This town is a modern center of culture atop an ancient market village. It is the gateway to the Dingle Peninsula.
What to See and Do
This is Kerry’s capital city with lots happening. In the city, attend a performance by Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theater of Ireland. Go to the Greyhound dog races at Kingdom Greyhound Stadium. Walk through time at The Kerry County Museum. Visit the public gardens. Play a round at the 18-hole championship course at Tralee Golf Club. Head for fashionable women’s clothing boutique Ruby on Ivy Terrace. Shop for a dress and shoes to go with at adjoining shops Iota and Wow! on Mary Street. Evening comes and there are tons of pubs in town. The word is to head to the pub around 10, then over to club Fabric to shake your thing on the dance floor.
Where to Eat and Drink
David Norris Restaurant is the place to eat. They create French and seasonal inspired cuisine, prepared according to the code of Eurotoques standards, which specifies superior quality and technique, or no cooking at all. Opened by a Tralee native who cut his chops in some of Munster’s top restaurants, and then brought it all home. Savor pan-fried duck breast on lyonnaise potatoes with garlic green beans and rosemary jus (21.95 euro), then melt away the champagne rhubarb mousse with star anise anglaise and ginger tuile biscuit (6.25 euro).
Bella Bia Italian Restaurant has a more casual vibe and is easier on the pocket, especially their popular Early Bird Special, serving a three-course dinner from 5-7PM everyday for 13.50 euro. They’re also known for their steaks.
New Yorkers Family Diner and Pizza Parlour on Bridge Street serves all the American standards: southern fried chicken, fresh pizzas, nachos, and good old burgers. Try the Liberty Pizza, topped with everything under the stars, for 22.00 euro.
Manna is an organic produce market with a small selection of fresh goodness. Perfect to pull out of your sack while walking The Dingle Way.
Where to Sleep
The Grand Hotel on Denny Street is 30’s decadence all the way. It stands on the site of The Great Castle of Tralee, one the main stronghold of the powerful Geraldine’s of Tralee. The hotel was established in 1928, the handsome décor and velvet lounge by the fire is irresistible in foul weather. Double rooms run from 60-80 euro per person, including a full breakfast. Wireless internet access in the lobby. Choose from set dinner menu at adjoining Samuel’s Restaurant, serving old world selections such as roast of Kerry lamb with gray and mint sauce, crock of mussels in garlic cream sauce, and Bailey’s cheesecake, tea or coffee (30 euro).
The Brandon Hotel is a newer option near the Siamsa Tire Theater. It has all the modern amenities, including a full health spa, wireless internet, and the contemporary-styled M Bar.
Also recommended: Finnegan’s Hostel. Gorgeous old-fashioned kitchen and sitting parlor with lux leather chairs. In a historic building in town center on Denny Street.
How to get there
From Limerick, take N69 coastal drive west.
From Killarney, take N22 highway north.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
When to go
When the weather is finer and the days are longer – April to September. Tralee hosts festivals year round. The Shindig Tradional Music and Set Dancing Festival in January at The Brandon Hotel. Kerry Pageant Festival during St. Patrick’s Day week. The Kerry Film Festival. The Blennerville Windmill Threshing Festival in October. The Pan Celtic Festival. The Rose of Tralee International Festival, in August.
Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007