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The Tralee Destination covers the entire southern expanse of the Republic of Ireland. Many natural aquatic landforms such as Lough Leane in Killarney National Park, River Lee in County Cork, and a saltwater lake known as Lough Mahon in the destination’s southern region, all of which contribute to the Tralee Destination’s geographic structure. In addition to the rivers and lakes, mountainous regions constitute a considerable portion of the destination. Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil, can be found in County Kerry in the destination’s western area.[8] Two of the most prominent cities in the destination are Limerick and Cork, both of which contain castles and historic sites that tourists are drawn to annually. Blarney Castle in County Cork is one specific site that has a historical background that involved Queen Elizabeth I who tried to give the castle to the Earl of Leicester.[12] Beyond the historic properties throughout the Tralee Destination, outdoor enthusiasts frequently visit Killarney National Park to go hiking on the designated trails. The hiking routes that wind through the park range in difficulty between multi-access, easy, moderate, strenuous, and very difficult. Climatic conditions in Killarney National Park tend to be somewhat humid, and the winter season in the park has been described by previous hikers as “mild.”[9]

What Tralee is known for

Encompassing the entirety of Ireland’s southern region, the Tralee Destination is characteristic of several prominent cities and towns, including Cork in County Cork; Limerick in County Limerick; Killarney in County Kerry; and the namesake, Tralee, also in County Kerry. The destination comprises over six of the Republic of Ireland’s counties.[1] In the destination’s western portion, Tralee covers a total land area of 18.79 kilometers square. It was reported that an estimated population of 23,691 residents dwell in Tralee, as of the 2016 census. Approximately 52% of the population, as a whole, are female while the remaining 48% are male. In terms of ethnic composition, the majority of residents are white individuals at 91.7%, with the other constituents being those classified as black (2.2%), Asian (3.4%), or other ethnic groups (2.7%).[2] The total number of residents living in the town ranks Tralee as the largest town in County Kerry, the eighth-largest town in Ireland, and the 14th-largest urban settlement in the country.[1]

Tralee serves as the county town of County Kerry and is also frequented by tourists. The town is fairly known for a particular festival hosted annually every August (since 1959) called the Rose of Tralee International Festival. The festival’s name derives from a nineteenth-century ballad about a woman called Mary who was nicknamed "The Rose of Tralee" because of her acclaimed beauty. Notably, the festival is broadcasted for two nights and is “one of the highest-viewed shows on Irish television,” typically receiving over one million viewers. In honor of the tradition of the Tralee Festival, a life-size bronze statue of Mary, also known as the Rose of Tralee, along with a statue of the author of the ballad, William Pembroke Mulchinock, can be found in the Rose Garden of the Tralee Town Park. The statue was constructed by an Irish sculptor by the name of Jeanne Rynhart, and it was unveiled for display in 2009.[1]

Another attraction that visitors often take interest in is the Tralee Aqua Dome, a water park that features a 90-meter-high slide, a river rapids area, and a lazy river. The attraction itself is situated adjacent to an 18-hole mini golf course that visitors can utilize as well.[3] Akin to the Tralee Aqua Dome, The Playdium in southeastern Tralee aims to accommodate a younger demographic. The Playdium is a fairly popular attraction that allows visitors to host birthday parties or other similar events at the facility. A range of child-friendly activities are offered at The Playdium, including go-kart racing, a ball pit, and an indoor playground setup.[4]
Apart from Tralee, tourists are drawn to other cities in the Tralee Destination, namely Cork in County Cork and Limerick in County Limerick. Cork is known by many locals and tourists for its architecturally significant buildings, most of which originate from time periods that vary between the medieval period and the present time. A handful of tourists also consider the city to be a “foodie town” as the city of Cork offers several local traditional foods such as crubeens, tripe, and drisheen, to name a few. During some city festivals, St. Patrick’s Street, Grand Parade, and other city streets feature food vendors.[5]

The two cities, Cork and Limerick, are alike in the architectural sense as Limerick’s castles and historic sites are notable for receiving a relatively high quantity of visitors annually. King John’s Castle is one of the city's major landmarks that operates as a museum as it depicts over 800 years of local history through interpretive activities and exhibitions, 3D models, and animations. The castle can be found in Limerick’s central medieval quarter.[6]


