Things to do in Waterville

Located in the beautiful scenic area of Iveragh Peninsula, Waterville in County Kerry is the perfect destination for anyone looking to reconnect with nature, relax, and take part in some exciting outdoor activities.

Below, I have included a list of the best things to do in Waterville as well as a few special choices of places to eat and stay during your visit. Let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Waterville!

Golfing In Waterville

There are two primary activities that Waterville is known for, the first being golfing. Many tourists travel from far and wide to play golf in Waterville, this is primarily due to the high-quality facilities that they have.

Below, we have included the two most popular places to play golf. They are different ends of the town.

Waterville Golf Links

Entrance to Waterville Golf Links
Waterville Golf Links

The first golf facility that I am including is the Waterville Golf Links, which is a geological rarity. Considering the vast amount of golf facilities that are seen throughout the world, it is rather unbelievable that less than 1% of them can be considered a true link.

The primary difference between a link and a golf course is that a link is more open than a course with no water hazards and a lack of trees obscuring the course.

Visiting this rare wonder must be at the top of any visitors’ lists when they are traveling to Waterville. It is out on the coast road near Waterville Beach.

Hogs Head Golf Club

With the backdrop of the beautiful mountainous landscape, Hogs Head Golf Club overlooks the spectacular view of Ballinskelligs Bay as it offers a challenging 18-hole golf course near the village centre of Waterville.

With luxurious dining, bar, and accommodation facilities included at the Hogs Head Golf Club, it is understandable that they must invite you to play at the golf course.

The organization is so passionate about the sport, that they even offer helicopter rides to other neighbouring golf courses.

Fresh Water Fishing in Waterville

The second activity that Waterville is known for, after golf, is freshwater fishing. With the fishing season running from mid-January through to late September, if you want to try your hand at fishing, why not head to Lough Currane and try to catch one of their vast quantities of salmon or sea trout?

Looking up the Currane River in Waterville
Currane River

Derriana, the biggest lake in the area, is famous for its brown trout which are larger than average. On the other hand, the Currane/Cummeragh system, which is located nearby, is known for producing numerous large sea trout.

The Cummeragh, which flows into Lough Currane and covers a catchment area of 46 square miles, has excellent river levels for several days following heavy rainfall.

This makes it a great spot for summer grilse fishing, which can be enjoyed until September. Currane Lodge offers an idyllic fishing location with a high chance of success in catching salmon, sea trout, and brown trout.

The bridge going over the Currane River in Waterville
Currane River

Don’t forget to explore the local fishing spots and consider hiring a guide for the best fishing experience. They can provide you with valuable tips and insights to help you make the most of your fishing adventure in Lough Currane.

The pastime has become so popular in this area that you can even book fishing holidays or fishing trips with some of the local residents and fishermen.

Other prime locations where you can try fishing whilst in Waterville include River Inny, Waterville River, and Cummeragh River.

Horse Riding along Ballinskelligs Bay

If you are looking to try something that may be more out of your comfort zone during your stay in Waterville, then perhaps you may enjoy some horse riding.

Waterville is a great destination for horse riding enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, there are options for everyone to explore the stunning landscape.

The Ring of Kerry Equestrian Centre offers a wide range of horse-orientated activities to suit everyone. From riding along the beach to scenic historical tours, the centre also offers you the option of going on a shooting break.

Whether you are an experienced rider or a complete novice, the people at Ring of Kerry Equestrian Centre will take their time to select the perfect horse that suits your personality and make sure you are both acquainted before you start any adventure.

Cycling

For those of you who may prefer to take a cycling trip rather than a horseback one, there are many exciting routes you can take across Waterville to explore the surrounding area.

I have included just three of these routes below, one for a leisure bike ride and a harder one for you to enjoy.

One route begins at Waterville and goes towards Caherdaniel, turning left towards Waterville Lake Hotel. Embark on an enchanting 16km journey along the glistening lake shore, where breathtaking vistas of Lough Currane, Capall Lake, and the majestic surrounding mountains await.

Discover an alternative scenic route from Waterville to Caherdaniel! After crossing a charming bridge, simply take a right turn and follow the signs for The Kerry Way. The route includes several short climbs, with the longest one leading to the townland of Rinearagh.

Coonanaspig Mountain looking down on Scariff Island
Scariff Island

To the left, there are views of the mountains, and when you reach the top, you will be able to see Derrynane, as well as the Scariff and Deenish Islands.

Derrynane Beach in Kerry
Derrynane Beach

As you continue on this route, you will encounter another sign indicating the Kerry Way. At this pivotal point, your journey diverges into two enticing paths: a right turn guides you towards Caherdaniel, while a whimsical left swing beckons you back to the enchanting town of Waterville

Boats at Portmagee Harbour
Portmagee Harbour is on the Skellig Ring

If you’re up for a challenge, try tackling the more demanding mountain trails that offer breathtaking panoramic views from the top like the Skellig Ring.

Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival

Statue of Charlie Chapin in Waterville
Statue of Charlie Chapin in Waterville

The biggest and most popular event to be hosted in Waterville village centre is its annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival.

Hosted in collaboration between Waterville, and Josephine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie Chaplin), as well as some financial benefactors, the festival was created to celebrate the life and work of the popular filmmaker in a place that he loved.

The festival, which aims to showcase work from young and budding filmmakers, features live music, street performers, and special screenings of classic films as well as so much more.

The festival takes place every year in August, so if you are visiting Waterville during this time, make attending the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival a priority.

Walking routes around Waterville

Perhaps you prefer to walk rather than cycle, and due to the mountainous terrain in Waterville, many others also prefer to take a hike rather than a bicycle trip in order to see more of the village.

I have included two routes below, one easier and one harder, that will show you the beautiful landscape of this seaside village.

The Easier Route – from Waterville to Golf Links and Back

A 2-mile return trip, this leisurely walk will take you from Waterville village along the cliff road, which provides spectacular views on a clear day.

This walk is perfect for those looking to explore the beach as you walk along the coastline of Ballinskelligs Bay, which will lead you to the long sandy beach of Inny Beach.

The Harder Route – The Kerry View Walking Trail

The ultimate walking challenge that Ireland has to offer, The Kerry View Walking Trail, is over 133 miles long, which makes it the country’s longest signposted walking trail.

If you choose to make this multi-day journey, you will be able to take in the scenic delights of Ireland’s highest mountains, Carrauntoohil and Caher, travel through remote mountain moorland, and relax by the Lakes of Killarney. Good walking webpage here.

Heritage Sites

If you wish to learn more about the history of the local area of Waterville, I have included these two following destinations for those wishing to do further exploration on their trip to the Irish village.

Loher Ringfort

Music in the video by SoulProdMusic from Pixabay

Built-in 800AD to protect livestock and act as extra defence for the local area, Loher stone fort is believed to be connected to further forts in the local area through ancient underground tunnels.

Loher Ring Fort in Waterville

While we may never know if they accomplished such a feat during its time period, further excavations have discovered the foundations of two house structures as well as a tunnel that was believed to be an ancient cold store.

Entrance to Loher Ring Fort

You can visit Loher Ringfort for yourself for free, and from its position overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay, you can take in the beautiful sea view with Skellig Michael in the distance.

Ruins of 2 houses in Loher Ring Fort

It is 4.4km from the town. Only one car can fit on the road at any one time.

Eightercua Of The Stone Row

The magnificent Stone Row, or Eightercua, dates back to 1700BC, and it is thought to be the burial place of Sceine, who is said to be the wife of Amergin mac Miled who was a Bard and also the Judge of the Milesian invaders.

The four stones, which each stand at approximately 3 meters tall, are maybe aligned with the September Solstice. Although the site itself is hard to access, the uninterrupted views allow Eightercua Stone Row to be viewed from a far distance.

Drive the Skellig Ring

The Skellig Ring offers breathtaking landscapes that are worth exploring. With its dramatic coastline and stunning natural beauty, it is a must while in Waterville. I think it is nicer than the Ring of Kerry. It should be on the Ring of Kerry but the buses can’t travel part of it.

A huge statue of an anchor in Portmagee
Anchor in Portmagee

Start your journey by visiting Portmagee (through Ballinskelligs Road), a picturesque fishing village known for its charming colorfully painted houses. From there, continue your drive along the Skellig Ring and discover the beauty of Valentia Island and Cahersiveen.

Valentia Island is a haven for nature lovers, with its rugged cliffs, beautiful beach, and stunning sea views. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Valentia Island Lighthouse and the famous Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs.

Drone of Cahersiveen Ringfort with Cuas Crom in the background
Cahersiveen Ringfort

Take the ferry from Knighstown over to Cahersiveen, and immerse yourself in history and culture by visiting the Old Barracks Heritage Centre and the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church. Be sure and visit the Cahersiveen Ring Forts. Visit my webpage on the Skellig Ring here.

Discovering Waterville’s Marine Life at Sea Synergy

Sea Synergy provides a unique opportunity to learn about Waterville’s marine life. With interactive exhibits and educational programs, visitors can discover fascinating species and ecosystems that call Waterville their home.

Explore the wonders of the ocean and dive into the world of marine biology. Sea Synergy offers guided tours that take you up close to the vibrant marine life found in the waters surrounding Waterville.

Whether you’re a marine enthusiast or simply curious about the underwater world, Sea Synergy is a must-visit. Learn about conservation efforts, marine research, and the importance of protecting our oceans.

