THE CARAGH LAKE AREA
Here is some information about Caragh Lake and the surrounding areas as well as Killorglin, the gate to the scenic Ring of Kerry. On this website we collected a lot of information you might find useful during your holidays or if you just moved to this lovely place.
Shopping, medical doctors, pharmacies, pubs and restaurants, sports, daily excursions as well as some suggestions as to what sightseeing there is around the beautiful Caragh Lake.
ABOUT CARAGH LAKE (LOUGH CARAGH)
Caragh Lake is located between the lively town of Killorglin and the village of Glenbeigh, north of the McGillicuddy Reeks. It is one of the many freshwater lakes in Kerry that is included within a large Special Area of Conservation. The lake developed in a deep valley through which the Caragh River was dammed. It is a great spot for fishing and recreational boat trips, surrounded by the stunning landscape of the McGillicuddy Reeks. The highest mountain on the island of Ireland -Carrantuohill- can be seen particularly well from the western shores of Caragh Lake.
Killorglin is a small busy town with a population of about 2.000 residents. Although many things have changed over the last couple of years, it is relatively unaffected by tourismus and the hassle of modern life.
On the following pages you will find usefull infomartion about shops and services in Caragh Lake and the town of Killorglin.
RECOMMENDED DAY TRIPS IN KERRY
Killorglin being the gateway to the famous "Ring of Kerry" is an ideal starting point to explore the Southwest and South of Ireland.
You will have brought your own travel guide, however, here are just a few hints for comfortable day trips in the beautiful Southwest.
Ring of Kerry” - Don’t just drive the “Ring”, there are a number of beautiful coves, bays and beaches just off the Ring (King’s Head bei Kells Bay, Kells Bay, Castlecove, Caherdaniel, Cove Harbour, Bannow Harbour, etc. etc.)
Charlie Chaplin spent many holidays in Waterville (Butlers Arms Hotel), George Bernard Shaw chose Sneem when in creative phase. Go down to Derrynane beach and Daniel O’Connell (The Liberator) House, or to Staigue Fort (about 5 km outside of Castlecove) from ca. 500 BC and one of the best maintained ring forts in Ireland. Perhaps you have time to go down to the many fjord like romantic coves along the peninsula. Enjoy a cup of tea in the beautiful old world Parknasilla Hotel on the seashore ca 3 km after Sneem. Kenmare, or Neidin (the little nest), is beautifully located and has become one of the main tourist resorts in Ireland, it offers first class hotels (Park Hotel, Sheen Falls) many good restaurants and tranditional Irish Pubs, plenty of shops offering souvenirs for every taste.
Killarney for all kinds of shopping, Muckross House and Abbey and Muckross Garden, perhaps also Muckross Traditional Farm - a step back into the time before electrification and mechanisation into life of rural Ireland in the 1930th. Killarneys Nationalpark comprises ca. 10,000 hectares, it has a multitude of plants from all corners of the world, Irland’s last remaining oak and yew tree forests, 140 different kinds of birds, red and sika deer, and a vast amount of antiquities (Innisfallen Abbey on Innisfallen Island from the 7th century, Ross Castle 15th century, Muckross Abbey from 1448, Muckross House 1843, Castle Lough 13th century, Killegy Church and cemetery) . The rhododendron and azeleas are overwhelming in May and June. For ca Euro 40 pp you can hire a jaunting car to go to Muckross House and Garden, the trip takes about 1 ½ hour and gives you a half hour in Muckross house.
- The trip Gap of Dunloe and Lakes of Killarney is an experience – leaving Killarney around 10.15 (O’Connors Pub, 7 High Street Killarney, ), by bus to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, ca. 7 miles through the Gap of Dunloe, a beautiful unspoilt valley – ca 2 ½ hours on foot - (or by trap and pony), pause at Lord Brandons Cottage, thereafter by traditional Lake Boats through the Killarney lakes to Ross Castle and back to Killarney. –
- A beautiful excursion is a trip through the Kerry Highlands, Ballinskelligs and Valentia Island. Go around Caragh Lake, start either on the eastern shore , up via ‘Devil’s Elbow’ look back and enjoy the beautiful views of Caragh Lake, continue on to the T-junction, go right towards Glencar (from Glenbeigh direction take the western side of the lake ) through the beautiful Highlands of Kerry, Ballagisheen Pass towards Waterville.
