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.
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 differents of the town.
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 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.
The pass time 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, perfect for those that are new to the pass-time.
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.
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.
For those of you that may prefer to take a cycling trip rather than a horse-back one, there are many exciting routes you can take across Waterville to explore the surrounding area.
I have included just two of these routes below, one for a leisure bike ride and a harder one for you to enjoy.
The Leisurely Route – Along Ballinskelligs and Derrynane Bay
The first cycling route is for cyclists with varying levels of experience. The route will take you from Waterville, heading towards Caherdaniel, where you will take in the sites of Ballinskelligs Bay and the small Rineen Pier that lies on its waters.
From there you will adventure through the townland of Rinearagh, and then you will be greeted by Derrynane Bay, in which you will spot the Scariff and Deenish islands. You should also be able to see the old ‘lighthouse’ building in the distance.
Although the structure may resemble a lighthouse, it is in fact an old lookout station used during the Napoleonic Wars that was repurposed as military barracks. From there you will eventually return to Kerry Way (the road you took to leave Waterville) and you will complete your 14km trip.
The Difficult Route – Discover the Fresh-Water Lakes
A longer route to the previously mentioned will take you out of Waterville via Beenbane Road and you will head up towards the mountains.
Once you have followed the signs for Dromkeare, you will eventually reach a junction. By turning right, you will reach a dead-end, however, this is where the true wonders await.
You will find yourself surrounded by some of the glorious fresh-water lakes that the surrounding area has to offer. With skanamacteery on your right and Derriana and Cloonaghlin on your left, you can take a relaxing afternoon break before you cycle back to Waterville.
Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival
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, 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.
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.
Built in 800AD to protect livestock and act as an 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 favourite food establishments that you should definitely try when you are visiting Waterville.
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.
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.
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.
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 of TripAdvisor, this hotel provides beautiful ocean view rooms and even provides room service at your request.
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 the 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.
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.
That concludes my guide to the bests 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.