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County Kerry Family Holidays and Breaks

Spotting Fungi from the sea kayak off County Kerry.Spotting Fungi from the sea kayak off County Kerry.© Irish Adventures.
View from Skellig Michael.View from Skellig Michael.© The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre
Donkey on Great Blasket Island.Donkey on Great Blasket Island.© Rhonda Carrier
Sea fishing with Dingle Cookery School.Sea fishing with Dingle Cookery School.© Rhonda Carrier
Sea trampolining at Jamie Knox Watersports.Sea trampolining at Jamie Knox Watersports.© Rhonda Carrier
Sea kayaking.Sea kayaking.© Irish Adventures.
Flying Time 1.5hrs
Timezone GMT
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

With a mindblowingly scenic coastline carved by a turbulent ocean over the course of millennia, County Kerry is a place to get away from it all with the kids but also one in which to enjoy an active family holiday, truly embracing the elements and seeing incredible wildlife in its natural habitat. 

And with part of Kerry’s coastline also embracing the Wild Atlantic Way and including a couple of Star Wars filming locations, this spectacular region of Ireland is sure to capture the imaginations of visitors of all ages.

Things to do with kids in County Kerry

Explore the Dingle Peninsula, where glorious sandy beaches sit either side of a spine of mountains that include Ireland's second-highest peak, Mount Brandon.

Take a boat-trip from the hub, Dingle town, to the Blasket Islands with Dingle Bay Charters. Various trips are available; we recommend the guided five-hour Marine Eco Boat Tour, during which you have a good chance of seeing whales, pods of dolphins, basking sharks, seals, nesting puffins and red deer as well as incredible sea cliffs and other scenery. You also get to stop off and explore the ruined settlement and beaches of gorgeous Great Blasket island. And on the way back, you’re almost certain to meet Fungi, the most famous local resident – a dolphin who’s lived in Dingle Bay for three decades. Those with tots or who are short of time can opt to take a short boat-trip into the bay just to see him.

Investigate the sea-caves of Dingle Bay, and get up-close and personal with Fungi, on a sea-kayaking trip with Irish Adventures. This friendly firm can also take you out horse-riding on one of Dingle’s beaches, hiking, cycling, mountaineering and more.

Reel in your own lunch on a sea-fishing expedition with Dingle Cookery School, who will take you back to their gleaming kitchens as part of their Catch & Cook tour to teach you how to fillet and cook your fish.

Learn to surf with Jamie Knox Watersports in Brandon Bay and the Maharees on the north of the Dingle Peninsula. Windsurfing and SUP paddleboarding tuition are also available, or you can take out kayaks and paddleboats or play on the fantastic water trampolines with their slides into the sea.

Follow the Slea Head Drive, Dingle’s section of the Wild Atlantic Way, to see stunning scenery and glimpse the spot on the Ceann Sibéal headland where the Jedi temple scene from Star Wars: Episode VIII (out in December 2017) was filmed.

Hire a bike from Dingle’s Foxy John’s, half hardware and cycle rental shop, half bar – and the venue where the Star Wars cast held their Episode VIII wrap party.

Check out Killarney and the Ring of Kerry with their romantic lakes and mountains, including Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest range. This area is more touristy than Dingle, but you can escape the crowds with a scenic drive around the neighbouring Iveragh Peninsula and its coastal branch roads including the Ring of Skellig. There's also the Coolwood Wildlife Park with its lemurs, meerkats and more.

If that last name rings a bell, you’re probably thinking of Skellig Michael off the end of the peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens were filmed. Numerous companies run boat-trips from Portmagee out to Skellig Michael; some circle it, some land so that you can climb its 670 steps and see its sixth-century monastery, including six beehive cells. 

Irish Adventures (see above) also runs kayaking trips on the Lakes of Killarney.

Eat

There’s something for all tastes in County Kerry. Dingle town has a large choice for all budgets, ranging from traditional fish and chips to upmarket seafood. With kids, we recommend the old-school fish-and-chip diner Harrington’s Family Restaurant, and Danno’s Bar & Restaurant with its beer garden perfect for enjoying good lobster rolls, chowder, mussels and the like in the sunshine. And whatever you do, don’t miss some of Dingle’s own artisan ice cream, Murphy’s.

On the other side of the peninsula, near Jamie Knox Watersports, we like Moe’s Café and Spillane’s Bar & Restaurant (don’t miss the crab claws delivered from the nearby pier). In Ballydavid on the Slea Head Drive, TP’s Pub & Restaurant is fantastic for seafood overlooking the beach.

When to go to County Kerry

As well as summer, County Kerry can be a lovely May or October half-term destination, or great for June and September holidays with pre-schoolers. Expect mild weather similar to that of the UK – take raincoats even in peak season but be prepared for sunshine on the same day. 

Cost

County Kerry is a reasonably priced family holiday destination, especially if you self-cater. Prices in restaurants and shops are roughly equivalent to those in the UK.

By Rhonda Carrier

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