From here take the scenic route along Ballinskelligs Bay - Ballinskelligs is part of the Gealtacht Area. Drive on towards Bolus Head – enjoy the beautiful views. The old village Cail Rialaig goes back to the famine times it has been and still is renovated and the houses are rented out to international artists to work in this totally unspoilt environment. The road ends about 3 – 4 km futher on, along the road you will find ogham stones, clochans, high crosses, etc. Go back now to Ballinskelligs Bridge along St. Finian’s Bay to Portmagee. Here a bridge crosses over to Valentia Island.
The official old name of Valentia is Oilean Dairbre, ‘the island of the woods’ and it is said that the valleys were heavily wooded with oak trees. Indeed all of Kerry was heavily wooded up to the 17th century when the timber was needed for shipbuilding and iron melting. There are only very few trees left now and they are battered by the strong winds. Except for in Glanleam Forest, trees are a rarity on Valentia. However where there is shelter the mild moist climate is ideal for growing subtropical sensitive plants.
- Megalithic Tombs, Standing Stones and Ringforts are plentiful in Ireland (ca. 40.000), they were the ‘residences’ of the landlords and farmers in the old Ireland. A good example can be seen in Leacanabuaile near Caherciveen (over Caherciveen Bridge, then left). Many of the forts onValentia are destroyed and only the remains can be found. – Drive along some of the small roads, Bray Head, the most westerly point with a 260 m cliff, Culloo Head on the North side , Reenadrolaun Point, another cliff. Drive towards Knightstown and go to Glanleam just before it. Visit “Glenleam Gardens” protected by the winds and due to the golfstream fern trees, mimosa, myrthe, trees and bushes from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand feel at home here.
- In 1866 the first telegraphic line went from Valentia Island to America, die Cable Station Offices and Houses in Knightstown are witness of those times. The most westerly location of Europe make Valentia an important weather station for Northern Europa, Valentia Radio (in the Northeast of the Island) and Lifeboat (from Renard Point) operate around the clock and serve shipping along the whole of the Southwest coast of Ireland. The high quality Valentia slate, from Geokaun quarry (nowadays ‘Lourdes Grotto’) and Dohilla, the old mining village, was exported to London and America in the 19th century, the British Houses of Parliament are roofed with Valentia slate, Everywhere in Valentia slate is found in walls, pillars, benches, on roofs, etc. The quarry has been reactivated recently, flags are cut, benches, tables etc made and exported as far as England and the States.
After your visit to the exotic Glenleam Gardens take the ferry from Knightstown across to Renard Point, the ferry goes back and forth every few minutes. Try and get there for around 5 or 6 p.m. and enjoy a meal in “The Point” The fish is excellent.
- Skellig Islands – Not to miss when a nice day is forecast. An 1 ½ hour boat trip from Portmagee, Valentia or Caherciveen. Make sure it is a boat that allows you to get onto Skellig Michael. An unforgettable day out. Take an anorak, good shoes and sunblocker.
- Beara, the wildest of the peninsulas. – Go to Kenmare past Cloonee Lakes whose neighbourhood is one of the most important botanical areas of Kerry , Saxifrages, Pinguicula Grandiflora und Arbutes can be found here as well as remnants of indegenious forests. Just beyond Lauragh are the subtropicacal impressive “Dereen Gardens”. After that take either the Healy Pass – offering one of the most impressive views of Ireland – or drive along the coast through the wonderful unspoilt countryside with little colourful villages such as Eyeries, Allihies, Casteltownbere, Adrigole onto Glengarriff. Small boats go from Glengarriff to Garnish Island with its Italian Gardens; insist on going past the ‘Seals’. From Glengarriff back to Kenmare . If you have enough time and feel like it go back through the mountains via Ballaghbeama Pass/Glencar, via Caragh Lake back to Glenbeigh.
