An off-radar region in Kerry has been ranked alongside Alabama and Canada's Yukon, our Travel Editor reports
The Kingdom may have a new crown, with Rough Guides naming Kerry's Reeks District as one of the world's best places to visit in 2019.
The newly rebranded tourism region features at No.3 on the 'Six Regions on our Radar' list, behind Yúnnán in China and Argentina's Iberá Wetlands.
Canada's Yukon Territory, Jordan's Wadi Rum and Alabama, USA, round out the holiday hotspots "that most excite" the guides’ authors for the coming year.
"Kerry has been on the tourism map for so long, it’s easy to be jaded about the region’s beauty," Rough Guides says. But "the spectacular MacGillycuddy’s Reeks refresh the brand by taking you inside that postcard scenery".
Visitors can drive, walk, hike, climb, bike, kayak, surf and sail around the mountains, lakes and coast of a rugged region formerly marketed as 'Mid Kerry', it adds.
Killorglin's Puck Fair, Blue Flag beaches at Inch and Rossbeigh and the 1,038m Carrauntoohil are listed as highlights, as are its live music pubs, warm welcome and the "modern Ireland of trendy coffee shops, young designers and boutique B&Bs."
“We are both astounded and delighted to have been selected as one of Rough Guides Best Places to Visit for 2019," said Jens Bachem, Chair of the Mid Kerry Tourism Cluster, the not-for-profit which drove the re-branding in 2018.
"We always thought the Reeks District had much more to offer visitors."
The district stretches around Kerry’s Castlemaine Harbour from Inch Beach to Rossbeigh Strand. Locals are promoting it as an outdoors and adventure haven, rather than just a quick stop on the Ring of Kerry or Wild Atlantic Way.
One one of its standout stays, Ard Na Sidhe (above), was listed among The Irish Independent's 50 Best Places to Stay in Ireland last year.
Other 'Best Places to Visit' on the Rough Guides' 2019 list include Durban in South Africa, Japan’s Osaka, the Seychelles and Norway’s Tromso.