This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Valentia Island. To help you make friends with Valentia Island before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Valentia Island belongs to County Kerry in western Ireland. It is situated just off the Iveragh Peninsula and connected to Ireland’s mainland via the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge. Its Gaelic name, Oileán Dairbhre, describes it as “island of oak trees.” The stretch of seven-mile (eleven-kilometer) by two-mile (three-kilometer) island houses about 665 residents and comprises Knightstown, its primary town, as well as a smaller village called Chapeltown.
Visitors to the island have several accommodations at their disposal. Most of these establishments are bed-and-breakfasts. Travelers who are watching their budgets and on the lookout for hostels may have to turn their search toward the mainland; hostels abound in nearby towns within County Kerry. Just across the bridge from Valentia Island, Portmagee is a town where tourists can find numerous hostels. In fact, there is a nice variety of hostels within the county, including on Dingle Peninsula as well as in Ballinskellig, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh. As soon as you have checked into one of these accommodations, you simply can cross the bridge or take a ferry to begin your adventures on the island.
No trip to Valentia Island is complete without visiting Knightstown, so you can begin your itinerary in this village designed in the 1830’s by Alexander Nimmo. Notice the gridded pattern of the streets, where many houses from the 1800’s still stand. The Knightstown Clock is another structure from the late 1800’s which adds the old-town, authentic vibe to this unique little settlement.
Romantics might enjoy a trip to Glanleam House, the former residence of knights surrounded by a magical garden of subtropical bloom. Colorful flowers, from Australia to Latin America and Asia, decorate the garden which looks like it came right out of a fairy tale.
Thrill seekers will want to climb Geokaun Mountain to reach the highest point of Valentia Island. Visitors of all fitness levels can reach the tip of the island by taking a car all the way up, a leisurely stroll the last bit, or a more strenuous hike from the very bottom of the hill; you choose on what level you park and begin your trek. There are view points all along the way. Once you reach the summit, you can look upon the entire island as well as the Skellig Islands in the distance.
Written by local enthusiast for Valentia Island hostelsJakob Lombardi