Top Attractions in the Kingdom
By Cathriona Murphy
As I sit writing this, it is the most beautiful sunny day here in Tralee. The town is a hive of activity with students and workers filling the square on their lunchbreak, winter jackets swapped for shirts with sleeves rolled up, top button undone and sunglasses making a welcome return for spring/summer 2023. The sunshine almost filling us with a promise of long, hot summer days to come. With this in mind I began to think of summer weekends and how lucky we are to live in a county filled with so many exciting amenities and attractions. I have put together a list of my personal favourites to give you some summer inspiration! So if it’s a family day out, hen or stag activity or just a last minute day trip, read more to find out what you can do in the kingdom this summer!
AQUA DOME TRALEE
The Aqua Dome is one of Kerry’s most recognisable features and premier tourist attractions. Situated just on the outskirts of town, the Aqua Dome has provided years of entertainment and memories to families across the county and further afield. Over the past 28 years more than 4.5 million happy satisfied customers have experienced the facility. With features for the whole family to enjoy, visitors can enjoy swimming with the current, surfing the waves, relaxing in the lazy river, wrestling the river rapids, riding the sky-high flume slide and plunging down the outdoor falling rapids. Whirlpool spas, Bubble seats, Sprays, Cannons, Gushers, Geysers, Children’s pools and Bubble pools are all super attractions for everyone to splash in. With a team of lifeguards offering a constant presence, parents can rest easy knowing their family is in safe hands. The on-site café provides hot food, refreshing beverages and treats for all the family to enjoy after working up an appetite in the water. If you haven’t experienced the Aqua Dome yet, this is your sign to go visit it today! For more information contact 0667128899
Tralee bay Wetlands &
The Lakeside Café
Just across from the Aqua Dome sits the most serene and tranquil Tralee Bay Wetlands. An oasis of calm in the hustle and bustle of a town, this nature reserve is perfect for a walk with the family, a spot of yoga amongst friends, educational trips, the list is endless! The Visitor Centre gives you access to the Tralee Bay Wetlands Nature Reserve which offers a Guided Nature Boat Tour, 20-metre viewing tower, bird hides, nature boardwalk. The Activity Lake and Walkway outside the Visitor Centre can be enjoyed by locals, tourists, walking enthusiasts, nature lovers and families. Facilities at the Visitor Centre include: WIFI, Outdoor Toddler Playground, Toilets and Baby Changing Facilities. The centre’s contemporary design showcases timber frame construction from renewable sources while embracing the landscape it sits in. The large area of glass to the front of the centre captures the magnificent views over the activity lake in addition to maximizing passive solar gain making the building highly energy-efficient. The Lakeside Café offers a wide variety of fresh and local produce, prepared daily by the Chef to ensure the highest quality foods from pan to plate. Perhaps you and your friends fancy a coffee and a chat? Avail of the popular cake of the day special for just €5.50, enjoy a tea or coffee made by one of the expertly trained Baristas and a slice of the delicious, mouth-watering treat! For more information on the visitors centre contact 0667126700 or the Lakeside Café 0862408237
Dingle Ocean World
Situated on the stunning marina walk in Dingle is family favourite, Dingle Ocean World. Captivating audiences from birth to adult hood, this immersive, sensory rich experience is very special indeed. From the hypnotic grace of the Sand Tiger Sharks, the charming Gentoo Penguins or the hundreds of species of Fish, Otters and Turtles, there is something for everyone to see. With the most amazing staff on hand to answer any questions you may have about a particular species and to make your trip as educational and fun, this Aquarium has deservedly earned its reputation across the county of one of the top family attractions. If you time your visit right, you can witness one of the scheduled feeding times too! Don’t forget to pay a visit to the café or souvenir shop on the way out! Did you know you can also adopt an animal too? Now I don’t mean you can pop a penguin in the car and travel home! But for a very small fee you can adopt to help support the upkeep and care for the animals in the aquarium, when you visit you will see just how much work is involved by the amazing staff and how many endangered species call it home. For more information on ticket prices, opening hours and feeding times visit www.dingle-oceanworld.ie or call 0669152111
