Last Updated on September 25, 2023

“You’re going to love this place,” our guide Raphael promised as we drove down the winding gravel road. “Frank and Mary are so welcoming, and the food is amazing!”

Carrig Country House was the first stop on a 5-night hiking trip my mom and I joined in June of 2023. We would spend the week exploring the countryside in Kerry, Ireland.

Mary greeted us warmly, ignored our muddy hiking boots, and ushered us to our room. The view over Caragh Lake stopped me in my tracks. The sun poked through a gray sky just enough to illuminate the top of the green hills on the far shore.

I turned to my mom and smiled. Yes, I think we’re going to like it here.

About the Kerry, Ireland Inn

The Snug at Carrig Country House.
The Snug at Carrig Country House. Photo by Kirsten Harrington

Carrig Country House was built in the1850s as a hunting lodge for British aristocracy. Frank and Mary Slattery bought it in 1996 and loving restored the Victorian manor to its former glory. Rich colors, furnishings, and wallpaper give the inn a luxurious feel.

All 17 rooms are unique, with Victorian touches and antiques. Our Superior Lakeview Room was a dozen meters from the water; once I settled into the easy chair, it was hard prying myself away from the view.

The deep bathtub was a welcome treat after a long day of hiking, and the bath also includes a shower.

Partial lake view and garden view rooms are also available, but personally, I’d splurge for that view!

Take time to visit The Parlour with its peat fireplace and tall windows overlooking the lawn. This Victorian-style drawing room is a comfortable spot to enjoy an evening cocktail or after dinner Irish coffee.

There are a handful of smaller lounges on the main floor. One has games and sofas for gathering; a few others like The Snug are intimate spaces for reading or quiet conversation.

Lakeview Restaurant

The restaurant offers sweeping lake views, gleaming wood floors, and luxurious white linens. But the atmosphere was relaxed enough to wear hiking clothes to breakfast and comfy leggings and sweaters in the evening. West coast salmon with Pernod sauce, salad with Kerry goat cheese fritters, and warm Irish soda bread were just a few of the favorite dishes we enjoyed. Local fish, lamb, and produce along with Chef Teahan’s creativity combine to make the restaurant popular with guests from outside the hotel as well.

Exploring the Grounds

Caragh Lake from Carrig Country House garden.
Caragh Lake from Carrig Country House garden. Photo by Kirsten Harrington

Even after a day of hiking, I was keen to explore the grounds. From rose bushes to expansive manicured lawns, the hotel’s garden boasts over 900 species of plants. Benches and chairs are tucked around the landscape to pause and drink it all in.

Pebbled pathways with ferns, foliage, and moss-covered rocks lead to the lake. Surrounded by a hovering mist, it was like walking through an enchanted forest. An old concrete pier sits partially submerged next to a tiny, crescent-shaped beach. I walked to the end for a better view of the evening sky as waves lapped the shoreline.

Hiking and Shopping Near Carrig Country House

Hiking through Windy Gap in Kerry, Ireland.
Hiking through Windy Gap in Kerry, Ireland. Photo by Kirsten Harrington

While it was tempting to stay cocooned under our down comforters, the promise of stunning vistas, and cool, clean air was enough to roust us out of bed each day. The hotel’s location near the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, and Killarney National Park makes it a hikers’ paradise.

On the first day, we started our hike at Heather’s restaurant in the Gap of Dunloe, about a 25-minute drive from the hotel. It’s an easy two-mile roundtrip stroll along the river to the Wishing Bridge. You can even hire a jaunting car (horse and two-wheeled carriage) if you don’t feel like walking.

With our hiking legs under us, on day two we tackled five miles on the Kerry Way. Walking along the heather-lined ridge yielded stunning views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. After traversing down the hillside through Windy Gap in the rain, we were happy to reach Tower’s Inn Pub in the town of Glenbeigh. I ordered my first (but not last) Guinness of the trip, toasting with my mom to a great mother-daughter trip.

We stopped in Killarney one day for lunch and shopping. My mom bought a wool sweater, and I stocked up on some local soaps and chocolates for gifts.

The town of Kenmare is also an easy day trip, just over an hour’s drive. With its peaceful harbor, shops, and pubs in a compact, walkable town, it was one of my favorite spots.

Whether you come just to relax or to hike Ireland’s scenic trails, the Carrig Country House provides the perfect blend of hospitality and historic charm for a memorable stay.

Visit Carrig Country House to book your stay. Room rates include full Irish breakfast and dinner packages are available.

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