Loop Head to Tralee:103 miles / 3 hours 20 minutes at 30mph
Loop Head to Foynes
Welcome to Loop Head. Recently voted “The Best Place to Holiday in Ireland” by Irish Times readers, there are incredible scenes around every corner. On a clear day at the
Loop Head Lighthouse, you can enjoy panoramic views that sweep from the Blasket Islands in County Kerry to the Twelve Bens in Connemara. This place is something special, and a night in the Lightkeeper’s House, surrounded by seabirds, churning Atlantic surf and rugged coastal vistas is something to remember.
The connection with wildlife carries through to the Shannon Estuary, where conservationists Sue and Geoff McGee of
Dolphinwatch will bring you up close to the area’s resident dolphin population. Next, discover the incredible story behind the “Little Ark” at Moneen Church in the small fishing village of Kilbaha. Pass through the pretty heritage town of Kilrush before arriving in Killimer, where you’ll cross into County Kerry on the car ferry.
Loop Head Cliffs, County Clare
Body and mind refreshed, make for the
Killimer car ferry and cross into County Kerry via the pretty coastal town of Kilkee, once a favored bathing place for the Victorian elite.
Leave the car ferry at Tarbert, and swing east into
Foynes, County Limerick, where a chunk of aviation history and a very special coffee lie in wait. It was here, at Foynes airport, where Chef Joe Sheridan was asked to prepare something “to warm the passengers” whose plane had returned to Foynes after several hours flying in bad weather. The result: the first-ever Irish coffee.
The story is brilliantly told at the
Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum, which is housed in the airport’s original terminal building. And with a mix of clandestine war stories, a 1940s cinema and a meticulous replica of a Boeing 314 PAN AM Clipper Flying Boat, it’s definitely a unique and unexpectedly entertaining spot.
Meet Loop Head – an award-winning holiday destination. Pick your way along this rugged but welcoming peninsula taking in portable churches, dizzying cliffs and super-fresh seafood suppers along the way.
RIB Tours on the Shannon Estuary
The folks at Shannon Estuary RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) Tours describe the Shannon as Ireland’s longest river (which it is) “falling into the Atlantic after 200 arduous miles”. Before that, as you’ll find out on a RIB tour, it buzzes with bottlenose dolphins, Viking graveyards and crumbling monasteries.
Foynes to Tralee
From Foynes, head due west to Fenit. Along the way, you can enjoy the golden beaches and stunning cliffs walks at Ballybunion, and if time allows, visit Ballyduff, headquarters of Samantha and Sean Lyons’
North Kerry Heritage Trails.
In Fenit, explore the story of one of the most famous Kerrymen: Saint Brendan the Navigator. His story encompasses encounters with sea monsters and devils, and a grand quest for the “Isle of the Blessed”, which some believe to be North America. A truly dramatic statue at Fenit Pier and a lavish stained-glass window at Fenit Church have enshrined his legend.
From here, it’s a short distance to the well-known town of Tralee (famous for its
Rose of Tralee festival in August). Traditional culture and entertainment is enjoyably celebrated in town at Siamsa Tíre, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre.