A Guide To Glenbeigh In Kerry: Things To Do, Accommodation, Food + More

glenbeigh in kerry
Photo left via Towers Hotel Glenbeigh (Booking). Photo right by imageBROKER.com (Shutterstock)

If you’re debating staying in Glenbeigh in Kerry, you’ve landed in the right place.

Known as the ‘Jewel in the Ring of Kerry’, Glenbeigh is popular corner of Kerry to visit, yet much quieter than the likes of Killarney or Kenmare.

Surrounded by lakes, rivers, sandy beaches, rolling hills and the Seefin mountains, the historic town is set amid a stunning landscape.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Glenbeigh to where to stay and where to grab a bite to eat.  

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Glenbeigh in Kerry

things to do in glenbeigh kerry
Photo by 4kclips (Shutterstock)

Although a visit to Glenbeigh in Kerry is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Glenbeigh is conveniently located on Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula, just 35 km from both Tralee and Killarney. It’s a stone’s throw away from the stunning Rossbeigh Beach.

2. Name

Known as Gleann Beithe in Irish, the name roughly translates to ‘glen or valley of Beithe’, which is the Irish name for the river Behy, but also the birch tree. The anglicised version of the name is Glanbehy, although nowadays Glenbeigh is the most common spelling.

3. Ring of Kerry town

Glenbeigh’s location on the Ring of Kerry driving route makes it a top choice for tourists in the area. It’s a great place to stop off and spend a day or two either at the end or beginning of the ring, which starts in nearby Killarney

A very brief history of Glenbeigh

glenbeigh accommodation
Photo by Jon Ingall (Shutterstock)

Glenbeigh is steeped in history and mythology, with a number of Fianna legends featuring the area. It’s believed that Diarmuid and Grainne spent some time hidden in a cave in the Valley of the Behy, during their mad escape from the great warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill.

The nearby Rossbeigh beach is another prominent location in Fianna legend. It is said that Oisin and Niamh left the living world from this stunning beach, and rode out to sea on a white horse to live in the land of the youth (Tír na nÓg).

In more recent history, you can still see the remains of ‘Wynne’s Folly’, also known as Glenbeigh Towers.

Built in 1867 by Lord Headley Wynne, it’s notorious for the brutality of the forced evictions that took place as tenants were unable to afford the ever-increasing rents brought about by the construction of the castle. 

Things to do in Glenbeigh (and nearby)

the best beaches in kerry
Photo by Monicami/Shutterstock.com

With so much history and stunning nature all around, there’s no shortage of things to do in and around Glenbeigh.

One of the biggest draws of Glenbeigh is that it offers a bit of something for everyone, with everything from hikes and walks to historical sites and more on offer.

1. Ramble along Rossbeigh Strand

glenbeigh restaurants
Photo by SandraMJ Photography (Shutterstock)

Rossbeigh Strand is one of the best beaches in Kerry and it’s one of the most popular of the many beaches near Killarney.

Rossbeigh juts out 6 km into Dingle Bay, offering long stretches of gorgeous sandy beaches, with views that almost seem out of this world.

The Blue Flag beach is a fantastic place to explore on foot or horseback, swim, or even surf, and is just 1.6 km from Glenbeigh.

2. Visit the Kerry Bog Village Museum

kerry bog village
Photo via Kerry Bog Village Museum

A fascinating look into the past, the museum allows visitors to discover the day-to-day struggles, culture and lifestyle of the people who lived in the many bog villages throughout the region.

A huge array of displays and exhibits offer a glimpse at a time gone by, while the famous Kerry Bog Ponies are always popular with the kids.

3. Drive or cycle the Ring of Kerry

ring of kerry road trip
Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

The Ring of Kerry is a superb driving or cycling route that takes you around the Iveragh Peninsula.

Along the way you’ll take in a wide range of exciting sights, from areas of natural beauty, to quaint old towns and villages. There are also countless beaches and photo opportunities at every turn.

4. Visit Kells Bay House and Gardens

 

This is a brilliant choice for lovers of the great outdoors and horticulture. Covering more than 17 hectares, the estate looks out across Dingle Bay, and is crisscrossed by 3 km of walking trails that take in a wide array of exotic plant life, bubbling brooks, and the occasional waterfall.

5. Soak up the views at Lough Caragh

lough caragh
Photo by imageBROKER.com (Shutterstock)

If you follow the river Caragh out of the town, you’ll end up at Lough Caragh, a stunning lake surrounded by mountains and ancient woodland.

It’s amazingly peaceful and can be a great place to relax for half a day or so, or stroll to one of the many viewing points.

6. Climb Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil the highest mountain in ireland
Photo by Timmy Keane (Shutterstock)

If you’re staying in Glenbeigh, you’re not too far from Carrauntoohil, which at just under 1,040 metres, is Ireland’s tallest mountain. It’s a pretty tough undertaking, and not one for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to be in good shape, and be sure of fair weather!

