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With its softly rolling green fields, long, sweeping seascapes, and vibrant little towns, it's easy to see why so many visitors make a beeline for County Kerry. Charming villages like colorful Kenmare and bustling historic towns like Killarney seem as familiar as the Irish folk songs written about them. Craggy mountain ranges punctuated by peaceful green valleys are just what you hope for when you come to Ireland.

Kerry's tremendous popularity has been great for local businesses, but during the summer it can mean that the spectacular rural scenery fairly bursts at the seams with millions of tourists. In July and August, tour buses struggle to share narrow mountain roads with local traffic, and at the best vantage points, the view is often blocked by two or three of the behemoths; it's easy to feel like the whole place is on the verge of being overrun. Luckily, it's still easy to escape the crowds. If you're driving along the congested Ring of Kerry and the crowds are getting to you, simply turn off onto a small country lane and chances are you'll find yourself alone and in the peaceful Irish wilderness within seconds. In the high season in Kerry, taking the road less traveled can be the best way to go.

Of course, not everybody minds the inevitable clutter and cacophony of the tourism industry. Those who enjoy the conviviality of the international crowds can stay on the main roads and soak up all the hubbub. Only you can decide which Ireland you want to experience.