11 Of The Best Things To Do In Kenmare (And Plenty Of Places To See Nearby)

things to do in kenmare ireland
Photo left: Lena Steinmeier. Right: Irelandimages (Shutterstock)

There’s no end to the number of things to do in Kenmare, as you’ll discover below.

Fancy visiting a colourful town in Kerry with buckets of charm and history stretching back thousands of years?

Ok, so there probably wasn’t a ton of craic, characters and beer in Kenmare back in the Bronze Age, but this ancient settlement has some seriously deep roots.

Now it’s a vibrant little town with some great bars and restaurants as well as access to come of Ireland’s finest scenery. Dive in and read on about 11 of the best things to do in Kenmare:

The best things to do in Kenmare

You’ll find Kenmare in County Kerry where it’s finely plonked between the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara (Cork).

It’s a mighty little base to explore many of the best things to do in Kerry from and it’s also a handy spin from Killarney, too!

In the guide below, you’ll discover what to do in Kenmare regardless of when you visit. Gon on, dive on in!

1. Kenmare Stone Circle

aerial view of the stone circle in kenmare ireland
Photo by Lena Steinmeier (Shutterstock)

Remember those ancient roots I was talking about? The first stop in our guide to Kenmare is a pretty good example of the towns rich past.

You’ll find Kenmare Stone Circle a handy walk from the town centre. Here you’ll discover 15 heavy boulders in an ellipse-shaped circle that’s thought to date back to the Bronze Age (2,200 to 500 BC).

Known locally as ‘The Shrubberies’, it’s believed that it was used for various rituals or ceremonial purposes.

This is the perfect place to visit if you’re after a bit of peace and quiet. Grab a coffee from Puccini’s Coffee And Books and head for a stroll.  

2. Head for a ramble in Reenagross Woodland Park

Reenagross park kenmare
One of our favourite things to do in Kenmare. Photo by Katie Rebele (Shutterstock)

Now if there’s something of an old romantic in you then you could do a lot worse than taking a walk through Reenagross Woodland Park.

Lying just to the south of Kenmare town centre, this green oasis of calm is wonderful for getting away from it all for an hour or two.

And if you’re with your special someone then you’d be foolish to miss the chance to take a lovers walk through the Rhododendron forest.

Forming a strikingly bright purple tunnel at certain times of the year, the path is as popular with photographers as it is couples and dog walkers.

3. Seal-spotting in Kenmare Bay (one of the best things to do in Kenmare with kids)

seals on the aran islands
Photo by Sviluppo/shutterstock.com

Who doesn’t like seals? The wide-eyed marine mammals are always popular at zoos but here you’ve got the chance to see them in their natural habitat.

At 30 miles long and 12 miles wide, Kenmare Bay dominates south Kerry and is listed as a Special Area of Conservation thanks to its rare species and habitats.

Seafari cruises offer you the chance to get up close with the seals and plenty of other interesting scenery and marine life.

4. A post-adventure pint and some live music at PF McCarthy’s

PF McCarthy's pub kenmare ireland
Photo via PF McCarthy’s

The modest exterior of PF McCarthy’s belies that fact that there’s serious craic to be had inside. One of Kenmare’s oldest and most famous establishments, PF’s (as it’s known locally) is a great spot to relax with a pint of an evening.

As well as serving up some cracking gourmet food, it’s also earned a reputation as one of Kenmare’s best live music venues.

Whether you’re looking for some Irish trad sessions or in the mood for something more contemporary, PF’s has you covered.

Fancy a bite to eat? There are looooooads of incredible restaurants in Kenmare that you can drop into for a casual feed or for a bit of fancy dining.

5. Molly Gallivan’s Visitor Centre

molly gallivan's kenmare
Photo via Google maps

It’s not just ancient history that Kenmare specialises in. Located a 15-minute drive south of the town, Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm offers a unique window into rural Irish life 200 years ago.

