The Ring of Kerry, Ireland


My personal guide to this wonderful part of the World!

Planning a trip to The Ring of Kerry?

  • Need help finding the best hotels or holiday cottages...
  • Self drive tips and itineries...
  • Tasty restaurants...
  • The best day trips...
  • Or hill walking guides.

Keep reading and you will find all this and more!!!

Not the same biased infomation provided to coach loads of tourists each summer!

But real sound advice and travel tips from a fellow tourist who once visited the Ring of Kerry and ended up staying for two years.

Ring of Kerry Map

Summary

The Ring of Kerry, situated in the South West corner of Ireland, is a 179km circular driving route which takes you on a breathtaking tour of the Iveragh Peninsula.

Ring of Kerry Coastal View out to Skellig Michael

After experiencing:

The remote coastal scenery, with miles of un-crowded beaches.

And felt the striking contrast with the interior's pristine mountains and lakes.

You will understand why the Ring of Kerry is regularly voted in the top 10 driving tours in the World.



Top Tip

Sneem Panorama, Ring of Kerry
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Plan to stay a minimum of three days in County Kerry:

  • a one day coach trip around the peninsula just doesn’t break the surface.

Traditionally the circuit starts in Killarney but to avoid crowds and congestion I recommend you stay in Kenmare or the pretty village of Sneem:

  • Overlooking the beautiful Kenmare Bay!

I can highly recommend this accommodation option.


Killarney, Ireland

Killarney Ireland - Ross Castle

Traditionally the circuit starts in the buzzing tourist town of Killarney famous for its National Park, the Killarney Lakes and Muckross House at its focal point.

In my experience Killarney town is at its best on an early Summer evening as people begin to spill out of the hotels into all the fine pubs and restaurants:

  • many with live traditional music in the background!!

Ladies View

As you leave Killarney, heading south, the road narrows and skirts around the lowest Killarney Lake. Take it slowly as the road begins to wind up to the mountain pass named Moll’s Gap.

On the way up pull in and walk up to see Torc Waterfall or stop and gaze out across Ladies View – a stunning viewpoint which looks out over the lakes and was made famous after a visit by Queen Victoria.

At Moll’s Gap the Avoca gift shop is lovely and worth stopping for:

  • especially if you are gift hunting.

The attached café is also excellent serving beautiful quiches, salads and cakes but it can get very busy during the high season.

Ladies View, Ring of Kerry

Kenmare

Taking a left turn at Moll’s Gap leads you down into Kenmare – food heaven.

If you are lucky and visit the town on market day the picture perfect main street will be lined with stalls selling an assortment of artisan produce:

  • fine home baked breads,
  • locally made cheese,
  • freshly caught seafood,
  • and excellent olives – hmm… my favourite!

Kenmare sits beautifully at the head of Kenmare Bay and as a result has some of Ireland’s finest country hotels.

Along with these there are some cute little restaurants, cafes, pubs and art/photo galleries.

There is also an excellent golf course.


Sneem

The coastal road to Sneem from Kenmare is slow and windy in places but gives you the first of many fabulous views of Kenmare Bay.

Ring of Kerry Sunset
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You may not have heard of Sneem but could be familiar with the luxury Parknasila Hotel. This fine hotel is located right on the coastline just a few kilometres from the village.

Sneem itself is hard to miss:

  • You will understand what I mean when you see the brightly painted houses backed by mountains and a waterfall.
Ring of Kerry, Sneem Village
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The main shopping street is split into two halves by a bridge which crosses the Sneem River.

After heavy rain the rapids running under the bridge are spectacular and must be seen to be believed.

With over 100 years of experience looking after famous guests from Parknasila Hotel, you can be sure to find warmth and the personal touch which Ireland is famous for from any of the staff in the beautiful cafes or pubs in Sneem.

D. O’Shea’s pub is particularly charming as is The Riverside Café which has a fine terrace overlooking the river.

Pretty, un-crowded and still traditional visitors to Sneem often return again and again.

Why?... Because of:

  • The friendliness of the place,
  • And it’s excellent Ring of Kerry location

Which is equidistant from:

  • The West coast sites – Derrynane Beach, the Skelligs etc.
  • And the sites in the East - Killarney Lakes, Kenmare etc.

The contrast between rugged coastline and wild, romantic hills provides a natural playground for fishermen, walkers and cyclists alike.


Caherdaniel and Derrynane Bay

Heading west the road opens out.

This is remote cruising country with increasingly better views of the ocean as you head out to the end of the peninsula. Before reaching Caherdaniel stop off to see:

  • Staigue fort - a massive stone fort dating back to pre-Christian times.
  • Castlecove Beach Bar is a nice stop for lunch with beautiful views across Kenmare Bay. I can especially recommend spending time at this family friendly beach on a fine summer evening.
Derrynane Beach, Ring of Kerry
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The village of Caherdaniel is only small but this is a truly stunning part of the County Kerry coastline.

I have spent many afternoons walking the famous mass footpath, exploring Derrynane Beach or Lamb’s Head and then relaxing with a beautiful pint and some diner at the legendary pub, the Blind Piper.

I love these remote western areas of south Kerry so much. Unfortunately many people miss the best bits as they whizz past on the coach.

For this reason I always suggest to anyone travelling to Kerry that they don’t stay in Killarney. Kenmare and Sneem are much nicer, more traditional areas that are closer to the best parts of Kerry.


Glenbeigh

Rossbeigh Beach, Ring of Kerry

25km north east of Caherciveen is this small but popular holiday village which is famous for the fabulous 4km long sandy beach closeby at Rossbeigh.

Although I have not spent much time here due to the sheer number of great beaches in Kerry I hear it is great for:

  • long walks
  • horse riding
  • and bird watching.

All come with great views of the Dingle mountains across the bay and the local seafood is excellent.


Killorglin - Home to The Puck Fair

Killorglin - Puck Fair Goat

Killorglin is a lovely market town on the banks of one of the best salmon rivers in the country - the River Laune.

The village is famous for holding The Puck Fair - the oldest fair in Ireland.

The celebration held over three days each August involves the crowning of a goat as well as horse and cattle fairs:

  • Mad - Yes!!!
  • Great fun - Guaranteed :)

The main road from Killorglin to back to Killarney takes you past the turning to the Gap of Dunloe in the Black Valley. Home to Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohill, and a legendary pub called Kate Kearney's Cottage.

  • I would especially recommend this area of County Kerry to anyone who enjoys walking, fishing and shooting.

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