Minister Leo Varadkar opened the new section of the N86 road outside Annascaul which lies on the main route from Tralee to Dingle, and which is used by thousands of local residents and thousands more tourists every year.
The project cost around €9 million and was funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. It was overseen by the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Kerry County Council and was completed in around 16 months.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Varadkar said: "This is an important project for West Kerry and the whole county, and will make a big difference to journeys in the area.
"But it has also national significance, as thousands of tourists travel along the N86 every year in order to reach Dingle, one of our premier tourism destinations."
He added: “Although the old N86 had its charms, it was also very narrow, and the stretch which we have upgraded had a number of dangerous junctions leading on to side roads. These have now been replaced and will make a big difference to safety levels.
"The new road is wider at 3 metres, and also provides a hard shoulder in each direction. I’m also very pleased that we have been able to offer cycle and pedestrian facilities along this stretch.”
In the longer term, the NRA plans to upgrade the entire length of the N86 between Dingle in the west of the peninsula, and Camp on the northern side.
The plan is to develop the 27km project as one of four Tourist Route Pilot Schemes, including cycle schemes and pedestrian access.
Similar schemes have already opened along the N59 near Clifden, Co Galway, the N59 at Kilbride, Co Mayo and the N56 at Glenties, Co. Donegal.
The proposal for the N86 would considerably improve safety levels and journey times in West Kerry, and improve road surfaces in the villages of Lispole, Annascaul and Camp on the Dingle Peninsula.
IrishCentral reports on The Crest, the story of two distant cousins from opposite sides of the United States - Andrew Jacob from Massachusetts and Dennis Kane from California. Though previously unknown to each other, the two nevertheless share a deep passion for surfing.
And it's the waves that bring them together as they unite in the land of their great-great-grandfather to indulge their obsession and ride the giant swells for which the west of Ireland is becoming so renowned.
Indeed, Canada's National Post is just the latest to discover the attractions of surfing at Lahinch and the Cliffs of Moher
Crowdfunded via a Kickstarter campaign, the documentary crew already shot footage in Cape Cod and San Diego before decamping to the Blaskets off Kerry last month to shadow the cousins as they connect to their roots.
The film is directed by Mark Corvino, who co-directed the current film festival favourite music documentary A Band Called Death.
#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) advises of a 3D seismic survey in the Porcupine Basin off the Kerry coast to begin in early July for a period of seven weeks, weather permitting.
Polarcus, on behalf of Kosmos Energy Ireland, is scheduled to carry out the work over an area of more than 5,700 square kilometres in a region previously identified as having potential for enormous oil reserves.
Carrying out the survey will be the seismic vessel M/V Polarcus Amani (Call sign: C6ZD3). The vessel will be towing 10 cables, each 7.2km long and 150m apart, at a depth of 10m. The total width of the array is 1.35km. A buoy with a radar reflector and navigation strobe light will be deployed at the end of each cable.
The seismic vessel will also be accompanies by the support vessel M/V Bravo Sapphire (Call sign: ZDJY8) and chase vessel M/V Calvin (Call sign: 3EGU4). All three will be listening on VHF Channel 16 throughout the project.
The work vessels will also be restricted in their ability to manoeuvre while carrying out the survey, and all other vessel are requested to give these operations a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.
Full details of co-ordinates and a map of the work area are included in Marine Notice No 28 of 2013, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.
The north-east county was among a surprise selection of areas known for their maritime and waterways attractions - such as Westmeath on the Shannon and Galway, host of last year's Volvo Ocean Race finale - that were not featured in the Irish tourism board's list of 45 towns and villages put forward for the Highly Commended Tourism Towns award, part of the National Tidy Towns Awards to be announced later in the year.
Counties on the water that did make the cut include Clare and Mayo, with five towns each on the list, Kerry with four - including last year's winner Portmagee - and Donegal and Waterford, represented three times each.
The top prize winner, to be announced by Fáilte Ireland in November, will receive €10,000 in supports for tourism marketing and development.
Though Sligo is conspicuous by its absence, Donegal's triple placing shows the north-east region is a big tourism attraction - and the Tripclocker blog says surfing is at the forefront of that.
With Ireland's exposure to the open Atlantic giving is "better waves more often", according to Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's Turn n' Surf, there is a wide variety of surf beaches stretching from Donegal to Clare in particular with swells for all levels of experience.
Rowan Minjon of Castlegregory had pleaded not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving over the death of Kentucky woman Jenna Hill, who was struck by a reversing truck on Inch Beach in Ardroe on the morning of 2 July 2011 and suffered severe head injuries.
The trial at Tralee Circuit Court heard that the truck driven by Minjon - employed by the Offshore Surf School at the time - had no working horn nor reverse lights.