7. Take a spin over to Valentia Island

valentia island lighthouse
Photo by Chris Hill

Valentia Island is around 45 km from Glenbeigh if you follow the Ring of Kerry west. It’s one of Ireland’s most westerly points in fact, and an interesting place to visit. Home to quirky villages, rustic churches, ancient ruins and much more, it’s well worth spending some time.

Glenbeigh hotels and accommodation

glenbeigh hotels
Photos via Airbnb

There’s plenty of accommodation in Glenbeigh, regardless of your budget, with everything from holiday homes to hotels on offer.

Below, you’ll find a mix of places to stay in Glenbeigh that have incredible reviews (Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we’ll make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it:

Hotels in Glenbeigh

Holiday homes in Glenbeigh

Glenbeigh pubs

glenbeigh pubs
Photos via the Glenbeigh Hotel on Facebook

After a day at the beach or taking in the local sights, there’s nothing quite like a pint and some good craic at one of Glenbeigh’s local pubs.

1. Ashes

Ashes is a brilliant family run pub right on the main road (Ring of Kerry), so it’s easy to find. This wet-led pub dates back 100 years, though it was previously a greengrocers.

Nowadays, it’s popular among locals and tourists alike, with an excellent selection of drinks and snacks, as well as regular live music and sports events. Pull up a pew at the bar, seek out a hidden nook, or on a sunny day, enjoy the spacious outdoor seating and watch the world go by.

2. The Glenbeigh Hotel Bar

This traditional local bar manages to keep up with the times by offering a superb range of quality beers, wines and spirits, as well as top-notch dishes.

Oozing rustic charm, it’s a top choice for a few beers and their legendary chicken curry, or a few cozy pints in front of the fire. Every Sunday evening, there are traditional music sessions, so if you’re a dab-hand on the flute, bring it along!

3. Rosspoint Bar and Restaurant

Rosspoint boasts a stunning location and amazing panoramic views out across the Atlantic Ocean. The inside is spacious and blends modern and rustic design elements together to create a sleek, yet cosy venue.

They serve up a decent array of drinks, as well as delicious meals. The outdoor seating area is perfect on a sunny day, with views across the bay providing a wonderful backdrop. There’s regular live music, as well as a pool table, making it a great place to wile away a few hours.

Glenbeigh Restaurants and Cafes

places to eat in the village
Photos via Rumours Bistro on Facebook

While the pub-grub in Glenbeigh is fantastic, there are plenty of other cafes and restaurants in Glenbeigh that are worth seeking out too.

1. Emilies

Emilies is a gem of a cafe which doubles up a deli, a bakery, and a shop. Wood-fired sourdough pizzas are the main attraction, cooked to crisp perfection in the clay oven, though there’s plenty more to choose from.

The desserts are another big draw; they look so good they can be mistaken for countertop decor, and they taste even better! The inside is charming and there’s also a few tables outdoors; both are great for coffee and cake. Eat in or takeaway, but either way, give it a go!

2. Curra Restaurant at the Towers Hotel

For something a little special, the Curra Restaurant at the Towers Hotel is a must. It offers fine dining each evening, 7-days a week, showcasing the best local produce on offer.

Freshly caught seafood plays a central role, though the rack of Kerry mountain lamb is mouthwateringly good as well. The keys of a baby grand piano tinkle throughout the evening, lending the place a relaxing atmosphere.

3. Rumours Bistro

Rumours offers a more modern vibe than many other places in Glenbeigh, with a superb range of sumptuous dishes, showcasing some of the finest local ingredients.

From juicy burgers and surf and turf, to veggie dishes and exquisite desserts, there’s something for everyone. The portions are hearty and the price is just right, with a relaxed atmosphere that is welcoming and friendly. By day, it also doubles as a coffee shop.

FAQs about visiting Glenbeigh in Kerry

Since mentioning the town in a guide to Kerry that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Glenbeigh in Kerry.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is it worth basing yourself in Glenbeigh when visiting Kerry?

Yes! If you want to stay in a town that isn’t mobbed with tourists and that’s right next to the sea, Glenbeigh in Kerry is a great option. There’s also plenty of places to eat and drink in the town and loads to see and do nearby.

What are the best things to do in Glenbeigh?

  • Ramble along Rossbeigh Strand
  • Visit the Kerry Bog Village Museum
  • Visit Kells Bay House and Gardens
  • Soak up the views at Lough Caragh
  • Drive or cycle the Ring of Kerry

What are the best places to stay in Glenbeigh?

In the guide above, you’ll find links to the best B&Bs, Airbnbs and accommodation in Glenbeigh, with something for every budget.

Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he'd still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.

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