There's no doubt about it: Ireland is studded with many hidden gems, and we've made it our duty to explore the best each county has to offer. In the lead-up to our Donegal special this July, we reminisce on what an amazing time we had in Kerry back in March (even if it did mean getting up well before 7am).
While most mornings start with flat hair and flat whites, there is nothing flat about the spectacular sunrise we witnessed from the peak of Carrantuohill. To maintain safety, especially at that hour of the morning, make sure to get the help of the Kerry Climbing team on your travels. If this isn't enough beauty to experience in one morning, Muckross House and its beautiful grounds are calling. With its stunning arboretum and traditional farms, it's enough to make you feel like true royalty. Sugar levels are probably hitting a low at this point, so we recommend having a moment with some melt-in-your-mouth truffles from Skellig's chocolate. You could even bring some home for your loved ones (or alternatively eat them on the way home - they'll never know!).
It's only just lunchtime in the Kingdom, so how does a stop in an authentic converted coastguard station sound? Amazing? Then food at Jack's just outside Glenbeigh it is! Afterwards, head to Inch beach to walk off the loved ones' chocolates you inevitably have devoured at this stage (sure, they would only have melted anyway!).
The Blaskets are the heartbeat of Kerry, so a boat ride out there is absolutely necessary. Head down to Dunqiun Pier to travel over - you won't regret it. After all of this travelling, it's definitely time for a cuppa: either head to Castlewood House for some homebaked treats or the Lake Hotel for panoramic views of Killarney. Either way, make sure to put your feet up and relax; the day's not over yet! Drop your bags off at The Europe, Killarney's five-star paradise, and head to The Lime Tree for dinner. Specialising in locally sourced gourmet food, it'll be certain to send you off with a full belly.
The day's nearing an end, so catch the unmissable sunset in Tigh TP wrapped in a blanket, holding a pint and looking out over Smerwick Harbour? There's a chance of seeing Fungi too, to sweeten the deal. And in case you hadn't eaten enough today (the country air really does make you peckish), grab some tapas at Sol y Sombra, a late-night feast in the candlelit old Killorglin church. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Want more regional tips? Check out our Donegal Special in the next issue of IMAGE, on shelves June 26th.