But Garda vehicle inspector Jim O'Brien said Minjon had not been aware of Hill's presence on the beach, and claimed that she should have noticed the "big bright noisy and near" truck as it approached.
IrishCentral has more on the story HERE.
After first hatching its harbour plan over five years ago, National Tourism Award winning village Portmagee in County Kerry now looks certain to see a new pontoon finally installed at Portmagee pier in 2013. It will be a further boost for a Kerry already popular with visiting yachts and boats.
The idea is to link the network of facilities that terminate in West Cork with new facilities in County Kerry and Portmagee will be an important link in this process.
The plans are that both local Skellig Rock tourism boat operators and up to 20 visiting yachts at any one time can use the new village pontoon once it is installed.
The facility is being developed through a local community initiative with funding from Kerry County Council and Failte Ireland.
Boating facilities at the Dromquinna Manor resort in Kerry include pontoon berths offering the boating enthusiast a wonderful base to enjoy the south-west coast. The current facility comprises a long jetty in the Kenmare river.
#Rescue - Emergency workers with Irish heritage from all over the world are being invited to celebrate Heroes Week in Tralee this June.
As part of The Gathering 2013 initiative, the chiefs of Co Kerry's emergency services will welcome first responders with Irish heritage - or an affinity for Ireland - for a week-long reunion among colleagues in Ireland.
Visitors will be declared 'guests of honour' in Tralee for the week, and among the various events planned between 12-17 June, they will have a chance to trace their Irish roots, and sightsee around one of Ireland's most picturesque spots.
And what's more, the not-for-profit event aims to raise funds for vital local rescue and lifesaving services.
As reported on Irish Central, Mayor of Kerry Terry O'Brien said: “We salute the men and women who go to work each day with only one purpose in mind – to protect and save lives. Many of them have Irish roots and we want to invite them home.
"Kerry has a strong tradition of volunteerism and a collective pride-of-place that will see us roll-out the red carpet to welcome our Heroes home to the Kingdom County. I hope you can join us and we assure you of a memorable visit with us and a warm Irish welcome.”
Full details of the event, including booking information, are available on the Heroes Week website HERE.
Valentia Harbour is on the south side of the entrance to Dingle Bay, in a sheltered area between the Valentia Island and the mainland. Knightstown is a fishing port and is the Island's only settlement. It provides visiting yachts with a sheltered anchorage and moorings. There is the outline of a marina (the floating breakwaters) there and they are sometimes used for berthing.
#icra – A fleet of 40 boats with some high calibre entries are entered so far for the ICRA National Championships at Tralee Bay Sailing Club in June.
This year organisers says there is equal focus on IRC and ECHO handicaps in the National Championships with equal trophies prizes and recognition together with the ICRA Corinthian Cups for the Non-Spinnaker Divisions means that all Club sailors are catered for say organisers.
Division 2 is already shaping up to be a great fleet with the Corby 25 Tribal (ex Yanks and Franks), Liam Burke from Galway Bay entered and Dave Cullen's Half-Tonner King One from Howth Yacht Club. Nigel Biggs' Half-Tonner Checkmate XV from Dun Laoghaire's Royal St George is also in. There are also expected entries from skippers Frank Desmond, Peter Deasy and Mark Ivor's Cork Week winning Bad Company from the Royal Cork and Martin Reilly's Half-Tonner Harmony from Sligo Yacht Club.
Division 3 already has two hot quarter tonners Diarmuid Foley's Anchor Challenge from the Royal Cork and Lostys Illes Pitituses from Cobh Sailing Club as well as the defending champion Tiger (Neil Kenefick).
Division 1 is also building with likes of Raptor Denis Hewitt and partners and Joker 2 John Maybury both from the Royal Irish Yacht Club and Exhale Derry Good from Royal Cork Yacht Club leading the charge.
Division 0 sees ICRA Commodore Norbert Reilly's Crazy Horse Howth Yacht Club lining up against Anthony O' Leary's Royal Cork Antix who will be using the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race as a feeder. Gloves Off skippered by Kieran Twomey and Conor Phelan's Jump will also be likely to travel from Royal Cork.
The ICRA Corinthian Cup will be sailed for non spinnaker classes at the same time and is expected to draw significant interest.
As before in Tralee, WIORA West Coast Championships is 'intertwined' with the ICRA's and starts a day earlier on 12th finishing on the 14 th as an extra bonus for all those who travel.
The facilities of Fenit Harbour including marina berths for the duration of the event together with inexpensive lift in and out are a bonus for ICRA. TBSC promise a carnival atmosphere in the club and throughout the village with pubs and restaurants doing their bit to make sailors welcome.
Entry discount applies before 27th April 2013 so don't delay - get your entry in now at www.traleesailingclub.com