Kerry is a county of Ireland much favored by those looking for the essence of "Old Ireland." An example is the picturesque town of Killarney, where visitors enjoy the county's established tourism offerings and wild scenery, especially the Lakes of Killarney, the Dingle Peninsula, and the route known as the Ring of Kerry; and there are Gaelic speakers in this area. Ironically, as the Great Irish Famine of the 19th century resulted in massive emigration to Canada and the U.S., it is their descendants who return here today, ensuring Kerry MICE venues stay healthy.
Kerry has an airport, Kerry Airport (KIR) that is also known as Farranfore. It sits eight miles north of Killarney and has service to Dublin, London and Hahn, near Frankfurt. Larger, busier Cork Airport (ORK) is just a little more than 50 miles to the southeast.
The Killarney Convention Centre is chief among Kerry MICE venues, having 45,000 square feet of space, a lobby for 700 persons, 15 meeting rooms, several halls, and a three-story convention facility that includes an auditorium for 3,200 persons. It also has three hotels, one of which is the 244-room The Gleneagle (not Gleneagles, the famous golf resort, which is in Scotland).
MICE hotels in Killarney include the 171-room The Malton, which opened in 1854, has welcomed numerous celebrities, and has a conference center for up to 950 persons (as well as various meeting rooms); the 69-room Killarney Park Hotel, which has space for up to 120 persons; and, beside Lough Leane (the lake immediately to the south of Killarney), the impressive, the 131-room Lake Hotel Killarney, which opened in 1820, remains owned by the same family, has beautiful views, contains ruined, 12th-century castle McCarthy Mor and has equally wonderful meeting space, including the Castle Suite for 160 persons. To the southwest of Killarney is the 83-room Parknasilla Resort & Spa, which has wooded coastal scenery to all sides, a spa, a raised lawn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and such spaces as the Shaw Lounge, for 60, for events. In Kenmare, a little closer to Killarney but in the same direction, is the 66-room Sheen Falls Lodge, yet one more hotel with a stupendous perch, this time on Kenmare Bay, and with 300 acres and event space in such areas as The Library and the Sir William Petty Suite.
Unique MICE venues in Kerry include Muckross House, which for the fit is within walking distance of Killarney—though a more fun way to arrive is via traditional horse and buggy—and has a traditional farm, weaving and pottery center, a garden with restaurant, a lawn for up to 300 persons, an old schoolhouse for 190, and a tent for 900; while besides Kenmare Bay, close to Sheen Falls Lodge, is Dromquinna Lodge, which has space for events of up to 180 persons, glamping opportunities beside the bay, a separate wooden house called The Bolthouse with a patio, meeting space and a pier for additional events, among other options. Out in the Atlantic Ocean regions of Kerry are The Old Oratory, in Cahersiveen, a former stone church that has been modernized but without losing its charm, with a cafe, art gallery, stage for music and room for 150 persons; a little farther southwest around the Ring of Kerry Dennynane House, the former home of Irish politician Daniel O'Connell (one of the fathers of modern Ireland), which has a tearoom, restaurant and lawns, and to the other side of Castlemaine Harbour, on the very end of the Dingle Peninsula, in the village of Dun Chaoin, the Blasket Centre, known in Gaelic as Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhoir, an interpretive center chronicling the life, literature, and traditions of the islanders of Great Blasket, which can be seen from it and was evacuated in 1953. The centre has a museum, gallery space, a large lawn with views of the site's inspiration, and an auditorium.
Restaurants in Killarney good for groups include Cronin's, which has a traditional menu and vibe; Bricin, equally traditional, full of antiques and with a crafts shop, and Lord Kenmare's, with fine dining; and Murphy's bar, a traditional hostelry. A couple of miles to the northwest is the beautifully situated Killeen House Hotel, with a fine-dining restaurant, Rozzers, that can cater to private parties of up to 30 persons, who can also sleep in 23 guest rooms, while on the far side of Lough Leane is The Oak Restaurant at hotel The Dunloe, also with a ruined 12th-century castle, as well as 102 guest rooms.