Cliffs, mountains and jagged rocks overlooking the ocean on one side, and fields of green and blue on the other… This is what awaits you on the Ring of Kerry, a 180km long route that has unrivalled panoramic views of the mountains of Kerry and the Irish coastline. Considered by many to be one of the key attractions of County Kerry, this route is worth the trip, and has even been named one of the most beautiful routes in all of Ireland! Expect breath-taking landscapes!
The Ring of Kerry is a route that takes the form of – you guessed it – a ring on the Iveragh Peninsula. To be crystal clear, starting at point A, by following the road, you will end up coming back to the start at the end, albeit after 180km.
This loop is particularly well signposted throughout the entire trip. It is highly unlikely you will get lost during this time.
To sum it all up, the route will have you follow three different roads:
Regarding how long it will take you, the 180km can easily be done in a half a day… However, we highly recommend you take your time as the Ring of Kerry is littered with exceptional sites! These areas will require regular pit stops and command your attention for some time.
The best course of action is to try and do the route in two days, with a stop for the night halfway through. The longer you take, the more you will see… And the more you will be able to take full advantage of the grandiose landscapes around you!
The Ring of Kerry is something that can be done either via car, bus or by bike (for those of you who aren’t afraid of a few steep slopes). If you’re in a car, make sure you have a full tank before embarking on this trip, as there are very few petrol stations along the road.
For those who prefer the bus, the Bus Eireann and other private touring companies offer regular roundtrips of the Ring. They offer reasonable prices and a means of locomotion at the time of your choosing.
For those of you with a rental car however, you should know the roads of the Ring of Kerry are particularly narrow and steep. Moreover, they are particularly busy during the tourist season (in summer) which can – and will – provoke a few traffic jams here and there (when you meet a bus in the opposite direction, for instance). We therefore recommend you be careful and above all patient. Don’t hesitate to slow down, even stop to allow the passage of other users (the Irish are quite courteous regarding the matter).
To start, we recommend you set off from Killarney and take the N70. In theory a number of signposts will mark the road to give you a clear indication of where to go to follow the Ring of Kerry.
You should definitely take a moment to stop off there and visit their pubs, music shops and other tourist attractions.
The atmosphere is particularly agreeable, and the Irish will welcome you warmly to their towns!
The numerous hard shoulders along the road will give you ample opportunity to pull over and snap a few pics along the road. Don’t forget to visit the majestic Kerry mountains along the way, as well as the highest peak in all of Ireland, the Carrauntuohill, that reaches 1038 metres.
Don’t miss out on the plains and cliffsides that bury themselves into the Atlantic, nor the small villages dotted along the bay or the islands situated out in the thundering ocean.
For those of you who aren’t afraid of trekking, know that there is also a 200km circuit called the Kerry Way that starts off at Killarney.
This circuit will allow you to discover in peace the beauty of the Irish landscape as you walk by lakes and rivers, all the while overlooking the ocean via stunning panoramic views.
Be wary of tourist buses, especially in the summer; they have a tendency to cause traffic jams on the circuit. If you want to avoid the rush, try setting off early in the morning, or at the beginning or end of the afternoon. You can also do the circuit backwards if you want.
Make sure to fill up on petrol before leaving: there are very few petrol stations on the road.