Embarking on Exciting Skellig Islands Trips

Skellig Michael
Skellig Michael

Skellig Island Trips offers an unforgettable opportunity to experience the beauty and rich history of Skellig Michael. Located off the coast of Waterville, Skellig Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

During the day trip, visitors can explore the ancient monastic site perched on the rocky cliffs of the island.

Beehive huts on Skellig Michael
Beehive huts

This site dates back to the 6th century and provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the monks who once inhabited the island.

In addition to its historical significance, Skellig Michael is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for puffins, gannets, and other seabirds that call the island home.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot seals or dolphins swimming in the surrounding waters.

Little Skellig with birds flying around it

The boat trip to Skellig Island is an adventure of its own. You’ll cruise along the dramatic coastline, passing by soaring cliffs and rugged rock formations. The journey offers breathtaking views and photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.

Whether you’re a history buff or a nature enthusiast, this excursion is a must-do when visiting Waterville.

Hunting

Waterville offers a range of hunting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning landscapes, Waterville provides the perfect backdrop for hunting.

Immerse yourself in nature as you traverse the hills and valleys in search of game.

Before embarking on your hunting adventure, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local hunting regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Respect the environment and adhere to ethical hunting practices to ensure the preservation of this beautiful area.

Whether you’re seeking a challenging hunt or simply want to connect with nature, Waterville offers a unique hunting experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories. If you want to go hunting try this webpage.

Indulging in Craft Beer at McGill’s Brewery

When visiting Waterville, beer lovers must make a stop at McGill’s Brewery. This local brewery offers a delightful variety of craft beers that are brewed right on-site.

At McGill’s Brewery, you can find a variety of beers to suit your preferences, whether you enjoy a hoppy IPA or a smooth stout.

Not only can you indulge in their delicious brews, but McGill’s Brewery also offers fascinating brewery tours and tastings.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at their brewing process and learn about the craftsmanship that goes into each batch of beer.

The knowledgeable staff is always happy to share their passion for beer and answer any questions you may have.

Make sure to carve out some time to relax in the cozy taproom while enjoying your favorite craft beer.

The welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff make it the perfect spot to unwind and socialize with friends or fellow beer enthusiasts.

Taking to the Skies with Hogs Head Helicopters

Hogs Head Helicopters offers an exhilarating experience of soaring through the skies.

With Hogs Head Helicopters, you can take in stunning aerial views of Kerry and its surrounding landscapes.

Staigue Stone Fort
Staigue Stone Fort

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply want to enjoy a unique perspective, Hogs Head Helicopters has a range of scenic helicopter tours to suit all preferences.

  • Ring of Kerry
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Historical Ruins
  • Wild Atlantic Way
  • Irish Coast

Prepare to be amazed as you witness the beauty of Ireland from above.

Relaxing and Enjoying the Scenic Waterville Beach & Inny Strand

Waterville Beaches are a perfect spot for relaxation and enjoying their natural beauty. The golden sands and crystal-clear waters make it an idyllic destination for beach lovers.

Visitors can soak up the sun, take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, or have a picnic on the beaches. The stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean provide a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

People swimming in Inny Strand
Inny Strand

For those who enjoy water sports, Waterville Beaches offers a range of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.

The one downside of those beaches is there are no lifeguards. The closest Blue Flag Beach with a lifeguard in the summer months is Derrrynane

Whether you prefer lounging on the sand, taking a refreshing dip in the ocean, or exploring the coastal area, Waterville Beach and Inny Strand have something for everyone.

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth at Skelligs Chocolate

Skelligs Chocolate is a paradise for chocolate lovers. Indulge in a wide variety of handcrafted chocolates that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

At Skelligs Chocolate, you’ll find an array of delectable treats made with the finest ingredients. From creamy truffles to rich dark chocolate bars, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Visit the chocolate cafe for a decadent treat. Sit back and savor a hot chocolate or indulge in a delicious chocolate dessert. The cafe also offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy your chocolate delights.

Skelligs Chocolate offers a range of beautifully packaged chocolates that make for the perfect gift or a treat for yourself.

Whether you’re a chocolate enthusiast or simply have a sweet tooth, a visit to Skelligs Chocolate is an experience that should not be missed.

Catching the Waves: Surfing in Waterville

Ballinskelligs near Waterville is a great destination for surfers looking for thrilling waves. It is just 13 kilometres from Waterville.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, the waves at Ballinskelligs Beach provide the perfect opportunity to test your skills and ride some exciting waves.

Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, surfers in Ballinskelligs can enjoy challenging waves while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

The combination of adrenaline-pumping waves and picturesque landscapes makes surfing in Ballinskelligs a truly memorable experience.

If you’re new to surfing, don’t worry! Ballinskelligs Surf School offers lessons for surfers of all skill levels.

Whether you’re looking to learn the basics or improve your technique, the experienced instructors at these surf schools will guide you along the way.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply looking to enjoy the beauty of the ocean, surfing just outside Waterville is an activity that shouldn’t be missed.

