Destination Ireland Titlebar 22Kb

Part 1.
Blarney Castle /
Gunpowder Mills and Kinsale

Part 2.
Ships, Lions and Whiskey /
Castles and Caves

Part 3.
The Lakes of Killarney /
The Ring of Kerry

Part 4.
Cork City /
Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

Part 5.
Tralee and Dingle
Beautiful Beaches

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DAY TRIPS...Part 5

Pictures and text supplied courtesy of MacMonagle Publications.
You should allow approx. € 8 / US$10 per person admission fees to some of the attractions listed below.



How to Get There

TRALEE the capital of Kerry is world famous as the host of the Rose of Tralee Festival in early September. It is a strong market town and shopping centre. Restoration of an old 70 ft. windmill [1780] at 'Blennerville' has been completed and a short spur of the Old Dingle Railway is also restored using one of the line's original steam puff-puffs brought back from the United States. In 'Scotia's Glen' About 3 miles south of Tralee is the grave of Queen Scotia, a Pharoah's daughter who was slain in early battle. A large flagstone marks her grave.

Those who are fond of the outdoors will find that Tralee provides an excellent range of sports and leisure facilities including swimming at the Aqua Dome - one of Europe's most exciting water worlds. Also located in the town is a Gaelic Football Stadium, a Greyhound Track and a Horse Racing Track.

Light Railway with Waterworld behind.

Being the largest town in Kerry there is a fine selection of accommodation to choose from and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Evening entertainment is centred around nightclubs and traditional music found in the many pubs and bars.

Tralee is also the home of Siamsa tire - the National Folk Theatre of Ireland - a centre for folk theatre, mime and dance. The friendliness of its people and the unique atmosphere of the town makes Tralee an enjoyable and pleasant place to visit.

THE DINGLE PENINSULA is a coastal area having the world's most inspiring scenery. It is edged with beaches and has a range of mountains which stretch westward for 30 miles from Tralee. Driving is easy and a pleasure as there is very little traffic on the roads which are suitable for touring. The main roads are dotted with scenic viewing points, parking spaces, picnic areas and delightful golden beaches where swimming can be enjoyed in the blue, clear Atlantic waters. The peninsula has many hotels, farmhouses, guesthouses, etc., and the villages follow the coastline and are quite close to each other.

The main roads R561, R560 & R559 follow the coast around the peninsula. Travelling clockwise your first stop should be Inch a holiday area on the southern cliffs of the peninsula leading to one of the most splendid beaches in the world. From Inch you can see marvellous views of MacGillycuddy's Reeks and the Ring of Kerry mountains. The five mile beach has splendid formations on the sandhills and are of archaeological interest, showing signs of early habitation. It was here that "Ryan's Daughter" was filmed.
Just a few miles from Inch, in the heart of the peninsula lies Annascaul. It is an open farmland area facing 2000 ft. mountains. In the village is the 'South Pole Inn' where Tom Crean lived after returning from an expedition with Captain Scott. It is a quiet village but brimming with country life and natural sounds - some of which may sound like the clinking of Guiness glasses!

Further on is Dingle the main town of the peninsula. From earliest times this town has maintained an important trading position. It has been sacked, looted, burned, chartered and walled. Its harbour has seen many trading vessels from Spain and France. Today, visitors can enjoy an atmosphere in which the new and the old integrate. Modern shops vie with artisan markets and the restaurants are famous for their fish dishes. Dingle is famous for "Fungi" a friendly dolphin which has lived in the harbour since 1984. He loves human company (escorted visits only) and his playful antics are a daily tourist attraction.

Ventry is the next bay along the coast. The area west of this lovely beach-side village, as far as Slea Head, contains numerous beehive-type cells (clochauns), souterrains, ogham stones, crosses and headland forts. Visitors interested in these historical objects should allow extra time to travel slowly, stop and view. The 'Fahan Group' holds the largest collection and is 3 miles west of Ventry. Off-shore from Slea Head are the Blasket Islands. The largest is the 'Great Blasket' (roughly 4 x 1 miles) and was inhabited by an Irish speaking community until 1953. Litery gems such as 'The Islander' [Thomas O Criomthain] and '20 years a-growing' [Muiris O'Sullivan] were written here and became best sellers. Dunquin has a quay whence boats to the Blaskets ply for hire. Historians will find the grave of Peig Sayers in the nearby cemetary. Peig is famous for her traditional stories. The area is a thriving pottery centre.

The Conor Pass just over 4 miles north of Dingle, is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. This takes you to the northern side of the peninsula. Astounding panoramic vistas will impress the visitor - lakes, ocean, rivers, mountains, beaches, boglands and farmlands all combine to form the ultimate in scenic views. Further on Castlegregory is unique in having on its doorstep the fresh-water game-fish Lough Gill and also a golden beach. It is the gateway to the 'Magharees', with its miles of huge sandhills, and renowned as an onion-growing area. From above Scraggane pier 'The Seven Hogs', a group of islands, can be observed. On one there are monastic huts and clochauns. 'Glenteenassig', on the mountain side of Castlegregory offers lovely forest park walks by small lakes and waterfalls. The road follows the coast back to Tralee.

All forms of Accomodation from camp sites, B & B's to hotels can be found along the peninsula. Evening entertainment, especially traditional music in pubs and dancing which is very popular. Just right after a hard day shopping in all the craft shops that are to be found along the peninsula.



Routes: various.

(Above Brandon Bay on the Dingle Peninsula) The Cork / Kerry region is famous for its beautiful and "blue flagged" beaches. The Blue Flag means that they have passed all inspections for cleanliness and safety. There are dozens of beaches to choose from; small sheltered coves to the vast strands of Inch and Banna in Kerry which are many miles long. Even at the height of Summer you will never find a crowded beach. The most popular might have a hundred people. Almost all the beaches have rich golden sand with little or no stone. The map below shows the location of the most popular and biggest beaches.

Thankfully due to public opinion very little building is allowed near beaches, so you will never see the massed rows of hotels or guesthouses behind them, in fact many beaches are nature reserves. Generally you will not be able to hire deck chairs or find donkey rides, although sometimes there is a small shop nearby so you can purchase ice creams etc. Always remember to take your rubbish away with you.

(Above Youghal Beach in East Cork - Looking East then West) Many of the beaches are ideal for shore fishing and large flat fish such as plaice are regularly caught. Sailboarding is also popular and sometime you can see people water or jet skiing. Many of the beaches are hard enough to drive a car, although racing is definitely not welcome. Finally, the idea of spending a day at the beach is to enjoy yourself. Many of the smaller beaches do not have lifeguards so normal safety rules apply. It is always advisable to ask a local person about tides and rip currents before venturing into the water off an empty beach.

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