Long before electricity and modern tools changed everything, you’ll see farming methods and traditions as they were back then.

The thatched stone cottage is beautifully preserved and you’ll be able to meet the farm animals too. This is a solid option if you’re looking for things to do in Kenmare when it’s raining.

6. Bonane Heritage Park

kenmare Heritage Centre
Photo by Frank Bach (Shutterstock)

The history lesson continues at Bonane Heritage Park, except this one combines hundreds of archaeological finds with some of Kerry’s most breathtaking scenery.

Not a bad pairing eh? Less than 15 minutes from Kenmare, the park is unique in that it contains sites from the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages.

And for anyone who’s sick of stone circles by now, just stand back and admire the gorgeous vistas and panoramas.

7. Afternoon Tea in the Park Hotel

park hotel spa
Photo via the Park Hotel Kenmare

After all that heady stone admiring, you’re going to want to kick back and enjoy some of the finer things in life.

And where better than the Kenmare’s opulent Park Hotel? This elegant hotel has been in Kenmare since 1897 and their afternoon tea is a thing of beauty.

Indulge in loose leaf tea, finger sandwiches, freshly baked Irish scones and a selection of delicate pastries and cakes. Really push the boat out by throwing in a glass of luxurious champagne if it’s a special occasion.

Looking for places to stay in Kenmare? In our guide to the best guesthouses, B&Bs and hotels in Kenmare, you’ll find pocket-friendly and swanky places to sleep.

Things to do near Kenmare

Thanks to its location, Kenmare is a stone’s throw from a clatter of attractions, both man-made and natural.

From scenic drives and hikes to waterfalls and plenty more, below you’ll discover a heap of things to do near Kenmare town.

1. Ladies View

Ladies view killarney
Photo by Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

One of Ireland’s most photographed locations and with good reason – Ladies View offers a majestic panorama of Killarney National Park.

Its quirky name is thanks to the admiration of the view taken by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during her visit to Kerry in 1861.

Only a 20-minute drive from Kenmare, there’s a café here too if you want to get some refreshments.

2. Molls Gap

Molls gap best thing to do in kerry
Photo via Failte Ireland

Another gorgeous spot on the Ring of Kerry route, Molls Gap is a scenic viewpoint that’s just a short 11-minute drive from Kenmare.

Possibly upstaging Ladies View in the odd name stakes, Molls Gap comes from Moll Kissane, who ran a shebeen (an unlicensed pub) during the construction of the original Kenmare-Killarney road in the 1820s.

She was popular among the tough men who worked on the road thanks to her home-brewed whiskey.

3. Killarney National Park

torc mountain kerry
Photo by Valerie O’Sullivan via EuroToque Ireland

Get your walking boots on! Home to Ireland’s tallest mountain range (the imposing McGillycuddy Reeks) as well as being its oldest national park, Killarney National Park is a rugged expanse of wilderness that’s just asking to be explored.

With lakes, trails, woodlands and waterfalls, the park is a sea of tranquillity and splendour that’s just a 40-minute drive from Kenmare.

If you visit the park, there’s a heap of other things to do in Killarney that’ll keep you entertained. There’s also plenty of great places to eat!

4. Gleninchaquin Park

Gleninchaquin park kerry
Gleninchaquin Park, Beara Peninsula: By Valerie O’Sullivan

This family-owned park has a small entrance fee to pay (6 euros) but it’s more than worth it for the idyllic walks and scenery.

In fact, the dramatic 140-metre high waterfall is worth the entrance fee alone. You’ll find the park a 30-minute drive south from Kenmare.

Gleninchaquin Park has six walks to accommodate a range of abilities so don’t worry if some of the mountains look a little intimidating. There’s something for everyone here.

What to do in Kenmare: where have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally missed out on some brilliant things to do in Kenmare in the guide above.

If you know of an attraction (or a pub, restaurant or cafe) that you want to shout about, let us know in the comments section below.

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