Kenmare (pronounced 'ken-mair') is the thinking person's Killarney. Ideally positioned for exploring the Ring of Kerry (and the Beara Peninsula), but without the coach-tour crowds of its more famous neighbour, Kenmare (Neidin, meaning 'little nest' in Irish) is a pretty spot with a neat triangle of streets lined with craft shops, galleries, cafes and good-quality restaurants.
One of the few planned towns in Ireland, Kenmare was laid out on an X-shaped street plan in the late 18th century by the marquis of Lansdowne as the showpiece of his Kerry estates. It earned its living as a market town and fishing port, and from ironworks, lead mining and quarrying. The Market House and the Lansdowne Arms Hotel still survive from this period – pick up a copy of the Kenmare Heritage Trail from the tourist office to discover more.