round to Kenmare again.
If all that activity is too much why not opt for a scenic driving route with two stunning choices, the Ring of Kerry or the Ring of Beara. The Ring of Kerry is a 177km drive, capturing the coast of Kerry’s largest Peninsula the Iveragh Peninsula. It is strongly advised to drive anti-clockwise on this route. Highlights from the Ring of Kerry include Molls Gap. You can enjoy views over Ireland’s highest mountain range the McGillycuddy Reeks and the Black Valley. Ladies’ Views capturing the lakes and national park of Killarney. We would recommend taking a detour when leaving Caherciveen town and taking the short ferry to Valentia Island. Valentia is also a great area to see views of the Skellig Islands.
Ring of Beara is 80km or 128km depending on the route you take leaving Kenmare. On the route, you can make stops at Bonane Heritage Park to visit multi-period archaeological sites. Enjoy the Caha Pass created from rocks and form the border with neighboring county Cork with views out to Bantry Bay. If time allows a worthy detour on the Ring is a trip out to Garnish Island to experience the sub-tropical vegetation on the Island.
Kenmare is host to many festivals throughout the year. The highlights are the Kenmare Lace Festival which takes place biennially. Pattern Day on the 15th of August draws a large crowd for a day of browsing and bartering at stalls in the square and streets. The largest of their festivals is the Halloween Howl, a weeklong festival in October to celebrate Halloween. This family fun event has workshops, a large parade, and more!