Welcome to beautiful Tralee, Kerry’s vibrant, celebrated capital, bursting with over 800 years of living history. The town takes its name from the river Lee which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Tralee Bay. Founded by Anglo Normans in the 13th century, Tralee has evolved into the exciting, diverse and eclectic mix of tourism, culture, art and commerce it is today. Home to Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, the Kerry County Museum, with its interactive Medieval Experience and the world-renowned International Rose of Tralee Festival, Tralee offers visitors a unique experience rivalled by nowhere else in Kerry.
As the capital town in Kerry, and the market heart of the Kingdom, Tralee town is bustling with a mix of independently owned shops, big brand stores, galleries, artisan cafés and award-winning restaurants with scores of traditional pubs, not to mention the near-by miles of sandy beaches, water sports, nature- walks, hikes and trails, all making Tralee the perfect choice for your next holiday destination.
Surrounded by Tralee bay, experience the stunning views of never-ending blue-flag beaches like Banna, Castlegregory, Ballyheigue and Derrymore. Have fun and adventure, how about a surf lesson or a Wild Atlantic adventure with Wild Water Adventures? Or maybe play a round of golf at the renowned Tralee Golf Club in Barrow. For even more fun in the water, nowhere matches the excitement of the Aquadome, Tralee’s indoor water-leisure facility that boasts a tropical climate, fountains, lazy river and a roaring slide.
Heading south towards the Dingle Peninsula, you’ll find Blennerville Windmill and Visitor Centre, Ireland’s largest working, flour-grinding windmill, with the added attraction of a fully-functioning modal railway and an exhibition on the Jeanie Johnston. The bay at Blennerville, and as far out as Cockleshell Beach, is ideal for Bird Watching. Perch yourself on the edge of Tralee bay as the tide is out and admire the local population of sandpipers, egrets and herons. After a spot of twitching, stroll back into town along the scenic Lee Canal, just in time for a delicious dinner, skilfully prepared and locally produced in one of many local restaurants.
If you want to get even closer to nature, visit Tralee’s wonderful Wetlands Centre, a marshy sanctuary reclaimed from the briny waters where the Lee meets the Atlantic. It is a must for budding ecologists or anyone who just wants to connect with the environment. Take a guided boat-trip that meanders gracefully through reeds and rushes, observing birds in their natural habitat. Afterwards, hire a pedal boat for a jaunt around the lake or go water zorbing or try out the 30 foot rock climbing experience! All activities are suitable for children, teens and adults.
Further north, you will find Fenit, a pretty fishing village just 10km from Tralee. Its sheltered cove means it is a haven for everyone from open-water swimming enthusiasts and to toddlers. After a refreshing dip, order a pot of steaming muscles while the kids get stuck into the playground full of ocean-themed rides, then amble down the pier to check out the colourful display of boats in the marina. The Tralee to Fenit Greenway is set to open in 2021, yet another good reason to visit this lovely village.
If architecture and history is your thing, Tralee will not disappoint, a historic market town steeped in stories. There are so many wonderful nuggets to explore and all accessible on the Tralee App Self-Guided Tours, like the burial site of a mythical Egyptian queen at Scotia’s Grave, Denny Street’s Georgian architecture or the Rose of Tralee historic tour.
For a leisurely afternoon, take a stroll through the magnificent Tralee Town Park. The largest urban town park outside of Dublin, the park is famous for its captivating Rose Garden and and the award-winning Garden of The Senses. The kids will have fun dashing around from flower to flower trying to identify as many smells as possible. Obviously, no trip to a park would be complete without a ride on the swings. This playground features a zip-wire, climbing frame, slides, swinging basket and toddler area, plus benches for the adults to chat while the kids let off some steam.
If the weather isn’t suitable for outside pursuits, do not worry, there is still plenty to occupy the kids. Bowling Buddies and The Playdium, both in Tralee town, provide indoor adventure areas offering lots of fun and excitement. Crag Cave in Castleisland, an ancient fossil cave thought to over 1 million years old, and also houses Crazy Cave, an extensive indoor play arena for kids.
Your hiking boots will see plenty of action too. Tralee is basecamp to the incredible Kerry Camino stretching the length of the Dingle Way from Tralee to Dingle. For something more adventurous why not take on Ireland’s tallest mountains along Carrauntoohil and the MacGillycuddy's Reeks. There are also gorgeous woodland walks, including Ballyseedy and Glanageenty Woods. The latter covers an area either side of a steep, scenic valley divided by the Glangeenty river. Nestled among its forest and wildlife are seating areas, good for catching breath and enjoying picnics.
For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, The Irish Heart Foundation has developed a series of Slí na Sláinte walking routes around the country, especially designed for people of all abilities. You will recognise the routes by their blue and yellow signs posts. Tralee has one of the longest routes in the country measuring at just under 10km. The walk starts in the town centre at the gates of St. John’s Church. It is marked as moderate in terms of exertion and is a great way to discover Tralee.