We have already planned your perfect Family Staycation for you! Pack your luggage (and your kids) and follow our family friendly itinerary through South-West Kerry where adventures galore abound. Horse-riding, kayaking, island exploration, paddle boating, picnic and close encounters with birds of prey await you on your family fun adventure in Kerry.
A very warm welcome awaits you in the child-friendly 4* Sneem Hotel. Drop off your luggage and head straight for a 90-minute sea-kayaking adventure along the beautiful Kerry Coastline.
All trips are led by highly experienced guides and complete beginners are welcome. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult so suit up and dive in (figuratively speaking of course).
A hearty dinner is well deserved afterwards & you can enjoy it overlooking Sneem Bay at the wonderful Fisher’s Restaurant.
Today a visit to the charming village of Glengarriff is on the cards. On the way, your first photo stop is at Molly Galvin’s Cottage, which, at over 150 years old, still retains all of its old world charm.
From Glengarriff you will take the ferry to Garnish Island, famous for its awe-inspiring gardens. On the way you may spot a few seals, lolling about or getting a tan on the rocks of (you guessed it) Seal Island. Once you land on the 15-hectare island, a lush garden of rare beauty awaits. Filled with an array of exotic plants from dahlias and delphiniums to bamboo and rhododendron, the iconic central garden was inspired by ward Mediterranean landscapes.
There’s an opportunity to have a little lunch on the island before continuing on the windy country road of the Healy Pass towards Kenmare, a cozy, picturesque town with wonderful little craft shops, cafes and pubs.
A magical place full of mystery & intrigue awaits you in the town itself at the Kenmare Stone circle or ‘The Shrubberies’ as it is known locally. On your way there, you’ll wander down a charming laneway where it is easy to imagine yourself in times past.
Today we recommend taking the road along the Ring of Kerry via Molls Gap and Ladies View toward Killarney National Park. There are many possible stops along the way but the iconic Torc Waterfall should definitely be on your list. Legend has it that the waterfall was named after its creator (Torc meaning boar in old Irish) a man cursed by the devil to spend each night transformed into a wild boar who lived in a cave beneath the cliffs of the mountain. The devil seems to play a prominent role in the area as the falls are fed by the Devil’s Punchbowl lake at the top of the mountain…
Just beyond lies Muckross House & Gardens where you can wander and even explore the noteworthy Muckross Abbey, an old Franciscan friary ruin hailing from the 15th century.
After exploring the parkland area around the house, walk down to Dundag Pier. From there we have organised a boat, which will bring you on a 20-minute trip across Muckross Lake toward Dinis Cottage. Originally built as a hunting lodge, it has hosted the likes of Queen Victoria and her cohorts! Today though, it is you who will be served, and you can enjoy tea and scones while overlooking the lake.
Afterwards, stretch your legs with a short stroll to the Meeting of the Waters. You will be collected again from Dinis Pier and brought back to Muckross House by boat. From here you can walk to Muckross Abbey and explore its 15th century ruins, take a jaunting cart through the park or just relax on the green. If you’re feeling like a swim, take a dip at Dundag – it might get a little nippy though!
A private walking guide can be organized in advance, who can show you the hidden gems of the park such as a Ring Fort in one of the oldest Yew Woods in Europe or a mysterious cave (your children will love it).
Cash in your voucher for your meal in Muckross Restaurant where the kids can play outside in the gardens while you relax and enjoy your lunch.
Afterwards head on your private hawk walk and owl encounter – perfect for any budding zoologists! Through this unique and fascinating experience, you will have the opportunity to have a close encounter with these magnificent birds all while taking a leisurely stroll, through the meadows of a working farm, with Killarney’s famous mountain range visible in the background.
After being initially introduced to the hawk (you’ll be on a first name basis in no time) and as soon as you are comfortable, you can cast it free from your hand, with the assistance of your own personal guide of course.
At your command, it will come swooping through the old Irish oak trees and alight on your hand. After the walk has finished, some of the friendly owls can be handled and fed (they are mad for a selfie!)
The fastest way back to Sneem is via the small village of Kilgarvan. If it sounds familiar, you’ll soon realize why. You may notice 1 or 2 signs mentioning a few local politicians….
Today you will experience a fantastic day full of activity, fun and laughter. Your family water adventure begins on Kenmare Bay where we have organized pedal boats for you. Don’t worry if you can’t swim, life jackets are provided. Once children are over 3 years of age, they can come along making this the ultimate family activity.
Your relaxed trip around the bay is followed by the opportunity to use the water park. The kids can slip and slide on the water while you relax on the side lines.
Have a bite to eat in Kenmare. Our personal favorite is Maison Gourmet, a wonderful little café where you can also grab food & drinks to go. If you are still full of energy after lunch, you can take a 10 minute drive to the Riding stables (optional).
You can choose from one of the following:
A 40 minute ride suitable for adults and children alike and for anyone nervous. Suitable for small children from 4 years upwards. This ride gives riding instruction in the arena and then leads along fields and through woodland to a small strand for photographs. €20 per person, contact the Riding stables directly to check availability: Dromquinna Riding Stables Tel. 064 664 1043
A 1.5 hour horse trek. This ride gives instruction in arena before setting of to the sea (provided low tide is offering) and /or the beautiful mountains of Kenmare Bay to give you a delightful vista of the whole Kenmare Bay out into the open ocean. €45 per person
After a hearty breakfast, lunch boxes along with your very own take-home picnic blanket & basket will be provided for you and you will then drive to Caherdaniel to take in the scenery at one of the most beautiful places in the South West of Ireland. You can explore Derrynane House & Gardens as well as the nearby beach of Derrynane. Prince Charles and Camilla also visited Derrynane House & Gardens during their last stay in Ireland in 2018.
At the “end” of your walk along the beach you will find Derrynane Abbey, an old monastery ruin with a cemetery. From there you have a great view back to the beach, perfect for a photo op (make sure to check out the tide times in advance).
Enjoy your picnic, walk through the shallows or maybe if you’re feeling brave, jump right in! (As it’s a relatively sheltered bay, the water is usually very pleasant.)
All packed up and ready to go? Leave early and make your way to Killarney where you can spend a few lazy hours perusing the shops and visiting the many wonders of the Killarney National Park before heading for home. We hope you enjoyed your staycation break.