In Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2015, the Kingdom is described as a destination which appeals to the imagination of travellers of all ages.
It writes glowingly about the 170km Ring of Kerry which offers “attractions every few miles”, while Killarney National Park and the Dingle Peninsula were also favourably mentioned.
“Mysterious islands off a craggy coastline; mist-wreathed mountains and lakes; castles, abbeys and other ruins to explore … no wonder Co Kerry appeals to the imagination of travellers of all ages.
“This wild part of Ireland is perfect for children (and adults) with a sense of adventure. If you’re visiting during the summer months, test their sea legs on the short ferry to Great Blasket Island.
“Or, for older would-be sailors, take the boat to the Skelligs; admire the raw power of the Atlantic Ocean during a horse ride along Rossbeigh Beach or let your water babes sign up for surf school; take an epic journey through Killarney National Park, where the Gap of Dunloe trip combines a boat trip with walking, cycling or a pony and trap,” it said.
The guide urges visitors to see Fungie, the bottlenose dolphin that’s been a major tourist attraction in Dingle for over 30 years.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said Kerry’s rating would inspire travellers everywhere to put the county and Ireland on their holiday wishlist.
“It also gives Tourism Ireland another wonderful hook to continue to promote Kerry and Ireland around the world,” he said.
He also noted the three Aran islands, Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer captured fourth place in the Conde Nast Traveller list of top scenic islands in the world.
Meanwhile, spokesman for the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’ Federation, Michael Rosney said the family holiday sector was very important to Kerry and Lonely Planet had a high credibility level across all the county’s markets.
“Kerry doesn’t get due credit for the quality and variety of the product we offer families, both home and abroad.
“Lonely Planet has an excellent track record and reputation and this is very welcome news,’’ he said.
Europe’s top 10 destinations for family holidays, as named by Lonely Planet:
1. Kent, England
2. Co Kerry
3. Black Forest, Germany
4. Budapest, Hungary
5. Vorarlberg, Austria
6. Aland Archipelago, Finland
7. Ibiza, Spain
8. Normandy, France
9. Skomer and Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales
10. Bohinj, Slovenia