The beautiful Irish village of Ballyheigue in County Kerry is a stunning coastal village set along the Wild Atlantic Way.
It is perhaps most well known for its beautiful blue flag beach and historical background, but Ballyheigue has so much more to offer than just that.
Find out about the wonderful things to do in Ballyheigue below, as I detail why this is a must-visit destination in County Kerry.
Explore Ballyheigue Sandy Beach
As I have already previously mentioned, the true crown jewel appeal of beautiful Ballyheigue is its beach.
This stunning blue flag-awarded beach has everything that you will need for the perfect beach day.
From the nearby resort centre where you will be able to find a large variety of cafes and restaurants for when you want to eat and drink, a nearby car park, playground, post office, as well as public toilets, everything is located only a short walking distance away from the Beach.
The beach itself makes up one part of an 8km run of the protected beach area, so there will be plenty of room and you will not be crammed in with other visitors.
There are plenty of rock pools on the right-hand side of the strand for the young ones.
Ballyheigue Strand has also made a name for itself when it comes to watersports, with surfing being one of the most popular pastimes here, because of the incredible waves.
If watersports are not your thing, then do not worry, swimming is also very accessible here and if you are planning to travel with children, a lifeguard will be on duty during the summer months (check the noticeboard for the times).
You can not Wild Camp overnight on the beach.
Visit Ballyheigue Golf Course
The spectacular Ballyheigue Golf Course is set on the historic grounds of Ballyheigue Castle, which dates back to the early 1800s.
The idea to build a golf course at such a unique location was actually born whilst the ground developers were playing golf at nearby Tralee Golf Club which resulted in Ballyheigue Golf Course opening in 1996.
The Ballyheigue golf course itself is made up of 9 holes with stunning views of Tralee Bay below, and visitors are more than welcome to visit this wonderful course.
Once you have finished your round of golf, you absolutely must head towards the onsite clubhouse, where you will be able to get a refreshing beverage and delicious food after a long day on the green.
Keep An Eye Out For Roger Casement Statue
Perhaps one of the most divisive pieces of history in the Ballyheigue area is the statue of Sir Roger Casement, which was created by Óisín Kelly.
Prior to the release of his personal diaries, and his execution, Roger Casement was a celebrated humanitarian activist who completed numerous investigations relating to human rights violations all over the world including in countries like Peru and various African countries during the Boer War.
It was these efforts that would gain him a knighthood which was later taken away.
During World War 1, Casement appealed for German military aid during the Easter Rising. This was discovered and he was stripped of his knighthood, and later executed.
It was before his execution that his diaries were made public knowledge, and during this time period, it was illegal to be homosexual, which would only further damage his case.
Discover Ballyheigue Castle
First built in the early 19th century, Ballyheigue Castle would have been a country estate during its heyday.
While Ballyheigue Castle is what the estate has been named, when the home was first originally built, it would have been known as nothing more than a house, built in a Tudor Gothic Revival style.
In actual fact, parts of Ballyheigue Castle actually date back to 1758, as the castle that you see today was actually built around an earlier house on the same plot of land.
Considering that the castle saw two major fires during its lifetime, it is a miracle that so much of the original structure is still standing.
Ballyheigue Castle was used as a residential estate until it suffered from its first fire in 1840.
After the building was repaired, it was then used as a prison until it suffered from yet another fire in 1921, which saw the entire structure almost collapse.
In 1975, parts of the castle were given yet another lease of life, as a section of the original structure was remodeled to house apartments that people still live in today.
While the other section of Ballyheigue Castle remains in ruins, it still holds quite an impressive structure.
Travel Around North Kerry Way
Who does not love a good hike during your holiday? Not only is it an affordable activity that anyone can enjoy, but it is also the perfect way to discover a brand new area and get an authentic taste of the country surrounding you.
And, if you are visiting stunning Ballyheigue, then the route that you absolutely must take, even for a part of it, is the North Kerry Way.
