Saturday 1 October 2016

24 hours in Kenmare: The 'thinking man's Killarney', says Lonely Planet

Perfect Day

Arlene Harris

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

Kenmare shop fronts
Kenmare shop fronts
Afternoon tea at Sheen Falls Lodge
A seal in Kenmare, photo Ricky Harris
Kenmare Bay

Lonely Planet has dubbed Kenmare 'the thinking man's Killarney'. Our visitor picks a brilliant base for her Kerry adventure.

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10am: Hit the water

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Star Outdoors Adventure Centre is a fantastic place to spend a few hours. Kitted out with wetsuits and footwear, energetic family members can enjoy kayaking, pedal-boating and other pursuits - while those who prefer to stay dry can take part in crazy golf, archery and obstacle courses.

The Star of Kenmare operates bay cruises several times a day too - like us, you may be lucky enough to see families of seals and dolphins.

How: staroutdoors.ie; cruises from €18/10pp.

2pm: A ramble around town

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Kenmare is a bustling town with a continental feel throughout the year. Shopfronts are brightly coloured and adorned with flowers and, when the sun comes out, restaurateurs set tables and chairs in parking spaces on the road (what a wonderful attitude the traffic wardens must have).

There are plenty of options for eating out - try Packie's for a treat - but if you simply want an inexpensive indulgence, Kenmare Ice-creams has a wide range of scrumptious, homemade delicacies.

How: kenmare.com; discoverireland.ie

4pm: Afternoon tea

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For those with a little more cash to splash or something special to celebrate, we found the five-star Sheen Falls Hotel to be the epitome of luxury.

Palatial rooms, fine-dining and plenty of acreage for rambling, clay-pigeon shooting and fishing add up to an opulent stay, or simply book afternoon tea in the Sun Lounge for a three-tiered treat (there's a Prosecco version, too).

How: sheenfallslodge.ie; afternoon tea costs €55 for two. A 25th anniversary package in April bundles B&B, dinner and afternoon tea from €310 for two.

8pm: Sleep like a dream

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The beauty of out-of-season holidays is the price - the Dream Ireland holiday home we stayed in was warm, cosy and inviting, and it didn't break the bank.

Building a fire, lighting a few candles and cooking a meal in a different kitchen was a hugely refreshing break for us, particularly as the houses are big enough for kids to camp out in front of the TV while mum and dad relax.

How: dreamireland.com; from €300 for two nights in May.

Top tip

Did you know Francis Brennan is running a Grand Tour of Kerry this April 4-6? See parkkenmare.com for details.

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