Ring of Kerry Road Trip

Ireland is an ideal country for road trips, that is, if you don’t mind driving on the left side of the road – for all you continentals out there – and on impossibly narrow hedge-lined country roads. It’s those roads, however, that are part of the undeniable charm of Ireland.

Although the Irish west coast is my favorite Irish region, the Ring of Kerry is a close second – as I mentioned in my previous post.

My girlfriend and I were staying in Cork for a while, a city that neither of us really liked, and we decided to rent a car in Cork and go explore the southwest. I had read many good things about the Kerry peninsula and was excited to go see it for myself.

Driving the Ring of Kerry:  Narrow Country Roads on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Narrow Country Roads

The Ring of Kerry is a loop drive around the Kerry peninsula in the far southwest of the green Irish isle. 179 kilometers long, it is the longest of all great Irish loops drives. The Connemara Loop is another fabulous drive that you should check out when in Ireland; just saying!

Driving the Ring of Kerry

From Cork it’s an hour and a half by car to Killarney, the biggest town on the Ring of Kerry and located right next to the national park with the same name: Killarney National Park. That national park is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the country and is made up of bogs, moors, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. We stopped in Killarney for a quick lunch.

It is suggested that when you’re driving the Ring of Kerry, you go in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid getting stuck behind a tour bus. This direction is advised to minimize traffic problems.

There are several highlights on the way, starting with the Kerry Bog Village Museum, a recreation of a 19th-century bog village. The next stop is at Ballycarbery Castle, or what’s left of it. The ruins of this 16th-century castle stand in the middle of a cow field and are incredibly photogenic.

Driving the Ring of Kerry:  Ruins of Ballycarbery Castle, Ring of Kerry
Ruins of Ballycarbery Castle

We continued on the Ring of Kerry and passed two stone ring forts before turning right onto the remote, but spectacular Skellig Ring. The Skellig Ring passes by the impressive Kerry Cliffs from which you can see the legendary Skellig Islands out at sea.

Driving the Ring of Kerry:  Kerry Cliffs and the Skellig Islands, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Skellig Islands seen from the Kerry Cliffs

Next up were the beach town of Waterville, Caherdaniel and a totally spectacular stretch of coastline. More highlights followed: Derrynane National History Park, more coastlines and the small picturesque towns of Sneem and Kenmare. From Kenmare the Ring of Kerry runs through the heart of Killarney National Park to Killarney, where we started.

Driving the Ring of Kerry: Town of Kenmare
Town of Kenmare

The Ring of Kerry is a phenomenal drive , running past ruins, villages, and magnificent landscapes and coastlines. We did it in one long day, but I would definitely suggest allowing more time, as we had to skip some attractions. I’d say that three days would suffice to really take everything in.

About Bram

Website: http://www.travel-experience-live.com

Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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3 Responses

  1. Most Scenic Roads in Ireland for Road Tripping - Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] hardly a secret that the Ring of Kerry presents excellent views at basically every corner. Traditionally, the drive starts in Killarney town. Following the road […]

  2. Avatar for Bram


    Hi Bram,

    Came across this when I was researching Ring of Kerry as I am driving down this afternoon to spend my Easter break driving the route. It’s a trip I’ve been wanting to do in years!

    Added Ballycarbey Castle on my list, photogenic!

    Thanks for sharing the trip


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