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If you imagine the Irish countryside, with ruins of medieval castles surrounded by rolling hills, deserted bays and glacier lakes, then you might as well be thinking of County Kerry. Kerry is a region located in southwest Ireland, in the western extremities of the British Isles. Due to this isolation, the Irish culture and language here have remained largely untouched by outside influences. Keery is a popular travel destination, partly because of the spectacular open country landscapes that make for great drives around the county.
Who to Book With
The offices of car hire companies in Kerry Country can be found in Killarney, Kerry County’s main tourist hub. Many are also located in Kerry Airport, near Farranfore and in Farranfore itself. Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Alamo, National, Avis and Irish Car Rentals are among the options, with booking online the best bet for discounts.
Best Time to Go
County Kerry enjoys temperatures milder than those of the rest of Northern Europe, with little variation throughout the year, making a visit at any time possible. It does rain a lot, however, but that also means vegetation remains green for most of the year. January temperatures average around 5°C, while summer temperatures can reach a balmy 28°C.
Need to Know Essentials
You will have to bring the following at the time of car hire collection:
- Printed booking confirmation (when possible)
- A credit card
- A full licence from your country of origin (or an International Driving Permit)
- Secondary ID with a photo
The many towns and centres of County Kerry are connected to each other by a comprehensive network of roads, some of which involve ferry crossings. Those driving from Clare or farther north from Galway can hop on car ferries to cross the Shannon Estuary. Most roads are well maintained and provide drivers with the most spectacular views along the way.
Public transport is sufficient for those staying in the cities and towns of Kerry or visiting the sites along the well-trodden tourist trail. Trains run from Mallow in Cork, west to Tralee, passing through Killarney. Buses have many connections in the region as well as to Cork and Dublin. Private taxi companies provide services within and on the outskirts of Kerry. For those wishing to visit the more scenic, rural and remote areas, driving your own car is advised.
The county is served by one rail line, run by Irish Rail. Running east to west, the line begins in Mallow in County Cork and passes through Banteer and Millstreet, also in Cork, continuing on to County Kerry and stopping at Rathmore, Killarney and Farranfore before terminating in Tralee. The Rathmore to Tralee one-way fare is about £14.
Several private companies operate taxi cabs in County Kerry. Not only do these companies run services within the county, pick-ups can also be made at Cork Airport or even at Dublin Airport. From Cork Airport, the cab fare to Killarney is around £64.
Buses in County Kerry are primarily run by Bus Eireann. The network is comprehensive, with hubs in Killarney in the centre and Tralee in the north. Many buses are bound for Cork in the south or Limerick to the north, while some service the Kerry to Dublin route.
It is not difficult to understand why County Kerry is a popular destination for those wishing to explore the rugged Irish countryside. It doesn’t take a lot for this unbelievably picturesque region to impress. Many of Kerry’s towns and sites are an easy drive away from each other.
Killarney - This is the main tourist town in the region and most probably the first stop for any visitor to the county. Its lake and surrounding mountains attract a lot of visitors, from those who wish to relax to the more active of vacationers who want to go biking or hiking.
The Ring of Kerry - This is perhaps one of the best drives in Ireland. This tourist route meanders through the main attractions of the region, which include the Torc Waterfall and several viewpoints, such as the Ladies View in Killarney National Park. The 6th century monastery of Skellig Michael, which is situated on an island, is also worth a stop. Boats from Portmagee make the connection here.
Ardfert - In Irish Ardfert means ‘hill of miracles’, a name that is quite apt for this historically religious centre. The place is home to many ecclesiastical sites, including Ardfert Cathedral, which, after the 1641 Irish Rebellion, now lies in glorious ruins. Other sites include the Talbot-Crosbie Memorial and Brandon House.