"Escape to Living" is the motto in Kenmare, and it's easy to see why. A picturesque country town with a colourful array of delightful shops, bars, and restaurants and a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere, Kenmare is superbly situated on a balmy inlet of the Atlantic where several renowned scenic routes intersect.
Kenmare town lies at the head of Kenmare Bay, a stunning inlet that sweeps out 50 kilometres from Kenmare to the Atlantic Ocean. "Kenmare" is an anglicisation of "Ceann Mara," or "head of the sea." The accepted Irish translation for Kenmare is "Neidín," which means "little nest," referring to the way the town nestles into the lush, subtropical landscape of Kenmare Bay against the striking backdrop of the Caha Mountains.
You will never be short of things to do in Kenmare, whether you are an outdoors enthusiast or a devotee of good food and wine. From horse riding, sea safaris and golf to simply lounging over a good cup of coffee in a cosy cafe, Kenmare has the holiday options for you.
The town itself lies at the convergence of three celebrated tourist trails - The Ring of Kerry, The Ring of Beara, and the Wild Atlantic Way. The Ring of Kerry tour is a 180km loop of the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, with its historical landmarks, sandy beaches, and epic mountains, and taking in Killarney, Cahersiveen, Waterville, and Sneem until you arrive back in Kenmare.
Another enchanting loop is the Ring of Beara, a 137km route through the rugged splendour of the Atlantic coast beyond Kenmare. The most breath-taking section of the Ring of Beara is the dramatic Healy Pass Road (R574), which cuts across the peninsula between Kerry and Cork.
Wild Atlantic Way
Guests at the Kenmare Bay Hotel have the good fortune to be staying on one of the world's longest and most spectacular driving routes. Dwarfing both South Africa's Garden Route and California's Pacific Coast Highway, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches a staggering 2,500m from Cork in the south via Kenmare to Donegal in the north. Skirting the most beautiful section of the Atlantic coast, the Wild Atlantic Way can be dipped into and explored at your own pace.