Kerry’s Reeks District wins international fame for 2019

The mountainous region is among Rough Guide’s six best holiday spots for the year

In the shadow of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the Black Valley.  Photograph: Tom Fahy

In the shadow of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the Black Valley. Photograph: Tom Fahy

 

The newly named Reeks District of Kerry has made it on to the Rough Guide list of top places to visit in 2019, joining a Chinese region known for its tea and flowers, an Argentinean wetland and the Jordanian home of the Star Wars franchise.

The travel guide says Kerry has been on the tourism map for so long that it is “easy to be jaded about the region’s beauty” but adds that the “spectacular MacGillycuddy’s Reeks” refreshes the brand “by taking you inside that postcard scenery”.

Readers are encouraged to “drive, walk, hike, climb, bike, kayak or sail around the mountains and lakes of this rugged landscape encircled by the Ring of Kerry”.

The Coomloughra Horse Shoe in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan
The Coomloughra Horse Shoe in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. Photograph: Valerie O’Sullivan

The highlight of the trip – both literally and metaphorically – is Carrauntoohil, the guide book says. “At 1,038.6 metres (3,407 ft), reaching the peak is an achievable day trek for anyone of reasonable fitness,” it suggests.

The guide book also draws attention to less strenuous walks which take in “sheep-dotted moorland or a deserted Atlantic beach” and it mentions both Inch and Rossbeigh as ideal for family picnickers.

While the area’s small towns and villages “highlight the modern Ireland of trendy coffee shops, young designers and boutique B&Bs,” the “live music pubs and hearty fare remain the same, as does the traditional Irish welcome”.

Puck Fair, the horse races on the sands at Glenbeigh and the “torch-lit procession full of ancient folklore to celebrate Biddy’s Day” all get a mention.

King Puck: Goatcatchers Pat Cahill and John McGrath capturing a wild goat for crowning at the fair in 2014. Photograph: Don MacMonagle
King Puck: Goatcatchers Pat Cahill and John McGrath capturing a wild goat for crowning at the fair in 2014. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Joining the Reek’s District on a list is the Chinese region of Yúnnán which the Rough Guide writers say is “famous for its tea and flowers, as well as the Unesco-listed wooden city of Lijiang”. The province “stretches from the snowy foothills of the Himalayas to the steamy borders with Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam”.

The Iberá Wetlands in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province also makes it onto the list. The conservation area is made up of tropical swamps, marshes and lagoons and home “to a plethora of animal species, ranging from capybaras and caimans to armadillos and over 380 different species of birds”.

Canada’s Yukon Territory, where the wildlife outnumbers the humans and where the mountains and snow, wolves and extreme weather “is so harshly beautiful that every visitor loses a piece of their heart to it”.

As the filming location for the third and final instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy – Episode IX – Wadi Rum in Jordan will once again be on the screens of audiences worldwide in 2019.

And finally there is Alabama. July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, and one place that will be going all-out for the celebrations is Huntsville, Alabama, as the town is known as “Rocket City” thanks to its close links with the Nasa space programme .

It is where many satellites and rockets were built including the Saturn V rocket which powered the Apollo lunar landings, something that may prove attractive to space geeks everywhere.