So grab your board and get ready to catch some incredible waves!

Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve

Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. With minimal light pollution and clear skies, visitors can witness a breathtaking display of stars and constellations.

The reserve is located in the southwest region of Ireland (just outside of Waterville Town), providing an ideal location for immersing yourself in the wonders of the night sky.

Whether you are an amateur astronomer or simply enjoy the beauty of the cosmos, Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve offers a truly mesmerizing experience. As you gaze at the twinkling stars above, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder.

Throughout the reserve, there are various locations for stargazing, each offering unique perspectives of the night sky.

From secluded mountaintops to tranquil lakeshores, you can choose the perfect spot to set up your telescope or simply lie back and marvel at the celestial display.

Whether you are a dedicated stargazer or simply looking for a new and extraordinary experience, Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve is a must-visit destination. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the cosmos and revel in the magic of the night sky.

Explore the Tranquility of Church Island in Lough Currane by Kayak

Church Island, situated on Lough Currane is a historic site that has been considered a religious settlement since the 6th century.

The existing ruins, which are Romanesque in style, date back to the 12th century and are believed to have originated from Saint Fionán Cam.

The site consists of a church, a graveyard with 11 cross slabs and pillar stones, and burial tombs. It is speculated that Saint Fionán himself may be interred on the island.

Additionally, there are a few beehive huts, one of which is strategically aligned with the midwinter sun to provide illumination.

Access to Church Island is only possible by boat or kayak, although it can also be observed from the shore.

Where To Eat In Waterville

Waterville has a fine selection of locally-owned restaurants and cafes, where you can experience the true taste of what Ireland has to offer.

Below, I have included our three favorite food establishments that you should definitely try when you are visiting Waterville.

Smugglers Inn

Smugglers Inn near Waterville Golf Links
Smugglers Inn

This stunning gourmet restaurant overlooks Ballinskelligs Bay and serves fresh, locally sourced food all year round. If you are looking for the perfect place to go and treat either yourself or a loved one, the Smugglers Inn is a perfect choice.

Butler Arms

If you are looking to sample some of the locally sourced seafood from this beautiful area, then look no further than the Butler Arms.

Their signature dish is their Seafood Symphony which is forever changing, and what the dish consists of depends on the fisherman’s catch of the day.

If the dish is not to your liking, not to worry, there are always fresh oysters, lobsters, and mussels on the menu.

The Lobster

The Lobster Bar in Waterville
The Lobster Bar

Any trip to Ireland is not complete without trying a Guinness in the local pub. But don’t let the traditional frontage fool you. The Lobster produces some of the most delicious and appealing dishes in all of the village.

If you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere compared to Smugglers Inn and Butler Arms, then The Lobster with its traditional live music will be perfect for you.

Where to stay in Waterville

My last section in our guide of things to do in Waterville is my selection of three different accommodation options that you should look into when you are booking your trip to Waterville.

Butler Arms Hotel

Not only does the Butler Arms make our list of best places to eat, but also as our number one choice of hotel in Waterville if you are looking for accommodation with luxurious amenities.

The Bulter Arms Hotel in Waterville
Bulter Arms Hotel

Complete with free Wi-Fi and breakfast included, this high-ranking hotel is set in the heart of the village and close to most of the top attractions that Waterville has to offer.

With a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, this hotel provides beautiful ocean-view rooms and even provides room service at your request.

Brookhaven House

For those looking for accommodation that hits the happy medium between cost-effective and luxurious amenities, then this family-owned bed-and-breakfast will be perfect for you.

With a 5-star rating with the Irish Tourist Board, you will receive free Wi-Fi, breakfast in your room, and a beautiful ocean view at a fraction of the cost of Butler Arms.

The Old Cable Historic House

If you are looking to spend as little money as possible on your accommodation during your stay in Waterville, maybe you are expecting to spend all of your time exploring the local area and taking in the beautiful sights.

Section of the Waterville morse code cable
Section of the Waterville Morse Code cable

If that is the case, then The Old Cable Historic House will be perfect for you. This wonderful piece of history dates back to 1866 when the first transatlantic telegraph cables between Ireland and America were laid.

Now, it is a homey and affordable accommodation provider in the heart of Waterville village.

Pros

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Friendly locals
  • Rich history and culture
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Peaceful and relaxing atmosphere
  • Charming small-town atmosphere

Cons

  • Limited public transportation
  • Busy tourist season

Conclusion

That concludes my guide to the best things to do in Waterville during your stay. This seaside village is the perfect place to relax, recharge, and reconnect with nature, with plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied during your stay.

If I have convinced you that Waterville is the perfect place to visit, we hope you enjoy some of the delectable food the village has to offer and maybe you will choose one of our accommodation recommendations.

Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.