Ireland // Kerry //

Tralee practicalities

The train station, where buses also stop and which has left-luggage facilities, is just a few minutes’ walk northeast of the centre of town. The friendly and helpful tourist office (Jan & Feb Mon–Fri 9.15am–1pm & 2–5pm; March, Nov & Dec Mon–Sat 9.15am–1pm & 2–5pm; April & Oct Mon–Sat 9.15am–5pm; May, June & Sept Mon–Sat 9.15am–6pm; July & Aug Mon–Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 10am–6pm; t 066/712 1288), in the Ashe Memorial Hall underneath the Kerry County Museum, has maps of town and details of local traditional sessions. You can rent bikes from Tralee Gas Supplies in Strand Street on the west side of town (t 066/712 2018) and access the internet at Antech, northwest of the tourist office at 40 Bridge St, next to Sean Óg’s pub.

Denny Street, part of the town centre’s roughly clockwise one-way system, shelters a couple of good accommodation options among its lovely Georgian buildings. The Grand (t 066/712 1499, w; €121–150/£81–100) is a traditional county-town hotel whose rooms, most of which are set back from the busy street, have had a colourful, modern makeover with wi-fi installed. Further down the street, Finnegan’s (t 066/712 7610,; IHH) is a well-appointed hostel and B&B, with en-suite dorms (€20), doubles and twins (€60/£40 and under), a bar-restaurant, a large kitchen, internet access and laundry facilities. There’s also a well-equipped campsite at Woodlands Park, Dan Spring Road (t 066/712 1235, w; mid-March to Sept, plus Oct bank-holiday weekend), ten minutes’ walk south of the centre of town.

Your best bet for somewhere to eat is Val’s on Bridge Street, home to a sleek lounge bar downstairs and an informal restaurant upstairs, with a Mediterranean feel and an open kitchen, offering reasonably priced bistro dishes such as pork loin with apple and mustard purée (t 066/712 1559; winter Wed–Sun only). Nearly a dozen of Tralee’s lively pubs boast regular traditional music, notably Seán Og’s opposite Val’s on Bridge Street (summer most nights, winter Thurs–Sun).

Next to the tourist office is the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, Siamsa Tíre (t 066/712 3055, w, which fulfils its remit with excellent Irish shows in the summer, as well as hosting a varied international programme of drama, music, dance and literary events during the rest of the year. Towards the end of August, the five-day Rose of Tralee International Festival (w takes over the town. It’s a slightly questionable but generally good-natured beauty and talent contest, accompanied by much merry-making, which is open to women of Irish birth or ancestry. There’s also a family arts festival at Easter, Samhlaíocht, including puppet shows, exhibitions, music and street entertainment (w, an eight-day film festival (w in early November, held in the town and around the county, and a three-day circus festival later in the month (w

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