Ballyseedy Breathes New Life Into Tralee Bay Wetlands

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Nathan McDonnell at the revamped cafe at Tralee Bay Wetlands. Photo by Dermot Crean

IF you’ve been to the Wetlands in the past couple of months you might have seen some exciting new changes.

Back in early December, Ballyseedy Home & Garden Centre branched out and took over the lease for the cafe/restaurant at Tralee Bay Wetlands. The result is a revamp in decor and cuisine which has proved a massive success already.

When called on Friday morning at around 11am, the cafe was buzzing with people and almost all the seating already taken.  We spoke with Nathan McDonnell of Ballyseedy to find out how it’s going and what the future holds for them at the facility.

The attractive new interior at Ballyseedy Wetlands.


“Well the ethos of the Wetlands resonated with us in Ballyseedy, as its a family-oriented facility on the outskirts of town and the gateway to the Dingle Peninsula,” said Nathan.

“We spent a bit of time during the summer doing some research here and were amazed at how many local people and tourists were visiting. We felt the cafe was being under-utilised and we saw an opportunity to bring our brand in here and expand. We opened here on December 8 and there’s been a fantastic response to it,” he said.

No wonder. Nathan and Co have brought the same standards to the cafe as what made Ballyseedy such an incredible success. They’ve also made a considerable investment in introducing a welcoming new interior and the food is what you’ve come to expect from Ballyseedy.

Ballyseedy Wetlands has all the goodies you’ve come to expect from the ‘mothership’ in Ballyseedy.

“The most important thing for us was that the food was executed to the same high standards as in Ballyseedy and to keep improving. We have some fantastic chefs and even though horticulture is our background, we’ve, by default, become foodies,” said Nathan, who explained that the scope to develop the area further is exciting.

“I think there’s still a lot of people in Kerry and even Tralee who don’t know about the facility. We’ve spoken to local people who’ve come in the door here over the past couple of weeks and it was their first time at the Wetlands. But we’re confident that with the help of Fáilte Ireland and Kerry County Council we can develop and promote the facility further.”

“We’re wholly committed to the project and we’re hoping to secure a long-term tenancy from Kerry County Council. If we can do that I think you’ll see another investment by the company here to improve the standards even further.”


Nathan also said the Wetlands is ideal for people who work in town to go for lunch, especially with the parking facilities.

“I mean, how many places in Ireland, Kerry or Tralee can you drive to almost within the town and have your lunch overlooking a lake watching swans going by?” he asked, rhetorically.

He says the setting and space they have offers some great possibilities for special events, barbecues, an outdoor pizza oven and much more, once the weather improves.

With spring on the way, the future is looking really good for everyone at the Tralee Bay Wetlands facility.

A selection of food at Ballyseedy Wetlands.



  1. Matty O'Leary says:

    Ballyseedy Home & Garden Centre is one of the top café/restaurants in Ireland.

    Lucky Tralee Bay Wetlands to get Ballyseedy Home & Garden Centre to branched out and took over the lease of their café/restaurant.

    Best of luck to Ballyseedy Home & Garden Centre.

  2. MARTINA O'BRIEN says:

    Fabulous food in Wetlands same fantastic food as in Ballyseedy M O’Brien