Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
March 25, 2003
We drove our way through the Southern tip of the peninsula with a stop at the coastal town of Ballinskelligs. This town isn't actually on the Ring of Kerry, but it was an important side trip for us. My great-grandmother was born here and lived in the town until her late teens, when she moved to the US and never looked back. Her mother and father stayed behind in the house and her brother later returned to build a new cottage on the site. Their immediate family is now all deceased, but there is a new family in the house. They use the original house as a storage place for their peet. We stopped in the town and got directions to the farm from the most helpful woman and found it with no problems, although the family wasn't there (they were in the next big town at the parade . . . oh great, another parade!) How neat it was to be witness to this piece of my family history. You can get back onto the Ring from here quite easily, so we continued on our way.
Cahersiveen was the next big town on our map. We knew we would be running into some congestion here because they told us about the parade back in Ballinskelligs. And sure enough, we were driving the parade route again. Luckily, a policeman gave us a detour route just above the main road which took us away from the crowds and parade. The remainder of the Ring of Kerry route didn't give us many stops, but we did get some amazing views of the Dingle Bay and Peninsula across the water. The water appeared to be bright blue, it was so beautiful.
We drove our way back to Killarney and decided to go back to Muckross for one last look and to see the Torc waterfall, which we missed on our first way around. The waterfall can be accessed at a clearly marked right turn off of the road. There is a small car park and the falls are about a 100 meter walk up an incline. You can also climb even higher up a number of stairs to the top of the falls. We expected another view of the falls from this vantage, but none came about. It is at this point where you can join three walking trails which lead in various directions. A couple we met told us that we could walk all the way to Kenmare if we wanted to. It was then that we decided to come back with our backpacks someday!
Information on the Ring of Kerry can be accessed through these websites:
From journal St. Patty's Day in Ireland
It is suggested that you complete the Ring of Kerry drive in an counter-clockwise manner because of the traffic with tour buses. However, we didn't follow the advice and did it the other way. In peak summer months, you actually might want to do it clockwise to avoid having to drive behind the big, slow tour buses.
We set out from Killarney about 8:30am. In the town, there are signs which direct you to the Ring (N71). The first major stop on the route is Muckross House, Farm and Castle. These are located in Killarney National Park and are a must-see!
The Ring takes you through a large majority of the National Park and provides you with stops at Torc Waterfall, Ladies View, and Moll's Gap. Along the way you will also be treated to miscellaneous castle ruins, like this one just inside the park:
Moll's Gap is a barron, rocky area which has some very twisty roads. There is a souvenir shop at an intersection where the road turns left.
The first major town on the Ring in this direction is Kenmare. We traveled the Ring on the St. Patrick's Day holiday so we encountered many interesting happenings in the towns we traveled through. In this town (it was around 10am when we reached it), all of the townspeople were leaving their church services. The roads were a little heavy with traffic here. We stopped at a café for lunch (see "Mocha Cafe" entry) and shopped around a souvenir shop called Quill's.
Please get yourself a map of the Ring of Kerry before setting out. Most maps include reference to sights along the way. This will help you with your sightseeing and helps to plan out your stops for food/gas/etc.
The small towns along the Ring vary in size and level of attraction. Some of them are just a few buildings and some have shops, restaurants, and a bustling atmosphere. One interesting experience for us happened while driving through the town of Sneem. As I stated before, it was St. Paddy's Day. A lot of towns in Ireland hold special celebrations for this holiday, including parades. For many of the towns along the Ring, the road that makes up the Ring is their only major road. Therefore, when we drove through Sneem, we were IN their St. Patrick's Day Parade! There were pedestrians everywhere and they were not keen on moving for our car. We pushed our way through the crowds and past the parade and found ourselves on open, empty roads!p>
Read about part 2 of the Ring drive in the next journal entry.
by Funky Monkey
Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom
September 8, 2005
The road itself is quite a narrow one (there are only a few motorways in Ireland, mainly around Dublin), but you shouldn't get into any major traffic jams, and the ones you do are mostly just behind one of the coach tours that do the ring. That's another thing: the coaches and buses go anti-clockwise around the ring, so if you want to avoid meeting them on the corners, it's suggested that you go with them.
