Tralee and Bay Area

Tralee and the Bay Area

Blessed with Irelands best beaches, the Bay Area has great watersports, cycles, fishing, golf and more at every turn and is backed by some of the Irelands highest mountains and best walking routes. Tralee and the Bay Area is a unique holiday destination along over 100km (60 miles) of the Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive from Brandon Point in the west to Kerry Head in north. The Bay Area comprising Brandon Bay and Tralee Bay has over 70km of sandy beaches! and great holiday spots to visit such as Brandon, Cloghane, Maharees, Castlegregory, Camp, Blennerville, the county town of Tralee, Spa, Fenit, Ardfert, Banna and Ballyheigue.

Tralee and Bay Area, Co Kerry, Irelands Best Beaches Mountains Walks Cycling Fishing Surfing Watersports Heritage History Attractions Family Holiday Destination Wild Atlantic

Tralee Town and the Bay Area

With one of Irelands best town parks and top museums, the county town of Tralee is one of the best tourist destinations and Irelands family friendly holiday capital on the Wild Atlantic Way. Recently named in Tripadvisor's Top 10 Irish Destinations and named Top Large Tourism Town in Ireland by Failte Ireland, Tralee is an ideal holiday destination with great places to stay, pubs, restaurants and traditional music and a perfect base to explore Ireland's south west coast including the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry drive, the Skellig Ring drive, Loop Head Co. Clare, West Cork and the Wild Atlantic Way.

With people having lived in the Bay Area for well over 5,000 years and Tralee recently celebrating 800 years as a town founded by the Normans in 1216, the town is rich in history, heritage and rebellion. With Kerry famous for its Festivals, Tralee is probably best known for the Rose of Tralee International Festival which is held every August since 1959 but town and Bay Area offers so much more. Take a stroll in Tralee Town Park and playground and past lovely 18th-century Georgian buildings, visit the nearby County Museum, one of Irelands best or Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theater of Ireland. Enjoy a peaceful walk in Ballyseedy or Glanteenassig Woods and if the weather isn't the best for you or the kids, you have so many choices. Visit the Aquadome indoor water park, have fun in the Playdium indoor play centre, Bowling Buddies, tour the Wetlands Centre, dress up and excavate bones in the County Museum, enjoy one of Irelands largest model railways and Irelands oldest working windmill in Blennerville or take in a movie at the Tralee Cinema with its new Maxx screen.

You can cycle safely with the kids in Tralee Town ParkBallyseedy woods and when the tide is out a great place is Banna Beach, recently voted Ireland best beach by TripAdvisor. Choose from over 70km of sandy and Blue Flag beaches only minutes from Tralee including Fenit, Castlegregory, Banna, Ballyheigue, Fermoyle, Killelton and Derrymore.  Take on some of Irelands best walks including the unmissable Mt. Brandon walk (952m), Sás Creek, Caherconree Mtn, the Dingle Way, the North Kerry Way, the Slieve Mish Mtns and don't forget that Irelands highest mountain, Carrauntoohil is only 30 mins away.

Just outside the town Tralee you can go back in time visiting the ruins of the ancient stone fort on Caherconree Mtn, Killelton Oratory, Ardfert Cathedral, Annagh Church and Queen Scotia’s Grave from Irish Mythology. For something a little more modern why not visit Fenit Beach and Lighthouse and its connection with St Brendan the Navigator and if golf is your thing, then a round at Tralee Golf Course, one of Irelands and the worlds best links courses is just for you. With some beaches facing the Atlantic and some sheltered, they are perfect for surfing, kite surfing, sailing, wind surfing, kayaking, snorkeling,  diving, swimming, SUP, water trampolines, water bouncing castles and play areas, fishing charter boats, harbour and dolphin watching tours, shore fishing, walking, cycling and much more. You can also enjoy some of Irelands best cycling routes, scenic drives and mountain biking around Tralee including many loop routes and mountain climbs including the Conor Pass, the Short Mountain, Fenit, Brandon point and Kerry Head.

Tralee is located at the gateway to the Dingle Peninsula in the Lee valley. The town is at the base of an ancient pathway which passes over the short mountain, part of the Slieve Mish mountain range. Off this ancient path is a place called Scotia's Grave, said to be the the burial place of an Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter, Queen Scotia, after whom Scotland is named. The ancient inhabitants of the Tralee Bay Area built Irelands highest and most impressive stone forts and Ogham Stones on the mountains overlooking the Bay Area and from these people emerged some of the most famous stories of Irish Mythology and Folklore. Follow in the footsteps of Fionn MacChumhaill and Cú Chulainn, the ancient heroes of Irish Mythology who are said to have lived, hunted and roamed the mountains and valleys of the Bay Area.