Whether you are living in or visiting Kerry, a trip to Skellig Michael is an absolute must. The Skellig Rocks, Skellig Michael (also known as Great Skellig) and Little Skellig, are towering sea crags rising from the Atlantic Ocean almost 12 kilometres west of the Ivereagh Peninsula. Located at the western edge of the European landmass, 1300 years ago, early Christian monks built a remarkable hermitage at the top of this jagged ocean crag – then at the furthest limits of the known world. This mysterious and awe-inspiring place – described by George Bernard Shaw as “part of our dream world” – is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It can be reached by the adventurous on a small boat, only when the weather allows from May to October. Recently finding new found fame with the filming of the Star Wars franchise on it, Skellig is just one of those bucket list places you have to see at least once in your lifetime. For more information on booking a visit contact
Ballyheigue and Kerryhead
If it’s a day at the beach then you can’t do much better than Ballyheigue Beach. One of Kerry’s many Blue Flag beaches, it offers a 2.5km stretch of golden sandy beach monitored closely by a team of life guards throughout the summer months. The carpark is so conveniently located parallel to the beach. If it’s a family outing, why not make use of the playground located in the beach carpark with swings, slides and climbing frames to wear your little dare-devils out or to work up an appetite! If its casual dining why not pop into the family run team in Shafi’s Takeaway and sample some of their famous fresh pizzas! (The Kebaberella – trust me you can thank me later!) Open from 5pm every evening in the summer, it’s the perfect place to grab some freshly made food for you and your family to enjoy, you could pop down to the picnic benches by the beach and enjoy dinner with the most amazing view! For the sporting amongst us, a visit to Ballyheigue Golf Course is an absolute must! Situated at Ballyheigue Castle with views of the Atlantic Ocean, it even hosted one of Irelands most star filled weddings of Ballyheigue native Don O Neill. If you are a bit more adventurous (and fitter!) why not hike the Kerryhead loop trail? You will be treated to scenery of the Atlantic on one side and the Shannon on the other across the coastline to County Clare. Be sure to bring water on the hotter days though! What a more perfect way to end a day like this than to pop into Claire and Pat in Flahives and enjoy one of their famous cocktails, the daquiri being a personal favourite!
Experience 1 million years of geographical wonder in this underground world and one of Ireland’s best examples of an open cave in Ireland. Crag cave is suitable for children and adults with so much to learn and experience. Crag Cave offers more than just a cave visit with a fun indoor play centre, restaurant, gift shop and some outdoor activities. Located in Castleisland with easy access from Killarney and Tralee, it is open throughout the year with a wonderful seasonal Santa experience in December. The cave was discovered in 1983 and opened soon after. There are guided tours of the cave available and it is recommended that children should be school age as there are steps and narrow passages in the cave. In the cave you can learn about cave formation, the development into a show cave and details about what the cave is composed of. Younger guests can enjoy the large play centre as part of their visit or a standalone visit. There is a large slide, crazy maze area, rope bridge, ball pools, a spiral slide and balls guns. The area is very safe and fun for kids up to 12 years of age. Supervision is on hand and parents can watch from the café area beside. On pleasant days there is an outdoor play ground with swings, slides and a tent shaped climbing frame. Located in the main building of the visitor centre there is a gift shop and restaurant. The gift shop stocks a range of jewellery, bags, ornaments and gifts. Many are made locally with some very nice items on sale. There is a souvenir range and toy section. The Garden Restaurant is open to all visitors and provides a menu with hot and cold options. Dinner and lunch items are served along with a tasty dessert range and choice of drinks. The kids menu has some nice options too. For more information visit www.cragcave.com
Star Outdoors Kenmare
On their website, Star Outdoors Kenmare have a mission statement saying “For you to have FUN, FUN, and then some more FUN!!’ This is an absolute guarantee here. Suitable for family days out, friend trips or even some fun with a difference on a stag or hen weekend! One of Irelands largest water parks comprising of a catapult, rope swing, climbing wall, trampoline, obstacle course, jungle bars and slipping wave. It’s great fun for all ages from 8 years old to 80. With activities such as a cruise around Kenmare bay, kayaking and crazy golf there is something for everyone! Feeling a bit more adventurous? How about a fast paced game of paintball! This would be ideal for larger groups especially those fun Hen or Stag trips! If you are feeling up to testing your fitness and stamina, then they will meet you with a daring challenge of their infamous activity, The Gauntlet! Find your way through the forest, crawling under tunnels and nets, master the monkey bars, balance beams and other obstacles to find your place on their leader board. After all of this strenuous but exciting activity, a visit to Con’s Bar and Restaurant is a must! For more information visit