The town of Castleisland in County Kerry is known for its popular, and quite wide Main Street and also being a bustling hub in the south of Ireland. It is the closest town to Kerry Airport.
It has a long and complicated past, with the town being a significant part of the Irish Civil War as well as its connection to the Last Earl of Desmond.
Now, with plenty of things to do in Castleisland, it is a popular tourist destination, especially for those wishing to explore the beautiful surrounding area.
Below, I have included a selection of the very best activities you can partake in whilst visiting Castleisland as well as the best places to stay and eat during your visit.
Discover The Breathtaking Crag Cave
A true jewel in the crown of County Kerry, the Crag Cave, is believed to date back over 1 million years and was first discovered in 1983.
Journey through the stunning passages as you take in magical stalagmites and stalactites that make up this ancient fossil cave.
Long ago, this cave was once filled with water, and you can still hear the occasional drop as you adventure around these naturally made passages and take in the natural beauty.
Of course, because of the nature of this attraction, its opening and operating hours are highly influenced by the seasons and weather conditions. So, be sure to do your research prior to traveling out to Crag Cave.
Crazy Cave Is The Perfect Family Day Out
Whilst the adults have all of the fun at Crag Cave, what about the little ones? Not to worry, you can always visit the Crazy Cave.
Designed for children 8 and under, this is the perfect spot for families with younger children as they get to play throughout the two-story funhouse.
With mega slides, play areas, ball pools, and all kinds of fun, Crazy Cave is an absolute must-visit. While parents and adults can relax at the Crazy Cave Cafe, and watch their little ones have the best time.
Explore Castleisland Through Its River Walk
Of course, when you visit any location, you wish to explore every aspect of the local area in order to feel like you truly discovered the location that you traveled to.
I believe that the very best way to learn about the stunning town of Castleisland is to follow its famous River Walk.
Now, even if you are not an experienced or enthusiastic walker, do not worry, the route itself is relatively easy, and is approximately 2km long.
For the average walker, it will take you roughly 1 hour to complete, of course, this may be longer if you wish to stop and take in the breathtaking sites of the heart of Castleisland.
The trail follows the beautiful River Shanowen, which is lined with ancient willow and oak trees, and you will pass the particularly stunning St. Stephens and St. John’s church, which dates back to 1884.
Glanateenty Woods Is Perfect For Walking Enthusiasts
If the River Walk is not enough for you, or if you love to hike or walk whilst on holiday, then why not visit Glanateenty Woods?
This beautiful backdrop plays host to three separate walking trails, which can take you from 45 minutes to 2 and a half hours to complete.
Glanateenty woods is fun for all the family, with the quirky fairy garden being an adorable place to show younger children, and is also a rather popular picnicking spot.
The woods are also steeped in history, dating all the way back to the Irish Civil War. And it was also the place of execution for the last Earl of Desmond in 1583. Be sure to make Glanateenty Woods a priority when visiting Castleisland. See my web page on Glanateenty Woods here.
Castleisland Town Park
If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Castleisland Town Park might just be the perfect spot for you. This small park may not be well-known to many, but it’s a hidden gem that’s worth discovering.
Nestled along the River Shanowen, behind An Riocht Athletic’s Club, this park offers a serene and picturesque setting that’s perfect for a relaxing stroll or a quiet picnic. The park’s location also makes it an ideal spot for birdwatching, as you might spot some of the local waterfowl that frequent the river.
Castleisland Pitch and Putt
Featuring an exquisite 18-hole course for players of all skill levels, this picturesque venue is the perfect spot to practice your golf swing while taking in some of Kerry’s most stunning views.
Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the challenging terrain, lush greens, and innovative obstacles will push your skills to the limit—and offer you hours of entertainment in the process.
The generous fairway areas also provide ample room to recover from any errant shots that don’t quite make it into the hole.
With its calming setting and inviting atmosphere, Castleisland Pitch and Putt is the ideal destination for any golfer looking to enjoy a totally unique experience.
Take the 1st left out the Scartaglen Road. It is right beside the community centre.
Attend Castleislands Famous Horse Fair
On the 1st of November every year, Castleisland hosts its incredibly successful horse fair. Throughout this very well-attended day, you will see horses take over Main Street which runs directly through Castleisland.
You will be able to see a large variety of horses, donkeys, ponies as well as other animals that are on sale. You will also be able to purchase any items you may need in order to take care of these beautiful animals.
Of course, you are probably not looking to purchase an animal whilst on holiday, but it is a brilliant day to just attend and interact with the horses, as the whole town comes alive.
Work Up A Sweat At ‘An Riocht Athletic’s Club’
Of course, outdoor exercise is not for everyone. So, if you prefer to partake in indoor exercise during your visit to Castleisland, then be sure to go to An Riocht Athletic’s Club.
