Things to Do in Kenmare
The Ring of Beara is a circular road around the Beara Peninsula in southwest Ireland. It follows the coast and is about 85 miles around. The road begins in Kenmare in Kerry County, and you can go in either direction around the loop. The road passes through several small villages along the way, including Castletownbere, Bonane, Lauragh, Ardgroom, Eyeries, and Allihies. You can also see mountainous landscapes, jagged cliffs, waterfalls, lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and herds of sheep.
The Uragh Stone Circle, a neolithic stone circle with some stones reaching almost 10 feet tall, is also located along this journey. A few islands are located just off the coast of the peninsula. One in particular is Dursey Island which is reachable by cable car. Healy Pass offers the best viewing point on the Beara Peninsula. A rock tunnel called Caha Pass connects Kenmare to Glengarriff in Cork County. There is also a 122 mile walking trail for those who would rather take it slowly and see the area on foot.
On a grassy paddock just outside of the village of Kenmare sit 15 stone boulders — 13 standing upright and another two prostrate. These large stones arranged in an egg shape comprise one of the largest stone circles in Southwest Ireland, dating back to the Bronze Age. In the middle of the stone circle sits a dolmen with a capstone, often used to mark the burial place of a significant figure in the Munster region. Experts believe the capstone to weigh nearly seven tons, which would have required 30-odd men to drag into position.
The stone circle in Kenmare is one of over 180 in Ireland and of 20 in County Kerry. It’s the only one in the region to exhibit an egg shape.
No one knows quite how Cromwell’s Bridge in Kenmare got its name, but it likely wasn’t named after Oliver Cromwell. One popular theory about the stone bridge is that it was named ‘croimeal,’ the Gaelic word for ‘mustache,’ but when English-speakers overheard locals talking about the bridge, they assumed they were saying ‘Cromwell.”
However it got its name, Cromwell’s Bridge is one of several beautiful and ancient sites along the scenic Ring of Kerry. It’s located just outside the village of Kenmare near the Stone Circle, making it a convenient stop for visitors passing through the area.
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