Brandon Bay from Beenoskee

The Bay Area

Covering an area of approx. 285 sq km, the relatively shallow Bay Area comprises both Brandon Bay and Tralee Bay divided by the Maharees peninsula. However in the distant past this would have been a single bay. The Tralee Bay Area makes up nearly 5% of the total length of the Wild Atlantic Way route, the Tralee Bay Area has over 70km of pristine sandy beaches, containing some of the longest continuous sandy beaches in Ireland and in Europe. Broken only by less than 100m on the Maharees, the Bay Area from Fermoyle to Derrymore is one of Irelands longest sandy beaches at nearly 25 miles / 40km, second only to Curracloe beach in Wexford which is a continuous stretch of 29 km/18 miles.

  • Tralee is the starting point for the Dingle peninsula and Slea Head scenic drives
  • 30 mins from Killarney Town, Lakes, National Park and Carrauntoohil Mountain
  • 25 mins from the world famous Ring of Kerry scenic drive and cycle and the Kerry Way Walking Route
  • 40 mins from Dingle Town and the great Things to See and Do on Dingle Peninsula
  • Tralee is the starting point for both the Dingle Way and North Kerry Way long distance walking routes

Brandon and Cloghane

At the western side of the Bay Area are the pretty villages of Brandon and Cloghane nestled at the foothills of the Brandon mountains overlooking Brandon Bay. Here you can enjoy lovely sandy beaches, rent or join a charter fishing boat or walk some of Ireland's best and most popular hiking trails. The world famous Dingle Way long distance walking route (176 km or 109 miles) passes through these villages with many staying overnight here or relax and enjoy some well deserved food and drink.

To the west, the Dingle Way rises to the saddle of Más an Tiompáin Mtn (763m) where you can see a 6th century Ogham Stone, Irelands highest. East, the Dingle Way follows the coast for over 30km (19 miles) along one of Irelands longest sandy beaches. From here you can also take on Irelands highest coastal mountain steeped in Irish mythology and pagan history, the 5 hour walk to Mount Brandon (952m or 3,123 ft) from Faha, the Brandon Pilgrim Path, or unique walks such as Sás Creek where you look straight down to the sea over 400m (1,300 ft) higher than the Empire State building.

In Cloghane village can see the old engine of a World War 2 plane, one of 4 others that crashed on the Brandon mountains during WW2 and all have sad but amazing stories here. Further on, the road ends at Brandon Point, a scenic and very popular bird and sea life watching spot. From here you can also walk to the nearby World War 2 look out post no.40, one of 83 in Ireland, where locals were employed to report on any sea or sky activity during the war.

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  • Places to Stay in Brandon and Cloghane: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment in Brandon and Cloghane: coming soon
  • Local Walking Guide or Tour Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Castlegregory and the Maharees

The ever popular tourist destination of Castllegregory is located in an idyllic sheltered bay at the foot of the sandy Maharees peninsula. Perfect for a beach and surfing holiday feel, the peninsula is dotted with bed and breakfasts, self catering, campgrounds and caravan parks and also contains smaller villages home to great local pubs and picture perfect restaurants.

Come for the beaches but you will not be short of things to see and do. Why not try something different like diving or snorkeling at the 5-star PADI certified dive centre, visit the Castlegregory 9 Hole Links Golf and Fishing club on the shores of the freshwater lake Lough Gill, join the fun on the water trampolines and paddle boats, pick from several windsurfing and surf schools, take a powerboat course, join a charter fishing boat or a Boat Tour from Scraggane or Fahamore Piers to the small Maharee islands, called the Seven Hoggs where on  the largest of the islands, Oileán tSeanaigh, are the ruins of a 7th-century monastic site founded by St Senach.

Home to the rare Natterjack toad and named after a castle built by Gregory Hoare in the 16th century, the village of Castlegregory is also on the Dingle Way walking route and is close to many great mountains walks including Beenoskee Mountain, Conor Pass, Mount Brandon and more.

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  • Places to Stay in Castlegregory and the Maharees: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment: coming soon
  • Local Walking Guide or Tour Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Camp and Beaches of Kileltin and Derrymore

On the lower slopes of the Sliabh Mis Mountains is the small village of Camp. Having everything you need for a holiday, Camp is ideally located at the centre of Tralee Bay on the Wild Atlantic Way. Nearby are some of Irelands longest and unspoiled sandy beaches perfect for swimming and walking, great mountain walks, the Dingle Way long distance walk, ancient forts and some of the best and oldest stories of Irish Mythology

The Tralee Bay is relatively shallow so most beaches such as Derrymore and Killeltin are perfect for bathing and importantly are a few degrees warmer than most in Ireland. Only a short drive from camp is one of Ireland most spectacular and accessible mountain walks, Caherconree Fort and Mountain. Visit the Kileltin Ancient Oratory on the Dingle Way, birdwatching on Derrymore nature reserve, cycle the Caherconreee mountain pass, climb the Curraheen Derrymore Loop walk and Baurtregaum mountain, and if you have any more energy just stroll along over 20km of sandy beaches in either direction.

Home to one of Irelands oldest written place names, Caherconree Fort, the Camp area is also associated with several stories of Irish mythology from various times in Irelands history of invasions including Cu Chulainn and the Red Branch Knights and the Milesians legends from around 1700 BC.

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  • Places to Stay in Camp: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment: coming soon
  • Local Walking Guide or Tour Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Blennerville

Just outside Tralee at the mouth of the river Lee is the village of Blennerville with one of the Bay Area’s most famous of landmarks, the Blennerville Windmill. One of Irelands few windmills, it is now home to a museum, exhibition gallery, craft shop and restaurant, a bird watching platform with telescope overlooking 'Slí na nÉan' ('the Way of the Birds') and one of Irelands largest model railway displays.

Climb to the top of the windmill for great views of Tralee Bay and imagine how the nearby port was the last place many people saw when emigrating from County Kerry during the Great Famine (1845 to 1848) on the famous emigrant ship the 'Jeanie Johnston’ now based in Dublin.

The Dingle Way and North Kerry Way, some of Irelands best long distance walking trails pass through the village and it’s a great place to take a break for food. A short distance away, enjoy the Tonevane Loop Walk which overlooks Tralee Bay and while here why not try some horse riding on the Sliabh Mis mountains.

Famous for birdwatching, Blennerville and the Tralee Bay Wetlands nature reserve are home to many species of migrating birds such as the brent geese from October to April, curlew, redshank, ringed plover, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit and more.

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  • Places to Stay near Blennerville: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment: coming soon
  • Local Tour or Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Fenit and Spa

Less than 20mins from Tralee is the seaside village of Fenit, home to another of the Bay Area’s most famous landmarks, the iconic Fenit Lighthouse on Little Samphire Island and a great little holiday spot with lovely cafes, pubs, restaurants and places to stay. Before arriving in Fenit you will pass the village of Spa which has great pubs and restaurants and is located on the North Kerry Way walking route. Arriving in Fenit you can park near the beautifully sheltered and sandy Blue Flag beach which is perfect for families, sea swimming, sandcastles and watersports. Your kids won’t be disappointed to see that there is also a great playground at the beach and the all-important toilets.

From the beach take a short scenic walk over the pier, a great fishing spot, to Samphire Island, home to Fenit Harbour and Marina, which can cater for 130 sailings boats of all sizes. From here you can also join a charter fishing trip, take unique tour by boat to the historical Lighthouse, visit the Saint Brendan Heritage Centre and bronze statue.

Fenits maritime history stretches back to early Christian times, as the birthplace of St. Brendan the Navigator in 484 who is said to have discovered America 1000 years before Columbus and is now the patron saint of the US Navy. It also has ancient trading ties with Europe, with marauding Pirates and the Spanish Armada in 1583.

From the beach, Fenit’s 1.5km shore walk is one of Irelands most scenic, lined with seats and picnic tables overlooking the wild Atlantic, Fenit Lighthouse and the Brandon mountains. The pathway ends at an old pier but you can continue along the shore, visiting the most scenic bench in Ireland and on to Fenit Island and Castle. A short distance away in Barrow is the Tralee Golf Club, a world famous links course.

Fenit beach and harbour has always been a very popular swimming spot, now with a marked swim course is also home to the Tralee Bay Sailing Club, Open Water Swimming Club and annual Triathlons. Fenit has lifeguards on duty during the summer season and is probably one of the most wheelchair accessible holiday destinations in Kerry. Hopefully sooner rather than later, Tralee and Fenit will be connected by a wonderful greenway walking and cycling route.

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  • Places to Stay near Blennerville: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment: coming soon
  • Local Walking Guide or Tour Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Ardfert

Slightly inland but still on the Wild Atlantic Way is the Medieval Capital of Kerry, Ardfert village, once one of the most important places in Ireland. The village is blessed with the picture perfect ruins of Ardfert Cathedral built in 1111 AD, the Franciscan Friary and is only 5 mins from Banna Blue Flag Beach one of Irelands best beaches and recently voted No.1 on TripAdvisor. The Cathedral was built to replace a previous monastery reputedly founded in the 6th century by Saint Brendan, Ireland's first true adventure and navigator who is said to have first discovered America 1,000 years before Columbus. Recently restored, you can now take great guided tours.  Like most of Irelands ancient places, many of the local heritage sites predate Christianity and are part of our ancient pagan heritage, folklore and mythology.

