Fertility rocks and a randy leprechaun – it’s all fun and games in County Kerry. WORDS: Amelia Bentley

To the women on our tour, the excitement of being romanced by men from the Emerald Isle seemed almost too much to bear. You can imagine their reaction, then, when our handsome tour guide Conrad Bailey introduced himself: “Bailey, as in Baileys Irish Cream, so if you want an authentic shot of Baileys Irish Cream …”

The caution was loud and clear: “Girls, I need to warn you, you are going to be wooed by Irishmen,” said our bus driver en route to the Ring of Kerry. “And Irishmen are the greatest lovers in the world.”

And the theme continued. Our first night we stayed at The Randy Leprechaun in Annascaul (population 250), in Ireland’s south-west. It’s a hostel and bar that divides the small community with its risque name.

“It gives the impression of a sleaze joint,” reckoned one resident. It probably doesn’t help relations that the hostel is across the road from the town church. Staff say they regularly cop dirty looks from offended parishioners.

After a night with the Randy Leprechaun, the next stop is a phallic-shaped rock in a muddy paddock on the west-coast’s Dingle peninsular, where angry waves crash into cliffs bordered by luscious pastures.

“It’s a fertility rock,” Bailey tells the female members of our group. “If you rub your bottoms on there, you will feel fertility rushing through your fallopian tubes.”

High-heeled boots and open-toe shoes aside, just about every girl on the bus navigated the swamp-like path to get to the so-called fertility rock, where they promptly began gyrating themselves against the rock, posing for photos. “You need to get a root first,” shouted one particularly poetic male onlooker.

Back on the bus, we passed through Dingle and onto Killarney, where a tranquil horse-drawn cart ride helped calm the X-rated atmosphere. Trotting through forests, past calm blue lakes and crumbling castles, we joined locals out for an afternoon stroll through the countryside.

Our horseman John and his trusty steed Valentino dropped us at our hostel door. In this slow-paced country town drivers are used to stopping for non-motorised traffic on the town’s streets – and the horses barely seem to notice cars zooming past.

Despite its quiet appearance, Killarney’s nightlife soon revved things up a gear. After lining our stomachs with steak and potatoes, out came the shots. Among them were Irish Flags (crème de menthe, Baileys and orange liqueur) and Irish Car Bombs (whiskey and Baileys dropped in half a pint of Guinness). It might not be exactly what Bailey had intended, but we’d got our authentic shot of Baileys Irish Cream after all.

What to do in Dingle
With 48 licensed premises to cater for a population of around 3000 people, you’ll never be short of places to have a drink. In fact, they’re so keen for a drop in Dingle that you can even get a beer at a hardware store or shoe repair shop. Back in the day, owners of such outlets needed to diversify to make ends meet, so they started pulling pints as well. Since then, the beer has stayed.

Today, you might be surrounded by footwear in Dick Macks, but they haven’t sold a pair of shoes in 40 years. They have, however, served the likes of Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts if the Hollywood-style walk of fame on the footpath is to be believed.

Remember to keep your ears open as you may be able to hear older patrons gossiping in Irish. Dingle is one of Ireland’s Government-protected Gaelic-speaking areas, called Gaeltachts.

If you’ve got time for a day trip, take a boat and see Dingle’s famous resident, Fungi – a bottlenose dolphin who’s been living at the mouth of Dingle Harbour since 1984. Another option is spending a day on the remote Blasket Islands, home to a whole community who lived off the land until they were evacuated from the island in 1953. A boat for Great Blasket Island leaves Dingle every two hours.

• Amelia Bentley travelled to County Kerry with Paddywagon (+353-823 0822). A six-day All Ireland plus London Invader is £269