The topographic structure of the Tralee Destination in southern Ireland is mountainous and somewhat verdant with a fair amount of forested regions and pastoral land. Some of the mountains in the destination are comprised of old red sandstone. Surrounding the eastern, southern, and western perimeters of the destination are rugged coastlines with numerous peninsulas, islands, and headlands. Carrauntoohil, a mountain peak located west of Killarney National Park, is the highest peak in Ireland as it reaches a height of 3,414 feet.[8]

Killarney National Park, situated in the destination’s western portion, is characterized by several lakes and rivers, including Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, Upper Lake Killarney, and Doo Lough. The park covers almost 26,000 acres of land with a relatively diverse range of habitats that serve as the home for a variety of flora and fauna. An abundance of red deer live in Killarney National Park, with an estimated population of roughly 800 to 1,000 red deer. Other mammals include Japanese sika deer, lesser horseshoe bats, otters, badgers, minks, red squirrels, foxes, Irish hares, and stoats. Over 140 species of birds additionally inhabit the park, both resident and migrant species. Within the lakes of Killarney National Park, about 14 fish species have been identified. One particular species of fish in the park is the Killarney shad, which is reportedly a sub-species that is unique to Lough Leane.[9]

Tourists who have previously visited Tralee in County Kerry have described the summer season to be “cool.” In contrast, winters in Tralee have been said to be “long,” “cold,” and “wet.” From late June to early September, warm-weather activities are more accessible compared to other times of the year due to the moderate weather conditions. Throughout the year, temperatures tend to vary between 41 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. An average high of 62 degrees Fahrenheit is typical from June to September, which is most commonly the warm season. Temperatures reach a high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit in July, which is generally the hottest month of the year in Tralee. Regarding the cool season, temperatures drop to roughly around 52 degrees Fahrenheit on average from November to March. February is the coldest month of the year in the city, as temperatures range between 41 and 49 degrees Fahrenheit.[7]

The most common form of precipitation that Tralee receives over the course of the year is rain. From October to February, the city tends to experience the highest amount of precipitation, with a greater than 41% probability of any given day being a wet day. Nearly 15.4 days in January receive at least 0.04 inches of precipitation. Wet days gradually decrease from February to October, and April generally has the least amount of wet days each year.[7]


Many of the cities that are established throughout the Tralee Destination have their genesis in the early stages of Viking settlement. Tralee, in particular, was originally founded by Anglo-Normans in the 13th century. The town became a stronghold of the Earls of Desmond as they constructed a castle in the area.[1] Remains of the castle wall can currently be found, as well as remnants of a medieval Dominican abbey.[10] On the site of the old castle, Denny Street—a wide Georgian street—was completed in 1826. In the 19th century, Tralee’s modern layout was created. With the goal to accommodate larger ships that were sailing to Tralee, plans to construct the Tralee Ship Canal were organized, and work to build the canal began in 1832. It wasn’t until 1846 that the canal was opened, due to funding issues. Soon after its completion, the canal started to suffer from silting, ultimately causing it to fall into neglect and disuse. The canal was then closed in the mid-20th century; however, restoration of the canal was planned by local authorities as they intended to utilize it as a tourist attraction. Apartment blocks were built and the basin area of the canal was redeveloped. In current times, the canal is used as an amenity as part of the Dingle Way.[1]

County Cork has a considerable number of historical sites throughout the county such as Blarney Castle and Gardens, Cork City Gaol, Charles Fort, Cobh Cathedral, and University College Cork, among other sites. Blarney Castle is one of the most visited among the previously mentioned attractions. Architecturally, the castle has a Victorian style as it dates back to 1874 when it was first built by John Lanyon. Queen Elizabeth I commanded the Earl of Leicester to take possession of the castle, though his attempts at negotiation for an alternative were dismissed. According to the Blarney Castle website, it is believed that Queen Elizabeth I was so irritated that she remarked that “the Earl’s reports were all blarney,” thus prompting the castle’s name.[12]

The aforementioned Charles Fort was built by William Robinson. The site has been part of several notable events in Irish history. A siege that lasted about 13 days, during the Williamite Wars, occurred in the surrounding territory of Charles Fort. Moreover, in the 1920s at the time of the Civil War, anti-treaty forces burned Charles Fort down. Nowadays, visitors can roam the grounds of Charles Fort.[13]