This was our 5th trip to Ireland. We had wanted to see more of the Ring of Kerry and what a way to do it-an 8 day stay right on the Bay of Kenmare. The Pier Cottage is a restored coast-guard station and would be best described as a 'duplex'-we had the east side with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a kitchen, dining table and living-room in a great-room. While able to sleep 4 comfortably it was perfect for my wife and me. There is a peat/wood-burning fireplace in the comfortable living-room with a generous amount of both in a covered outdoor storage bin. I had indicated our particular desire for peat which Michael our caretaker provided for relaxing peat fires each evening.
This brings us to Michael and Katherine our property's caretakers who acted more like our personal hosts providing not only a warm welcome with lots of information of local interest but also making reservations for us to travel to Skellig Michael (one of 2 World Heritage Sites in Ireland) as well as information for the Gap of Dunloe in near-by Killarney (about an hour's drive north-eastthrough the beautiful Molls Gap, the Ladies View and the Killarney National Park.) These are 2 not-to-miss day events, weather and health permitting (Skellig Michael and the Gap of Dunloe). Katherine will also provide home-made Irish dishes on request for a modest fee. Communication with Katherine was quick and simple via the Pier's on site Wi-Fi.
The Pier Cottage is situated on a grassy terrace gently sloping to the bay with off-shore seals for your personal entertainment! Despite our best intentions to use the onsite row-boat, we never had a chance given all of the other things to see and do. There are several good pubs in adjoining villages within a short and easy drive-our favorite was the Blind Piper in Catherdaniel. As you can imagine, a rental car is critical for a full Ring of Kerry holiday experience-in our opinion it is a must.
Other things not to miss include: Valentia Island (another day-trip), Derrynane Bay and Beach with Derry cemetery and ruins, the villages of Sneem with several quaint shops including Quills Wollens, and Waterville with the Fisherman's Bar (delicious seafood), the town of Kenmare to the north with its Wednesday street market, colorful buildings and Kenmore lace (above the very helpful Visitor's Center with an abundance of local maps).
All in all-a beautiful place with beautiful people providing a wonderful experience. We would indeed return to the Pier Cottage.