Ring of Kerry
Looking for the ideal day trip and get away from the hustle bustle, then pack the car and head for the world famous Ring of Kerry.
Start & finish the route from the front door of the Dromhall Hotel. Visiting Kerry and not doing the Ring, is like visiting Ireland & not tasting a creamy pint of Guinness – it is a must do!
The 170km (110 mile) route, brings you to the heart of many stunning coastal views throughout South Kerry, along with the mystical land and beauty the Inveragh Peninsula offers.
This Ring can be completed in a few hours but we definitely recommend you take your time, get out and explore the stops along the way. The route is well sign posted and marked to scenic destinations & pit stops along the way.
Kicking off from the energic Killarney, where you can include the sights of Ross Castle, Muckross House & Abbey, the town itself, filled with restaurants, traditional pubs, shops and galleries.
First Stop just 10kms outside Killarney is the Gap of Dunloe- a mountain pass between Purple Mountain & the Mcgillcuddy Reeks. Make sure to stop off at the Wishing Bridge & make a wish. The Gap also a popular area for hiking, biking & horse riding.
You will then make your way to Killorglin, where King Puck – The statue of the Goat on the entrance to the town will greet you. As the legend has it, King Puck aided and saved the people of Killorglin many moons ago & lends itself to the Annual August festival in celebration. If you are visiting outside of festival time, this mid Kerry town has wonderful cafes, galleries, hostels, pubs, restaurants as well as a host of outdoor activities.
Leaving Killorglin your heading towards Glenbeigh, along this road you will encounter the raw beauty this stretch is famously known for – the rolling hills, rugged mountains, sandy beaches and the view of the Atlantic. Glenbeigh plays host to the beautiful Rossbeigh beach so maybe bring the swimming togs or surf board or just gaze out to the horizon.
Motoring on, the road brings you to the gateway to the Skellig Ring & Cahersiveen. One of the most westerly towns in Europe, this proud town is filled with an abundance of relics & reminders of its past. The 7th century stone fort along with the 15th century Ballycarbery Castle all add to the rich history of this South Kerry town, in addition to the old Stone Barracks.
Looking to see something real special and off the beaten track, take a detour and explore the Skellig Ring. Most advisable when down this direction, where you can explore Valentia Island and Skellig Michael, which featured in the Star Wars films.
Back on route again and the road winds its way towards the tiny but big in character and heart, village of Waterville. A top rated destination for hill-walking, cycling, fishing, golfing, surfing and angling. The majestical town hosts an annual Charlie Chaplin festival – in honour of it being Charlie’s favourite holiday spot – as the story goes. Are you a stargazer?? If in the area by night make sure to … look up…the area is an International Dark Sky reserve, with only two other Gold Tier Dark Sky reserves on the planet.
Moving on you will land in Derrynane village, filled with more historic sites and views worth the wait for. Enjoy a coffee in Derryname House café and explore the house if you have a thirst to explore your curiosity further or check out the Derrynane Abbey.
Sneem is the next stop along the road, this proud village is home to many skilled craftspeople and artists. There are lovely traditional pubs here also to break the journey or wander along O’Carroll’s Cove.
As you depart Sneem you travel the long and winding road to Kenmare, which will offer you lots to see and do. The bustling streets are filled with boutiques, antique shops, galleries, restaurants, old world charm pubs with a laid back atmosphere among the locals and tourists alike. Two notable historical sites include the Old Kenmare cemetery dating back to the seventh century & the stone circle thought to have been built 2200 – 500 bc!!!
On your return to Killarney once again, you will make your way to Molls Gap, a mountain pass of exquisite beauty. Make sure to stop off and take in all the beauty that surrounds you on this stretch of countryside.
The road will wind you back to Killarney and Dromhall hotel on the Muckross Road to complete the full loop of the Ring of Kerry.
Driving Tip… Just be sure to drive the Ring of Kerry clockwise to avoid getting stuck behind the tour buses taking the opposite route.