If you’re in search of the best things to do in Tralee, you’re in the right place.
Founded in the 13th century, Tralee has had an eventful life, particularly during the Irish War of Independence.
With plenty of great things to do in Tralee and LOTS more to see and do nearby, this town is a fine little base for exploring many of the best things to do in Kerry.
The best things to do in Tralee
The lively town of Tralee in County Kerry is arguably best known for the now-iconic Rose of Tralee Festival, which has been taken place since 1959.
However, there’s plenty more to Tralee than its famous festival and its many buzzy pubs – the town has plenty of attractions to keep locals and tourists alike amused.
1. Kerry County Museum
It’s one thing to see the beauty of Kerry; it’s another to truly know about Kerry. Opened in 1991, Kerry County Museum has been an essential Tralee visitor experience for almost 30 years.
Housed in the Ashe Memorial Hall in the centre of town, the award-winning museum covers Kerry history from the bronze age to the present day.
One of the best exhibits is the duelling pistols used by 19th-century politician Daniel O’Connell, also known by the rather cool nickname ‘The Liberator’.
2. Tralee Bay Wetlands Eco & Activity Park
The Eco-tourism wave that’s taking many parts of the world by storm is very 21st century and they’re fully embracing it over in Tralee.
Located on the fringes of town, Tralee Bay Wetlands Eco & Activity Park is a unique escape that’s over 3,000 hectares in size.
Explore the flora and fauna of the area on a boat tour, a boardwalk or from the 20-metre high viewing tower.
There’s also plenty of activities for more active visitors, including a climbing wall and water zorbing, which make it one of the best things to do in Tralee with kids.
3. Blennerville Windmill and visitor centre
Ireland’s largest working windmill and visible for miles, Blennerville Windmill is an imposing landmark in Tralee Bay.
Constructed in 1800 but rendered obsolete by various technological advances within 100 years, it fell into disrepair in the 20th century but was lovingly restored during the 1980s and reopened in 1990.
21 metres high and notable for being the only windmill on the Wild Atlantic Way, arrive late in the day for some cracking sunset photo opportunities.
4. Tralee Town Park
Situated just off Denny Street and known locally as ‘The Green’, Tralee Town Park covers 35 acres and is one of Ireland’s largest urban parks.
A great spot for a stroll at any time of year, it also contains the famous rose garden and a bunch of interesting statues and monuments to notable locals.
If you’re vising Kerry County Museum, make sure you check in here too as it’s just next door.
5. Siamsa Tíre, National Folk Theatre
Bringing it to life through music, song and dance, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre is based here and celebrates the country’s traditional art forms.
Catch original productions from the resident group of trained performers if you’re in Tralee between May and September.
If you’re looking for things to do in Tralee when it’s raining, Siamsa Tíre is a handy little place to drop into where you can whittle away an evening.
6. Tralee Aqua Dome
This is another one for those of you in search of things to do in Tralee with kids. Occasionally, just occasionally, the weather in Ireland doesn’t behave itself and indoor activities become highly welcome.
And if you’re too energetic to sit around all day, then Tralee’s Aqua Dome could be the lively diversion you need.
A huge water park with flumes, slides, rapids and saunas, it’s a class way to see out a rainy day whether you’re with friends or have the family in tow.
Things to do near Tralee
OK, so we’ve tackled things to do in Tralee – now, it’s time to look at the many things to see and do near Tralee.
As mentioned earlier, Tralee is home to a clatter of the best places to visit in Kerry, so if you make it your base for a night or two, you’ll have an endless number of things to see closeby.
1. Banna Strand
The arcing beauty of Banna Strand is only a 15-minute drive from Tralee and worth a visit in all seasons. Lined by sand dunes up to 12 metres high, it’s a dramatic scene that appears to go on for miles.
It’s also famously associated with the story of Roger Casement, a prominent republican who was captured on Banna Strand in 1916 while attempting to smuggle arms for the republican movement after landing from a German U-Boat. A memorial to him on a nearby road was unveiled in 1966.
2. The Slea Head Drive
Beginning and ending in the fine little town of Dingle (more on there later), the Slea Head Drive is a circular route taking in some of Ireland’s mightiest scenery, historic sites, charming villages and twisting little roads.
The loop is about 30 miles long and we definitely encourage you not to rush it! A few spots along the way to not miss: Slea Head Beach, Blasket Islands, Three Sisters mountain peaks, the Sleeping Giant and Ballyferriter village.
The drive, which takes in many of the best things to do in Dingle, can be polished off with a feed from one of the many mighty places to eat in Dingle Town.
3. Inch Beach
Sticking out of the south side of the Dingle Peninsula like an upside-down thumb (obviously, it gets a thumbs up from us though!), Inch Beach is a 3-mile long sandy beach that’s perfect for a bunch of activities.
Only 30 minutes away from Tralee by car, the blue flag beach is a popular place to get stuck into a whole range of water sports, including surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and kite surfing.
4. Dingle Town
It might be small but there’s some serious craic to be had in Dingle. There’s an absurd amount of pubs in Dingle, bars and restaurants for a town of barely 2,000 people, this colourful little place is a must-visit when you’re in Kerry.
A 45-minute drive from Tralee, you’ll have a plethora of choice when you head out for a few pints here. With great live music, a huge selection of drinks and a deadly beer garden, hit up Dick Mack’s pub for good times.
A 30-minute drive north of Tralee, it’s hard to find things to give out about when you’re in the coastal town of Ballybunion.
Not only is it free from industry, pollution and set in a gorgeous part of the world, there are tons of things to do as well!
With great beaches for surfing, picturesque cliff walks and one of the world’s finest golf links courses, you’re unlikely to get bored here. There’s also a fine collection of bars and restaurants to see the night out in.
What great things to do in Tralee have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that there’s plenty of other great things to do in Tralee (and nearby!) that we’ve unintentionally left out of the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let us know in the comments section below. Cheers!