- Dingle Peninsula – (chose a nice day, good weather). Don’t miss Slea Head, the bee hives and maybe the Blasket Islands, Gallarus Oratory, from 750 AD. The coastal road is beautiful via Smerwick Harbour, Ballydavid, perhaps as far as Brandon Creek, a small cove, from where in the 6th century St. Brendan, the sailor, set sail in his leather boat for America. Legend says that his 7 year voyage, 1000 years before Columbus, 400 before the Vikings brought him to the promised land. – From here go back to Dingle. Dingle the most westerly town of Europe is an important fishing port, a lovely colourful town with many good restaurants, tranditional olde world pubs (“Dick Macks” Pub opposite the church), Dingle Ocean World and of course “Fungie” the world famous dolphin, who took up residency in Dingle many years ago. Go back to Killorglin either via Inch again or over the Connor Pass (a beautiful trip with magnificent views of Dingle Bay and Brandon/Tralee Bay). The Northern part of the Dingle Peninsula has beautiful sandy beaches and is an surfer’s paradise. Via Tralee back home.
- The Great Blasket – (Try and pick a nice day it is worth it.) The ferry from Dunquin Pier goes every hour (ca. 20 minute trip), die last ferry in the evening leaves the island around 17.00 o’clock. The last people left the island in 1953 and moved to the main land. Maurice O’Sullivan in “20 Years A Growing” , Tomas O’Crohan in “The Islandman” and Peig Sayers in “An Old Woman’s Reflections” give a good description of the island life in those times. The poeople were poor and the only thing plentiful on the island were stones. Furniture was made from stranded timber, clothes from sheep wool. There was no church, no school, no shop or pub.
In the summer there is a small souvenir shop on the island and a “Café” offering a cup of tea and scones. So far, the island is totally unspoilt, a walk along the coast with magnificent views is an unforgettable experience. Enjoy the day. Walking shoes recommended, an anorak and sun cream and of course the camera and binoculas if at hand.
The Blasket Centre near Dunquin offers ample information on the life on the island, its people and why and where to they emigrated.
The Map Nr. 78 of “Discovery Series” (1:50,000) is for the Killorglin / Caragh Lake / Glenbeigh up to Killarney and Kenmare and is well suitable for walking as well.
WALKING – Hillwalking is very popular in Ireland, enjoy beautiful walks through unspoilt countryside.
- Part of the Kerry Way – around Seefin Mountain - takes about 2.5 to 3hrs and offers the most beautiful views.
- Rossbeigh Strand is ideal for casual walking, c. 1.5 hours around the now broken “spit”.
- Caragh Lake, a boat can be hired (Dan O’Connor at the western shore of the lake)
- Licences are required for the rivers, ask Sean O’Connor of the “Atlantic View” on Ring of Kerry road before Glenbeigh, he sells licences
- Fishing from Rossbeigh beach is popular in the evenings
- Fishing for mackerel, conger, pollack from Kells Bay or Valentia Island
- Or Deep Sea Fishing from Valentia, Portmagee, Renard Point, Kells Bay etc.
GOLF – The area is a paradise for the golfers all year round.
The closest courses are Dooks, Killorglin and Beaufort. All three are only 15 minutes away. Killarney is about 25km or ½ hour, Tralee or Waterville takes a 1 hour drive and Ballybunion takes a bit more than one hour
- Dooks, Glenbeigh, Links Course
- Beaufort, Churchtown, Parkland Course
- Killorglin, Parkland Course
- Killarney, 3 Lakeside Courses
- Dunloe, Gap of Dunloe, Beaufort, 9-Loch Parkland
- Tralee (Barrow), Links Course
- Ballybunion, 2 Links Courses
- Waterville, Links Course
EQUESTRIAN – there is horseback riding sessions available at Burke’s Horse Trekking Centre, on the way to Rossbeigh, additionally Killarney has good stables.
The outstandingly beautiful scenery and unspoilt countryside, the many outdoor facilities, such as golf, fishing, walking, etc., the peace and tranquillity of Caragh Lake make this an ideal holiday retreat and a very desirable area to live in.
LAKESIDE VILLA TO RENT
On the shores of Caragh Lake this spacious villa offers a magnificent retreat for a group of friends, golfers, hikers or the like. Find out more...
BELLS COTTAGE TO RENT
'BELLS COTTAGE', a traditional Kerry farmhouse, very cosy and comfortable, a bright and friendly holiday home on 6 acres of private grounds with lovely secluded gardens around the house. Find out more about this beautiful retreat.