Now, you may be worried about membership fees. Well, paying for a pricey membership is unnecessary as you can simply pay as you go at An Riocht.
There is an endless amount of facilities available at the club, from a high-spec gym full of top-of-the-range equipment to the very popular and unique running track that has been built on-site for outdoor activities.
Visit the popular towns of Tralee & Killarney
For those looking for more built attractions whilst you are visiting Castleisland, why not travel to the beautiful towns of Tralee and Killarney?
This stunning location is home to a large variety of activities, so there is definitely something available for everyone to enjoy.
For the adrenaline junkies and adventurous amongst you, Tralee Wetlands and Nature Trails have everything from rock climbing to water sports.
Whereas the local Tralee Greyhound Stadium is one of the best night-outs you can have in the local area.
Or, for lovers of art and culture, why not attend the incredible Siamsa Tire which hosts a variety of theatre and concert productions throughout the year, which are very popular with locals
I also believe that a visit to a brand new destination is not complete without visiting a museum and learning about the local history. Kerry Museum has a free entry for children policy and is very insightful. See my web page in Tralee here.
A short 25-minute drive away from Castleisland is the picturesque town of Killarney. If you are a nature lover, then you must stop off at The Blue Pool, one of Killarney’s best-kept secrets, or visit The Gap of Dunloe, which dates back to the Ice Age.
Of course, Killarney also has brilliant shopping and hospitality establishments, but for those opting to visit The Gap of Dunloe, then stopping off at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, which is over 150 years old, is an absolute must.
And, if you are planning ahead, then do not forget to book into their Traditional Irish Night, one of the most popular evenings you can spend in Killarney.
Or you might try your problem-solving skills to see if you can get out of the Killarney Escape Rooms.
My final suggestion is a visit to Killarney’s stunning National Park, and for those wanting to see as much of it as possible, opt to explore with the Jaunting Cars, who will provide you with all of the historical and folklore information you desire, as you explore the secret locations of Killarney National Park. See my web page in Killarney here.
Best Places To Eat In Castleisland
Now you know all about the very best attractions and activities that are available in and around Castleisland, you now need to know about the best places to eat and drink.
Below, I have included my top two picks that you absolutely must visit during your stay in Castleisland.
Whether you’re looking for the best spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Nana Bea’s has it all. This hidden gem of a restaurant serves delicious wood-fired pizzas, traditional Irish dishes, and a selection of lunch snacks that will appeal to everyone.
So, whether you are looking for the perfect place to have tea or coffee, or you want to try some of the local food, be sure to head to Nana Bea’s.
Alternatively, you can step into the old-worldy Country Market restaurant located on the Main Street of Castleisland.
This is my number one pick for a sit-down meal in the afternoon, where you can sample some of the locally sourced and grown food on offer. You must try either their steak or cod and their apple pie is a favourite with the locals.
Where To Stay In Castleisland
The last section of my guide to Castleisland is dedicated to showing you some of the best accommodation options that are available within the local area.
Whether you are looking for the perfect hotel, a traditional holiday home rental, or something a little more out of the ordinary, I have an option for you.
River Island Hotel
Located in the very heart of the stunning town of Castleisland, you will find the River Island Hotel. It is known for being one of the very best hotels in the local area and is the perfect home base for people looking to explore and discover County Kerry.
With an onsite restaurant, luxurious bedrooms, and a gorgeous old-worldy lobby, staying at the River Island Hotel is an absolute must.
New Bungalow With Views Of Kerry
This beautiful three-bedroom bungalow with a sprawling mountainside view sleeps up to seven people and is the perfect family-friendly holiday home.
Located only 3km from Castleisland and only a 30-minute drive from some of County Kerry’s gorgeous Blue Flag sandy beaches, the central location of this holiday home is perfect.
With all the necessary household appliances, a stunning outdoor patio, and a cozy indoor fireplace, this incredible bungalow has it all.
Countryside Modern Shipping Container Home
Or, if you are looking for something a little bit more out of the box, then look no further than this funky converted container home.
Perfect for couples or small families, this modern home has everything that you will need for you to stay in County Kerry, from its cozy kitchen, outdoor seating area, and some adorable chickens that you get to call your neighbours during your holiday.
This holiday home option is also conveniently located 5km outside Castleisland and is only a short drive from the stunning beaches of County Kerry.
That concludes my guide to the stunning location of Castleisland. With nearby beaches, natural attractions, and a bustling town centre, there is something for everyone at Castleisland.
A holiday in this idyllic location will provide you with the perfect taste of what the beautiful island of Ireland is all about.