5 Things To Do
While it’s more than enough to simply cycle or stroll along one of the Kerry Greenways, get some exercise and fresh air, and take in the beautiful views, there are plenty of activities you can work into your visit for some added adventure. From exploring market towns to visiting exciting attractions to identifying favourite birdsongs in the hedgerows, there is plenty to do while you’re out enjoying the greenways.
1.Spy a sparrow hawk
Although the sparrow hawk is the most common bird of prey in Ireland, they are elusive creatures and rarely seen. As ambush predators, sparrow hawks prey on the songbirds commonly found using hedgerows for cover – and since the Kingdom of Kerry Greenways are lined with hedgerows, you have as good a chance as ever to see one.
If you’re in an area with a lot of songbird activity that suddenly empties, it can be a sign of a bird of prey. Ireland’s other birds of prey like the kestrel or buzzard are conspicuous hunters, so if you don’t easily see a predator, look again – as it might be a sparrow hawk executing the attack.
2.Identify native species
While you’re watching the hedgerows, see how many native species of Irish vegetation you can identify. Hedgerows act as mini-ecosystems, providing a wide range of habitats for myriad plant and animal species. The rich variety of plants attract many different birds, insects and small mammals, helping to create a very active and diverse little community.
The various plants found within hedgerows provide shelter, food, protection and nesting sites for their inhabitants. They also capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to efforts to stem climate change. You can look for hawthorn, ferns, heather, gorse, ivy, dandelions, fuchsia, moss, lichen and even the Kerry lily as you pass by.
3.Note different geological forms
The geology along the Kerry Greenways has some fascinating stories to tell, from extinct species and fluctuating sea levels to glaciation and volcanic eruptions. These stories are one display in the exposed rock and cliff formations that can be seen along the greenways.
While the bedrock consists mainly of varying forms of limestone, sandstone and shale, each layer reveals clues to the climate, landscape and creatures of the past. Some parts of the landscape are more alkaline than others, so might be more attractive to alkaline-loving species like ivy, while others are more acidic and more likely to be covered with eye-catching plants like the Rugosa Rose. Keep an eye on the changes you see as you move along the greenways, and take note of combinations you particularly admire.
4.Visit historical points of interest
Because the Kingdom of Kerry Greenways follow the old Limerick to Kerry railway line, they pass along key points of interest in the history of the county. While some of the historical sites may not have clear indications or a stopping point, it is worth checking in advance to see if you might be passing close by a place that featured in a part of history that is interesting to you.
The Kerry Greenways pass close to well established places like Ballinruddery Castle and the Fenit Lighthouse, as well as easily missed landmarks like Sammy’s Rock and Riversdale Bridge. There’s also the historic Kilmorna Kerries and the inspirational River Feale, which featured in the works of John B. Keane and Bryan McMahon.
5.Find a new favourite
Finally, as you’re passing by the welcoming towns and villages along the greenways, consider stopping in to try a new cafe or pub, browse a boutique or take in some music or a play. Kerry offers a wealth of original, unique and memorable places to visit. Whether you’re looking for a bit of refreshment, a break from your cycle or just another change of scenery, you might discover a new favourite place right here in Kerry.
For more options or ideas, head to the Explore section of discoverkerry.com. You can find things to do, a calendar of upcoming events, places to go and a range of activities to suit every taste. Add items of interest to your planner and have fun planning your next trip to the Kerry Greenways