Welcome to North Kerry

Ratoo Round Tower - Ballyduff. ©Jim Ballybunion Beach - Ballybunion. ©Jim Carrigafoyle Castle - Ballylongford. ©Jim

Top 10 things to do in North Kerry

Top 10 Thing’s to do in North Kerry


Listowel Castle

This is one of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Kerry. It was built in the 15th century by the Fitzmaurice’s and became the last bastion against Queen Elizabeth 1 in the First Desmond Rebellion. The castle stands on an elevation on a steep bank, overlooking the river Feale, above the location of a strategic ford. A substantial part of the front of the castle survives, consisting of two large square towers of four stories, standing almost to the original height of 15.3 metres, connected by a wall of the same height and linked together by an arch on one side. Guided tours are available.  

Google coordinates 52 ̊ 26'41.0"N 9 ̊ 29'10.9"W



As Listowel is known as the literacy capital of Ireland why not visit this fantastic building and get a tour while your there to see all the great poet’s that came from Listowel and the surrounding area’s. If by now you’re feeling the hunger pinch they serve fantastic scones, cakes, and there is dinner also.

Google coordinates 52°26'41.0"N 9°29'10.9"W


Ardfert Cathedral

This is another National Monument, it is a fascinating historical place on the grounds of a monastery originally founded by St.Brendan The Navigator, patron saint of the Diocese of Kerry and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Brendan features in the tale “Brendan’s Voyage” – a story of monks travelling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing to the islands and possibly reaching American shores in the 6th century. The museum on the grounds features an ogham stone and provides extensive and beautifully presented information on the history of the area.  

Google coordinates 52°19'43.6"N 9°46'54.0"W


Tobar na Molt (Wethers Well) 

When you’re finished with the cathedral why not visit a place of pilgrimage for centuries and the Ardfert Franciscan Friary also a National Monument, founded circa 1253 by Thomas Fitzmaurice, first Lord of Kerry. Make sure to bring you’re empty water bottles to fill them up with holy natural water that will keep you save and healthy on you’re trip.

Google coordinates 52°19'24.0"N 9°43'58.0"W


Ratoo Round Tower 

In Ballyduff. The Ratoo round tower was built about 1100 on a monastery site dating to the 6th century. One of the tallest and most beautifully proportioned Irish Round Towers, it features a door moulding capped with an unusual curvilinear design and a sheela-na-gig, which is the only example found in an Irish Round Tower. It is still not confirmed whether the tower was serving as a watch tower providing protection against hostile incursions or as a bell tower. In any case, the quality of the workmanship providing the sturdiness of the structure is amazing.

Google coordinates 52°26'34.0"N 9°39'01.0"W

Carrigafoyle Castle

Carrigafoyle Castle is a very fine example of 15th century building. The illustration in Pacata Hibernia shows the unique features of this castle. The castle was strongly built and ingeniously situated. Standing on the edge of the Shannon estuary on what was originally an island, Carrigafoyle Castle rises to five storeys with vaults over the second and fourth storeys. An unusually wide spiral stairs ascends in one corner of the tower which has small rooms as well as the main living spaces opening off it. The stone bawn wall at the foot of the castle contained a boat dock. One of the turrets in this wall seems to have been used as a dovecot where pigeons were kept for food. 

A wide spiral staircase of 104 steps leads to the battlements and in presentation and size it rivals Blarney Castle. It rises to 26.4 meters and gives an impression of great strength. In the forefront of the view from it, Carrig Island and Scattery Island can be seen across the broad estuary of the Shannon. 

Carrigafoyle Castle was the main stronghold of the O Connor Kerry, the principal chieftain of this barony named after him. For 400 years they were an important part of the ever changing political and military jigsaw of those times. From here O Connor Kerry was able to intercept ships going up the Shannon to Limerick, board them and take a part of their cargo. This practice continued until the middle of the 16th century. 

In the Desmond wars in 1580, the castle came under fire from naval artillery on land and sea, under the command of Sir William Pelham. Following a two day siege the castle was breached and taken on Palm Sunday 1580. All the occupants, comprising nineteen Spanish and fifty Irish were massacred. Opposite the castle is the medieval Church of Carrigafoyle which is built in the same style as the castle.

The O’Connor’s of Kerry also built the Friary of Lislaughtin. St Lachtin was the first to preach Christianity in the area. Various internal rooms and staircases are accessible. There are no visitor facilities, but this need not detract from the medieval experience of seeing the castle.

Google coordinates 52 ̊ 34'02.0"N 9 ̊ 29'35.2"W


Ballybunion Beach

Weather you in the mood to just relax with the wind in your hair and sand between your toes then the beach is the perfect place for you. So grab you’re sand bucket and the packet lunch for a day in the beach, hopefully the sun will appear the make the day even more enjoyable.

Google coordinates 52 ̊ 30'40.4"N 9 ̊ 40'37.7"W


Ballybunion Golf Course 

If you want to play one of the constantly top 10 most ranked golf course’s in the world then either the Old Course or New Course in Ballybunion is the place for you. A lot of famous people have graced the course with there company non other than former US President Bill Clinton himself. Why not follow in his great footstep (while not trying to get caught in the same place as him) as you walk these magnificent course’s.

Google coordinates 52 ̊  29'41.3"N 9 ̊  40'29.0"W



Once there make your way for the Bridewell Court house and jail. Tarbert Bridewell was built in 1831 and its elegant cut limestone exterior stands as a tribute to the fine craftsman of the early 19th century. For more than 100years it served as a Courthouse and Jail. The courthouse was used for the dispensing of justice with the cells and yards for the temporary confinement of prisoners prior to their removal to the County Jail in Tralee. There are also a lot of lovely walks and trails around here to which opens the doors to natural beauty along with peace and tranquillity. One such walk is The John F. Leslie Woodland Walk which overlooks Tarbert Bay is very popular. The walk is 6.1kilometers and takes approximately 1hour. The Flora of the woods is ever changing and every season is a beauty in itself. Since the walk was developed a large number of Trees have been identified and tagged. There is a great variety of Birds & Butterflies to be seen in the woods and along the Bay. Points of interest on the Woodland Walk include:

·         Tarbert Bridewell.

·         Memorial to the drowning victims.

·         Tarbert House

·         Tarbert Piers from which Dolphin boat trips are provided once booked in advance.


Google coordinates 52 ̊ 34'24.4"N 9 ̊ 22'35.8"W


Ballyheigue Beach 

Grab you’re wet suit, towel and swimming gear, surf or body board and head for a place of shear beauty with tranquill sea and sand. Ballyheigue beach is perfect for you’re picnic trip with the family. Go surfing or swimming and enjoy the beauty surrounding you. 

Google coordinates 52°22'43.4"N 9°49'45.6"W

North Kerry