Only 10 mins drive from Tralee, Ardfert is perfectly located to explore the surroundings area and is a great half way point of the North Kerry Way walking route. The village is also nicely located for scenic cycling loops from Tralee, Fenit, Banna and Ballyheigue and is only a few minutes from Tralee Golf Course in Barrow, one of Irelands and the worlds best links courses. If you are travelling with kids, there is also a great playground near the cathedral. If water sports is your thing then why not try surfing in Banna Beach, sailing in Fenit, shore angling in Barrow, bird-watching along the shore and much much more.

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  • Places to Stay near Ardfert: coming soon
  • Places for Food, Drink and Entertainment: coming soon
  • Local Tour or Guide: coming Soon
  • Other greats Things to See and Do in the Area: coming soon

Ballyheigue

 

 

 

Tralee is Ireland's Family Holiday Capital with loads of family friendly fun and great things to do for kids in all weather:
  • Best Beaches in Irelands - Over 70km of sandy beaches in the Bay Area
  • 5 Blue Flag beaches in the Bay Area
  • Watersports around every corner, from surfing to kayaking
  • Family Friendly walking and cycling routes including the Tralee Town Park, Ballyseedy Woods and more
  • Other family friendly walks including Tonevane, over 70km+ of beaches, Fenit Promenade, Canal to Blennerville
  • Explore the lakeside Glanteenassig Woods and climb the Stack Mtns (Hills!)
  • Several great Kids Playgrounds including Tralee Town Park, Ardfert, Cloghane, Ballyheigue, Camp, Castlegregory, Fenit, and more
  • Tralee Aquadome
  • Kerry County Museum with kids
  • Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre
  • Playdium Kids Adventure Centre
  • Buddies Bowling
Best Places to Visit and Top Things to Do around the Tralee Bay Area:
  1. Kerry County Museum
  2. Blennerville Windmill and Model Railway
  3. Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre
  4. Fenit Beach, Pier and Lighthouse Walks
  5. Tralee Town Park
  6. Aquadome Indoor Water Park
  7. Banna Strand Beach
  8. Tralee Golf Club
  9. Killelton ancient Oratory and ruined village
  10. The Playdium Kids FunZone
  11. Scotias Grave, Slieve Mish Mountain Valley
  12. Sea Fishing Boat Charter from Brandon and Fenit
  13. Short Mountain Scenic Viewing Spot
  14. Ardfert Cathedral
  15. Siamsa Tire National Folk Theatre
  16. St Johns Church
  17. Más an Tiompáin Ogham Stone
  18. Sás Creek, Brandon
  19. Ballyseede Woods
  20. Brandon Point
  21. Kerry Head
  22. Sean Óg's Pub - music and craic
  23. Caherconree Mountain and ancient Stone Fort
  24. Diving in the Maherees
  25. Horse Riding in Tonevane
  26. Surfing in the Maherees, Brandon Bay
  27. Blue Flag Beaches of Fenit, Castlegregory, Banna and Ballyheigue
  28. Swimming in
  29. Tralee Court House
Best Scenic Drives and Cycles around the Tralee Bay Area:
  • Tralee to Brandon Point
  • Tralee, Short Mountain and Caherconree Loop
  • Tralee to Dingle Loop
  • Tralee, Fenit and Ardfert Loop
  • Tralee, Banna, Ballyheigue and Kerry Head Loop
Best Long Distance Walking Routes Around Tralee:
Best Hikes and Walking Routes Around Tralee, Dingle and North Kerry:
The Best Cycling Routes around Tralee, Dingle and North Kerry
  • Tralee to Dingle Cycling Route - Loop 135km (1 day)
  • Tralee, Ardfert and Fenit Cycling Route - Loop 3 hours
  • Tralee, Short Mountain and Blennerville - Loop
  • Tralee, Short Mountain, Castlemaine and Caherconree Cycling Route - Loop
  • Tralee to Kerry Head Cycling Loop
  • Tralee Town Park Cycling Route for Kids - Loops
  • Ballyseedy Cycling Routes for Kids - Loops
Annual Events in Tralee and Bay Area
  • Tir Na Nog Children's Festival - March
  • The Banna Beast Challenge - Obstacle Race - April
  • Féile na mBláth at The Park Festival Tralee - June
  • Rose of Tralee Festival - August
  • Food Festival - September
  • Kerry Film Festival - October
  • Christie Hennessy  Music Festival - October
  • National Circus Festival of Ireland - November
  • Tralee Farmers Market - 10-2:30 Each Saturday near Brandon Hotel