Kenmare, Ireland

You’ve been camping before. Once. Between the mosquitoes, sleeping on the ground, and having to eat whatever was squished at the bottom of your backpack, camping was not fun. And that was enough for you. But what about glamping? Tents on an estate, instead of in the middle of a bear’s path. A waterside bistro instead of trying–mostly unsuccessfully–to start a fire. And a real bed instead of a musty sleeping bag. Oh, and it’s in Ireland. Maybe it’s time to give camping one more chance.

Photo: Dromquinna Manor
Photo: Dromquinna Manor

Dromquinna Manor, located on Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, has spectacular mountain and water views. Their large, sturdy tents were made by safari-tent experts. They have king-sized beds, goose down duvets, and wooden decks. Pick up coffee and fresh croissants at The Shop in the morning. Eat tapas, drink sangria, and listen to Latin American music at the Boathouse Wine Bar and Bistro. Ride bikes or horses. Just breathe in the fresh air. Bathrooms and showers are shared, but at least there are bathrooms and showers.

When you need a little more excitement, no need to hike for miles. Just hop on the water taxi heading to the center of Kenmare, one of the few Irish towns with more restaurants than pubs. Eat seafood chowder at P.F. McCarthy’s. Kenmare mussels at The Lime Tree, a former schoolhouse. Kenmare Bay scallops at Tom Crean. And a rack of lamb at Packie’s. If it’s Wednesday, buy Knockatee cheese, homemade pâté, and smoked trout at the Kenmare Market. Small-batch chocolates at Skelligs. It’s easy to see why Kenmare is such a foodie destination.

Photo: © Malcolmo | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Photo:
© Malcolmo | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Just don’t miss the Bronze Age stone circle, a five-minute walk from the center of town. Or the Ring of Kerry, which either begins or ends in Kenmare. The curvy coastal drive around the Iveragh Peninsula has amazing views of the Beara Peninsula and the Dingle Peninsula on sunny days. Just watch out for the sheep. And on your way back to Dromquinna, stop by Pat Spillane’s Pub for one more pint. Maybe this whole camping thing isn’t too bad after all.

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