Is Killarney a safe home base for 3 nights in mid-February, to do day trips to Dingle and the Ring of Kerry etc.? I found some great B&B options there and want to go for it, but read that Killarney can be overcrowded even in April. How about February?
Where did you hear it would be overcrowded in April? Feb is well off-season so should be fairly quiet.
I doubt if you'll have much for crowds in April and certainly not in Feb. It gets crowded in June, July, Aug, Sept. Otherwise it shouldn't be an issue.
February shouldn't be a problem.
Killarney starts to get crowded around Easter, ie in April.
Thanks, sounds like Killarney is fine next month - I figured the rules are different in mid/late February than a lot of the rest of the year, we'll be the rare tourists and some things won't be open. I don't love crowds so this might work well for us.
Absolutely it is far more doable then than in summer. I think Rick Steves labeling it one of the ten worst tourist traps in Europe is more directed, though not entirely, to tourist season. Personally though I still wouldn't stay there. It does have quality food, pubs and music but is very very oriented towards maximizing getting every last tourist dollar possible and we find it very stereotyped leprachauny Ireland with many shops and restaurants being caricatures of Ireland. Just outside in Castlemaine, Kilorglin, Kenmare or other spots a bit further on like Waterville, Sneem or Ballinskelligs you get a much more down to earth real Ireland experience. Still tourist oriented in spots to be sure but not in the over the top way Killarney has.
If you are driving a car I would definitely stay elsewhere. If you are dependent on public transport and planning on tours and private drivers then Killarney, though far from ideal, is probably the easiest. But for real Ireland I'd if possible skip it.
Kenmare sounds better as a 2-day base but it seems pretty shut down in February, from what I can tell. I'll keep looking around for hotels or B&Bs. I think the goal here is to find a place with parking where we can walk to dinner and perhaps a pub. I found that in Doolin in Clare, as of today, and for a 2-night stay want something similar in easy drive of the ROK and Dingle. I'm open to suggestions.
I liked Kenmare for the RofK and the Beara Peninsula which is just down the road from Kenmare. We stayed just on the edge of town at http://www.ashfieldkenmare.com/ which was a mile or so walking from the pubs, completely safe IMO. Some of the guests walked others did the short drive and there was plenty of parking across from the church just 100 yards or so from the restaurant pub area, we did it both ways but found the easy parking and drive a breeze. We did late April for our visit and enjoyed Ashfield for a B&B and also the self drive on the laid back Beara Peninsula. For me Killarney ws a bit for larger town than what we found in Dingle and in Kenmare.
Thanks for the tip! That B&B is using the off season to do some refurbishing and expects to re-open in mid/late February. But am working on changing to Kenmare from Killarney, it seems more walkable which makes it easier to park the car then walk to a pub (I won't drink beer then drive, which impacts where we can stay as I'm the only driver in my group).
The itinerary you've posted on your other thread indicates that you want to include Dingle. If that's still the case then Kenmare, nice as it is, wouldn't be a good choice as a base. Wouldn't be as convenient for your drive north to Doolin either.
Kenmare is great for Beara and the southern part of the ROK - not so much for the northern part and Dingle.
Robert, thanks and agreed. I've decided that a place to stay that's walkable to restaurants near the hotel or B&B is more important than a good central base in Kerry. We probably won't drive all of the Dingle peninsula, and can focus on ROK area one day and then check out the eastern part of the Dingle peninsula and Dingle town on our way northbound if we want. I think Killarney also looks great but I was seeing more commercial type places in Killarney near possible lodging and would prefer to go more local and authentic, even if that means a little more driving to make up the difference. Kenmare seemed to make more sense than Dingle town as a base for that reason - at least in mid/late February.
True. Another strategic location would be to stay outside Killarney (which everybody recommends anyway) in the vicinity of Castlemaine - a good base for accessing the northern part of the Ring, the Gap of Dunloe, the Skelling Ring Road and Dingle. From there you could also head into Killarney to visit the attractions there but then leave it behind you in the afternoon.
Would be a shame to be that close and not drive the Slea Head Loop if it's a reasonably sunny day.
Thanks, turns out that Castlemaine seems to be shut down for the off season - 7 places to stay there, none with availability for February. Your post made me rethink Kenmare versus Killarney and will probably stick with the original instinct for Killarney. Kenmare has more atmosphere but will make it harder to easily choose between Dingle and ROK each morning.... and there is a downtown in Killarney so choosing a walkable hotel/B&B there seems fine especially when it's not high season with a lot of tour buses.