Visiting the Ring of Kerry - a must do in 2018
In Killarney National Park, an 179km route passing through spectacular landscape awash with history and exquisite views, the Ring of Kerry is one of those bucket-list places you simply must visit, see what people are saying on TripAdvisor. Take a tour bus, cycle, or even better, hire a car. Car hire Kerry Airport is available to pick up and to drive to the starting point of the Ring of Kerry; Killarney is 18 minutes from Kerry Airport.
No matter how you decide to make the circuit of the Iveragh Peninsula; the Ring of Kerry wows and dazzles, offering you some of the most memorably beautiful terrain to be found anywhere on this planet. As the road narrows in places, traditionally tour buses take the southward route out of Killarney and head around the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction. But if you decide to drive or cycling on the ring yourself the vistas are equally stunning whichever way you travel - do add it to your list of things to do in Kerry.
- Ring of Kerry Map
- Ring of Kerry Itinerary
- How long does it take to drive?
- When to visit?
- Signature Stop Points
- Alternative driving routes
- The Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
- Slea Head - Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
- Healy Pass - The Healy Pass is a winding mountain road between Adrigole in Co. Cork and Lauragh in Co. Kerry
- The Ring of Beara - Located in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
- Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
- Lough Inagh Drive - 165 km of the Galway coast
- The Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.
- Shannon Estuary Drive - A smaller 207km looped route from Limerick.
Ring of Kerry Map
Ring of Kerry Tourism advises to do this route as per the map below; Killarney - Killorglin - Kells - Caherciveen - Waterville - Caheerdaniel - Sneem - Kenmare - Muckross House and Lakes - Killarney. It is recommended to do the drive anti clockwise to avoid meeting tour buses.
Ring of Kerry Road Trip Itinerary
Detailed itinerary to use as a base itinerary to touring the Ring of Kerrry route, read here.
How long to do the Ring of Kerry drive?
While the distance doesn't seem long by car, you might wonder how long does it take to travel around the ring- to do the full loop without stopping would take about 3 hours without traffic. It can be done in 4 hours, it can be done in one day however there are lots of places of interests & scenic viewpoints and activties on the route, we suggest spending a good full day or a weekend staying at different places where you can enjoy the route.
Get some maps, leave early to avoid the crowds and pack a picnic lunch, stop along the way and take your time. For more information on sights along the route, have a look at Lonely Planet's guide.
When is a great time to visit Ring of Kerry for the first time?
If you are planning to do the Ring of Kerry, you might prefer to do this outside the high season. Popular season is between July and August, visiting in May/June or September will allow you to visit without the high season rates.
Ring of Kerry Stop Points:
This a beloved place of interest on the route, an historic mansion built in the Tudor Style with immaculately maintained gardens, and within the bounds of Killarney National Park; admission to the site is free with guided tours of the building and grounds available for a small fee. Why not make a day of it and visit the traditional farms of the Muckross estate? Close by is the lovingly restored Ross Castle where a tranquil boat trip provides a unique way to experience all that the lakes have to offer.
Ladies View, Killarney National ParkA stunning scenic view point along N71 section of the Ring of Kerry,
the Lakes of Killarney can be seen from this point.
Kenmare townA gem and the next stop on the trail heading south. It boasts a proud tradition of lace making in the area which began in the 1860s and continues to this day. Drop into one of Kenmareâ€™s hotels and eateries for a spot of lunch or perhaps afternoon tea. While passing through the town of Sneem stop for a photo opportunity at any piece of the townâ€™s public sculpture collection.
CaherciveenAn principal town on the Iveragh peninsula and its fantastic interpretive centre is housed in a carefully renovated former army barracks. The nearby village of Portmagee is the place to go if you want to visit Skellig Islands or Valentia Island, famous as the site where the first permanent Transatlantic telegraph cable came ashore, linking Europe and America and thereby changing the way the world communicated forever.
MacGillycuddy Reeks, Co KerryA lovely viewpoint on a mountain range including the highest peaks in Ireland.
Portmageeis the departure point for the Skellig Islands, including the Great Skellig also known as Skellig Michael, a precipitously rocky island where Christian monks settled in the 7th century to practise an ascetic form of their faith. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1996 and its inaccessibility in bad weather has actually helped to conserve this special place for posterity. However it should be noted that the almost vertical climb should only be undertaken by the most sure-footed explorers. Inside this route is the lesser well known Skellig Ring, an 18-kilometre route that links Waterville and Portmagee via a rarely visited area teeming with ancient monastic structures and diverse wildlife.
Skellig Michael island recognition is rising fast and drawing attention from tourists as the island features locations in Star Wars movies; Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Tourism Ireland will continue to take every opportunity to maximise the Star Wars connection with Ireland.
Rossbeigh Beach at Glenbeigh has miles of golden sand and dancing white-capped waves. Water sports flourish here and canoeing or windsurfing lessons are a great way to spend an afternoon, ideal for active young ones. Kilorglin is the final town on the itinerary and its Puck Fair every August draws visitors from around the world.
The Ring of Kerry ends back in Killarney where it began and though many complete the trail in one day, a whole month would not suffice to pack in everything! But such is the especial charm of the region; you will want to keep coming back. Thereâ€™s always more to explore.
Gap of Dunloe, Co KerryThe wondrous valley of the Gap of Dunloe is found at the foot of the range.
Alternative driving routes in Ireland:
Where to rent a car?
There are many car rental companies that offers car & van service in Republic of Ireland. Irish Car Rentals has 16+ locations from the primary airports - Kerry Airport, Dublin Airport and City pick up locations in Galway, Cork and more. Irish Car Rentals is a registered member of Car Rental Council of Ireland; renting from a company listed under CCI means you are using a company committed to providing a high quality car rental service.
Choosing the right car is an important decision, read this post for helpful tipsIf you have any questions for car rental Killarney or Kerry Airport services, please contact us.
Top image - Derrynane. Image thanks to Â©FĂˇilte Ireland
Ladies View image. Image thanks to Â©Gareth McCormack - Tourism Ireland
Macgillycuddys Reeks image. Image thanks to Â©Chris Hill - Tourism Ireland
Gap of Dunlow image. Image thanks to Â©Arthur Ward - Tourism Ireland