Kerry, in the extreme south-west of the country, has two contrasting types of land: in the south, a mountaineous area with three large hilly peninsulas - Beara, Iveragh and Dingle, while in the north, there's a smaller area of undulating plain, that stretches up to the Shannon estuary. The coast has both sandy bays and rocky headlands, while inland, there is a perfect blend of mountain and island-studded lake.
One of Kerry's chief attractions is the Ring of Kerry scenic route, covering over one hundred miles, that starts in Killarney, moves west to Sneem with its museum and crafts shop, goes through Caherdaniel, birthplace of Daniel O'Connel, and on to Waterville, famous for its excellent seafood restaurants.
Nature has everything to offer to the hill-walker, bird-watcher, water sports enthusiast, and while in Kerry, the Gap of Dunloe, a glacial valley, and Craig Cave, over one million years old, are marvelous places to explore.
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the last Gaeltacht areas in the country, where native Irish is spoken, and home to some of the finest scenery and unspoilt swimming beaches. Dingle is a busy town of this area, Ventry and Dun Chaoin come alive in summer, while Ballyferriter is a quiet village where the history and traditions of the place can be learnt and experienced. The nearest big town is Tralee, county town and home to the Rose of Tralee Festival every mid-August. The history of this region can be seen at The Ashe Memorial Hall in Tralee.
Dingle Bay has become the home of a dolphin named Fungi by the local fishermen, that has been living there happily and greeting tourist boats for years now. Boat and swimming trips can be taken from Dingle Pier daily.
Valentia Island offers great scenic views and it is best "savoured" in the off-peak season. It is a rocky island, with one village, Knightstown, and two 900-feet high mountains that offer a spectacular view of the Kerry coastline.
The Skelligs are only 10 miles off Valencia, and can be included in a boat tour of the whole area; the Great Skellig is known to be a real bird sanctuary. Ferries are available from the historic town of Cahersiveen, Valencia and the village of Ballinskelligs, popular destination for Irish tourists because it is tiny and isolated, and home to the Cill Rialaig artists' retreat, where artists are invited to spend a residency period, contributing a piece of their work to the centre afterwards.
On the coastroad from Tralee to Ballybunion, the seaside towns of Ballyheigue and Banna receive great numbers of tourists every summer. There are lots of activities for children, as well, and great fishing tours available. Ballybunion is famous for its beach, but mostly for its golf links, the Old Course, rated the 7th best course in the world.
Last but not least, the Magharees - the islands and the whole area stretching from Castlegregory to Brandon Head, and the Blasket islands, off the tip of Dunmore Head, should not be forgotten. The former, for the Kilshannig and Kilcummin beaches and for the great windsurfing there, and the latter, for the extreme natural beauty they offer, in spite of the vicious Atlantic weather.
Kerry's coastline and its collection of lakes offer water activities of all types, and the most famous places for fishing are the Lakes of Killarney, the Feale River near Listowel (also renowned for horse racing) and Lake Currane in Waterville.