This particular route spans 50km approximately and will take you 2 to 3 days to complete. While this North Kerry Way hike may not be as well known as the fellow County Kerry route, The Dingle Way, it still has just as many eye-catching qualities.
If you are considering walking the North Kerry Way, you will be starting off at the popular tourist town of Tralee, and ending in quaint Ballyheigue.
Along the way, you will discover historical buildings including castles and forts, view the stunning sites of the Irish countryside and coastline, and of course, you will pass through Kerry Head, which is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Ballyheigue or even County Kerry as a whole.
Stay At The Luxurious White Sands Hotel
This family-run traditional hotel will make you feel right at home whilst you are staying in Ballyheigue.
With spectacular views of the blue-flag Ballyheigue beach below, free parking, and comfortable rooms with quirky furnishings, you will never have another holiday quite like the one you would get at White Sands Hotel.
The hotel also has the most historic pub in all of Kerry onsite, Jimmy Brownes Pub, which will be the perfect place for you to settle down after a day of exploring the beautiful County Kerry and try a pint of Guinness.
Or Opt For The Welcoming O’Neill’s Bed And Breakfast
If you are looking for a bit more privacy during your stay at Ballyheigue, then look no further than O’Neill’s bed and breakfast.
With the option of either having a bed and breakfast room, or a self-contained apartment, you can make your stay your own at O’Neill’s.
Located on the outskirts of Ballyheigue village, with panoramic views of the stunning Ballyheigue beach below, this is a truly beautiful accommodation option, with everything that you need only a short walk away.
Visit Kate Brownes In Ardfert Village
We have already mentioned Jimmy Brownes Pub, and Kate Brownes is its sister establishment.
Kate Browne’s restaurant is set in a truly stunning building with white bricks and a beautiful thatched roof. In terms of the food, they serve traditional Irish cuisine, with many dishes being prepared with fresh and locally grown produce, with the restaurant is open specifically for lunch and dinner.
And with the restaurants roaring open fires and comfortable seating, you will feel right at home.
While there you must visit Ardfert Cathedral. You can take a free non-guided tour around the establishment.
Make Flahives Restaurant Your Brand New Local
Whenever you are traveling to a brand new location, you will need to find those places where you will just feel comfortable and welcome, and Flahives is one of those places.
This red and white, cozy building is perfect to act as your brand new local, with the residents and owners alike being incredibly welcoming to all visitors and tourists.
So, after a long day of exploring the beautiful Irish countryside, why not pop into Flahives for a must-have pint of Guinness? Just as the locals do!
Now that you know about the many wonderful things to do in Ballyheigue, what do you think?
From the stunning blue-flagged beach, the breathtaking Ballyheigue Castle, and the must-visit Ballyheigue Golf Course, Ballyheigue is truly a must-see destination in stunning County Kerry.
How long is Ballyheigue Strand?
It is approximately 2.21km.
Can you camp on Ballyheigue Beach?
It is not illegal to camp on any Blue Flag Beach in Kerry during the day but you can’t camp there overnight.
Can you walk from Ballyheigue Beach to Banna Strand?
Yes. You can walk from Banna Beach to Ballyheigue Strand. The route you will take is part of the North Kerry Way route, and the hike will take you around 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete and it is approximately 7.4km long.
Can you walk your dog on Ballyheigue Beach?
Yes. You are allowed to take your dog on a walk on Ballyheigue Strand.
However, you must keep your four-legged friend out of the Blue Flag Lifeguard Zone, and do not forget to pick up all your dogs foul.
Ballyheigue Beach is a blue-flagged beach, and it takes its cleanliness and maintenance very seriously.
Can you fish off Kerry Head?
Yes. You absolutely can go fishing off Kerry Head by boat. The best months to go fishing from Kerry Head are between the months of May through to September.
What fish can be caught off Kerry Head?
Depending on what time of year you wish to go fishing off of Kerry Head will have a direct impact on the species of fish you may be able to catch. The most popular and frequent visitors to these shores include Dogfish, Pollack, Bull Huss, Wrasse, and Conger.