The Top Museums in County Kerry, Ireland

View of the Blasket Islands
View of the Blasket Islands | © Barbara Walsh / Flickr

Ireland is home to an array of surprisingly varied cultures for such a small and lightly populated country, and Kerry – a mix of ruggedly rural, hardened village life, tradition, and great sweeping landscapes – is one of the more captivating places to get really stuck in.

The southwest has no shortage of cultural hot spots to help you do so, either, and these museums – which range from rustic and slightly dated to shiny monuments to the county’s finest hours – are a great place to start. Here are Culture Trip’s favourites.

1. Kerry Bog Village

Museum

1. Kerry Bog Village
© Robert Linsdell/ Flickr

A real throwback to the Kerry of old, the Bog Village falls neatly on the Ring of Kerry, so is likely to be somewhere on the natural course of a trip to the county for most visitors. There’s a simplistic beauty to the whitewashed village, which is designed to showcase life during the Great Famine. The historic tragedy saw one million Irish die and another one million emigrate in the 1840s and 1850s due to a lethal combination of potato blight and offensively onerous landlord controls resulting from British occupation. As well as exploring traditional houses and old-world lifestyles, you’ll meet bog ponies and learn about turf extraction and bogland wildlife.

Kerry Bog Village, Quaybaun, Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 669769184

Kerry Bog Village, Ring of Kerry | © Robert Linsdell / Flickr

2. Kerry County Museum

Museum, Shrine

A glorious mishmash of Kerry history, the Kerry County Museum’s imaginative array of exhibits do everything from telling the county’s story through objects to exploring Tom Crean, the three-time Antarctic expedition member from tiny Annascaul (where the local pub is a shrine in his honour). There’s also a medieval experience – a colourful interactive offering – and an impressive selection of revolving exhibits each year. It’s a kid-friendly, imaginative local offering.

Kerry County Museum, 18 Denny St, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 667127777

4. Kilgarvan Motor Museum

Museum

One for the petrol heads, the Kilgarvan Motor Museum is a tiny, family-run spot that’s home to a slightly worse-for-wear selection of gorgeous old cars, from the 1960s bubble car, the BMW Isetta, to curvy Fords and Bentleys. In amongst them are ancient tractors and other motoring memorabilia. A little off-the-beaten track, Kilgarvan is something of a ‘living museum’ in that nothing’s tucked away behind too much of the protection you might expect at a museum. It’s a car-obsessed kid’s dream, and a great day out for a young family.

5. The Blasket Centre

Not actually located on the Blasket Islands, but right opposite them on the Dingle Peninsula mainland, The Blasket Centre hosts the story of centuries of life on the rugged islands, from a subsistence lifestyle to arts and entertainment. The islands have a literary heritage way beyond what would be expected for such a tiny community, and while they were evacuated of permanent residents for the last time in 1953, you’ll almost feel like the communities are still around you. The beautiful views don’t do any harm, either.

Dún Chaoin, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 669156444

View of the Blasket Islands | © Barbara Walsh / Flickr

6. The Celtic Prehistoric Museum

Museum

A fantastic collection of ancient artefacts, including a woolly mammoth skull, a nest of dinosaur eggs, a complete baby dinosaur skeleton and countless other fossils and objects from pre-documented humans, lives within the Celtic Prehistoric Museum. It’s not a large museum, and the practice of freely allowing guests to touch certain artefacts often garners some criticism from the locals, but with some attractions drawn from all over the world, it’s a far more broad and memorable historical aside than you might expect to find tucked away in rural Kerry.

7. Kenmare Heritage Centre

Kenmare
© Jessica Sheridan/ Flickr

Kenmare Heritage Centre, a cultural hub, is Irish tourism’s introduction to this tiny, quaint and memorable little town amid the Kerry hills. In some ways, it’s incredibly and charmingly parochial, like in the list of famous visitors. As an introduction to a town that warrants some historical context, and a little glance at the famous local lace industry, it’s worth a visit, however. The famine’s effect locally gives some good (if horrifying) background too.

Kenmare Heritage Centre, The Square, Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, +353 646641233

Kenmare | © Jessica Sheridan / Flickr | © Jessica Sheridan/ Flickr

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article