It’s difficult for us to be impartial, but we honestly believe some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland are located along the Kerry coast and luckily for us, Tralee has several of those gems dotted along the shore to the north and south, all within a short driving distance of The Rose Hotel.
Depending on what you want – sun, sea and sand or fun on the water (sadly, we can’t guarantee the sun) – follow the Wild Atlantic Way signposts and you will hit upon the perfect spot for you. Here are some of our favourites:
Embrace the unspoilt, wind-swept beauty of this stunning, blue-flag beach located just 12 km from The Rose Hotel. This historically important beach inspired the song ‘Lonely Banna Strand’, a famous folk ballad that gives the account of Roger Casement’s arrest on this very beach during the Irish Civil War. Nowadays, the strand is famed for its crystal clear waters, soft white sand and excellent surfing conditions. Free car parking available.
A few miles further north along the coast will bring you to Ballyheigue, a spectacular, sandy, blue-flag beach popular with families, locals and tourists alike. At the far end of the beach is the Black Rock, a small island cut off from the main beach when the tide is in. Climb it for an amazing view of Ballyheigue Bay, Tralee Bay and the Brandon Mountains. Ballyheigue village is pristine and has several family-run pubs offering legendary hospitality, local knowledge and a decent pint.
This pretty fishing village is just 10km north of Tralee and features a calm, sheltered Blue Flag cove, ideal for swimming enthusiasts and perfect for families with small children. The playground is full of ocean-themed rides, plus there’s a myriad of colourful boats and yachts to admire moored in the marina at the end of the pier. Wild Water Adventures, an award winning family business specialising in water sports, operates from Fenit Pier. They lead scenic kayaking tours around Fenit Lighthouse at sunset, or as the moon rises, as well as lots of other high-octane water adventures. All necessary equipment is provided. Also, St Brendan is said to have set sail from this spot on his voyage to America somewhere around 512 AD and there is a bronze statue to commemorate the event overlooking the shore towards the West. Free car parking and serviced toilet facilities are available too.
Derrymore Strand is a short drive from the hotel as you head West. This quiet beach, popular with walkers and sea swimmers, lies between the Slieve Mish Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, and tucked away to the east, you’ll find a nature reserve that supports many rare, indigenous plants and provides an important roosting area for shore birds. The name Derrymore comes from the Irish doire mór, meaning ‘great oak grove’.
Inch Beach is world-famous for providing the epic backdrops for the films ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ and ‘The Playboy of the Western World’. The breath-taking panoramic views of Inch Beach and the Dingle Peninsula delight all who holiday in this beautiful part of Kerry. Popular with surfers, anglers and swimmers, this is a Blue Flag Beach, with lifeguards on duty during the summer season. Surf schools, water sports equipment and wetsuit hire are available on site.