10 of our favourite things that we love about Kerry that you won’t get in Dublin.
Dubliners have been cracking jokes about ‘The Kerry man’ for years but there is no denying the Kingdom of Kerry has a lot to offer that you will never find in the Capital.
From stunning landscapes to quirky festivals there is nowhere quite like Kerry and although Dublin has the bright lights and hip city vibe, you might want to venture a bit further south for some alternative adventure.
Here are just 10 of our favourite things that we love about Kerry that you won’t get in Dublin.
10. The Gaeltacht
If you grew up in Dublin chances are you were sent to the Gaeltacht for three weeks of the summer to brush up on your Irish.
The Gaeltacht areas, mostly found along the west coast, are parts of Ireland where people still speak Gaelic as their first language.
The idea was that you would stay with a host family, speak nothing but Irish for three weeks and go back to school in September with a new flair for your native tongue. The reality was very different!
What really happened was you left the city with a busload of friends and got dropped off in the country, finding a new sense of freedom only found in rural areas.
You spent the next three weeks having the time of your life and would always remember your first experience of Kerry fondly.
9. Skellig Michael
Star Wars buffs will appreciate Skellig Michael as the setting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and more recently Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The iconic twin rocks can be spotted around 8 miles from the Iveragh Peninsula and are so popular they have been given the alternative name, ‘The Star Wars Islands’.
But the remote spot hasn’t only been home to Jedi. Beehive huts dating back to the 8th century suggest Christian monks first inhabited the islands.
Not to mention the wonderful colony of Atlantic puffins who flock to Skellig Michael during Spring and early Summer to breed.
As the puffins are an endangered species, the film crew was forbidden to restrict their free movement so they used the adorable birds to create new characters, Porgs, for the movie.
8. Kerry’s Eye
You might think a hot press release would be the last thing you would find in rural Kerry but you would be wrong.
The local paper, Kerry’s Eye, has everything from road accidents to birthday parties.
Anything worth talking about in Kerry can be found in the Eye so it is well worth a read before heading out for a night with the locals.
And sure if you stay around long enough, you might even find yourself on the front page!
7. Puck fair
Only in Kerry will you find not just the oldest festival in Ireland but also one of the most exciting celebrations in the world.
Dating back to Pagan Ireland and happening over two days in August, people gather in the town of Killorglin to honour a goat.
Puck, a mountain goat carefully selected from the hills of Kerry the week before, is paraded through the town, admired by the crowd and crowned the only King of Ireland.
With dancing, singing, stalls, food and lots of craic (not to mention a very handsome crown-bearing goat), this fair is hard to beat.
6. The Traditional ‘Shop-Bar’
For a truly authentic experience of the original Shop-Bar head to J. Curran’s in Dingle.
First opened on Main Street by the Curran family in 1871 it has been kept in its original design with a shop selling anything from wellies to spuds and a bar the other side serving the best Guinness in town.
Renowned for its toe-tapping atmosphere and entertaining barman, J. Curran’s has become extremely popular with tourists in the summer.
But whether you pay a visit during a quiet time to savour your pint in one of the snugs or cram in with the crowds for an after-hours session, it is an experience unique to the Kingdom.
5. The biggest collection of All-Ireland winner’s medals
As a Dub, I was slightly tempted to bypass this point but yes Kerry has the largest collection of All-Ireland winner medals.
The heroes in green and gold won their first All-Ireland in 1903 and have celebrated a further 36 titles since.
They have won the most of all the counties in Ireland and have claimed victory not only four times in a row but an additional three times running.
Dublin has won the All-Ireland 28 times. Moving on!
4. The Kerry Cow
The Kerry Cow is a very special breed of cattle and the only kind to be solely used for dairy. Its distinct all black colouring and white udder leaves it very easy to spot in the green fields of Ireland.
The Kerry Cow is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world, with evidence dating them as far back as 2000 BC.
To experience the distinct richness of this rare dairy cow, head to Murphy’s Ice-Cream shop in either Dingle or Killarney to taste the ‘Best Ice-Cream in the World’ (courtesy of the Kerry Cow).
3. A More Stunning Ring Road
Dublin may have a popular ring-road but it is fair to say it is nothing compared to the breath-taking beauty of the Ring of Kerry.
A 95-mile stretch that can be driven in 3 hours, the Ring of Kerry should be approached more like the road trip of a lifetime and enjoyed at a much slower pace.
The picturesque towns, breathtaking landscapes and traditional fairs along the way make for a fantastic adventure.
It is one of the best ways to experience the Kingdom of Kerry and when you finally arrive back at the starting point in Killarney you will just want to go round again.
2. ‘Lovely girls’
The Emerald Isle is full of ‘Lovely Girls’ and where best to celebrate them but at The Rose of Tralee Festival in Co. Kerry.
A 5-day long festival in August, hopefuls from all over the world enter to represent their country in a bid to be crowned the next ‘Rose.’
After 60 years, the competition is extremely popular and the winner is carefully selected according to her attributes as an ambitious young woman who can represent Ireland throughout the year.
And if that wasn’t enough, Kerry’s finest celebrity, Dáithí Ó Sé, has been presenting it on RTÉ since 2010.
1. Fungie the Dolphin
The pretty coastal town of Dingle in West Kerry has a very unlikely celebrity you definitely won’t find in Dublin.
Fungie the bottlenose dolphin has been entertaining the locals since 1983 and has claimed Dingle Bay as his own.
Fungie’s friendly nature and demand for human attention has caused quite a stir and attracts visitors from all over the world every year.
There are boat tours on offer to see the flippered friend for yourself, an experience so unique to Kerry it will stay in your heart forever.