The views from the road are truly spectacular views, and there are many photo points along the way where you can park your car at the roadside and take a photo or two. There are also lots of beaches around the coastline sections of the ring, but my favourite was the one at St. Finan's Bay, from which you can see the Skellig Islands. Also in St. Finan's Bay is the Skellig Chocolate Factory, where you can sample and then buy some of their delicious filled chocolates. My personal favourite was Banoffee, but adults may prefer some of the liquor-filled ones.
From journal Captivating County Kerry
June 23, 2011
From journal A Visit to Ireland
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
October 6, 2008
From journal Into the South of Ireland
February 15, 2008
From journal Tour of Ireland
December 22, 2004
I personally prefer the tour with my own car. You are much more flexible and there are so many places and hidden spots where busses never stop. Of course, they bring you to the most popular places like Killarney (see Killarney Dream), Kenmare, Dingle Bay, the Atlantic Coast, and Bog Village (an old typical Irish village where you can see how the Irish people lived 100 years ago).
However, it is a must to do the Ring of Kerry Tour, either by bus or by car!
My advice would be to take a camera and lots of films since there are many things to take pictures of.
From journal Killarney Dream
Kidderminster, United Kingdom
August 3, 2004
As there are so many coaches using this route, particularly from first thing in the morning, the drivers and bus companies have decided to tackle the road in a anti-clockwise direction. This means there are no altercations between buses heading in opposite directions, which have met head-on at a hairpin curve. All guide books do also recommend that the drivers of cars do the same to again prevent any unnecessary aggression between drivers.
We chose to drive clockwise and face the traffic head-on as it was a more appealing thought than to chug along behind a fully laden coach billowing fumes at me and constantly getting in the way. I'm glad we chose to go that way round as we only met 6 coaches and with courtesy and caution we all managed to enjoy the day. A tip is to leave just before lunch and have lunch somewhere en route. This way there are fewer coaches on the Ring and fewer people at the lookouts.
Another advantage to not taking a coach is that you are able to explore the minor roads that can take you up into the mountains or down to secluded bays and beaches. If you take the R565 you will find a bridge that will take you over to Valentia Island - once the most famous place in Ireland! In 1858 the first transatlantic telegraph cable transmitted from here directly to New York and thus history was made.
Lying just off the coast of Valentia are two islands, the Skelligs - Skellig Michael once being inhabited by monks. On good days when the weather is right you are able to take a boat trip across to Michael to climb the 600 steps up to the 6th century monastery and adjoining community. These buildings were in use for over 600 years before they abandoned and the monks moved to Ballinskelligs on the mainland. To book a trip or just to learn more of the monks see the Skellig Experience just across the bridge on the left-hand side on Valentia. To return to the mainland, use the bridge or for something a little different drive to the other end of the island and take the car ferry.
From journal The Tourist Capital Of Ireland's Wild West
Stamford, New York
May 5, 2006
Going out to the Skellig Michael Rocks is a whole day alone, and you should probably stay in the Ballinskelig area for the night. Then you could spend even more time just on Valencia Island alone. However, most visitors do the whole Ring of Kerry for a day trip, starting and ending in Killarney.Whatever you choose, you are in for some spectacular scenery. If you stop in the village of Sneem, there is a Quill's Market to buy wonderful woolens and souvenirs. Also it has some nice pubs to have lunch.I find the Ring of Kerry a little milder than the Dingle Peninsula Loop. It has such a wonderful exposure to the mountains and sea that makes Ireland so famous for. Ireland is shaped like a "bowl" with the outside edges high with mountains, and the interior flatter and pastoral with hills and many lakes and bogs.If you are doing the Ring in the tourist season, you will have to plan on a longer time to complete the circle because of the numerous tour buses that meander along the long narrow roads. No passing, so you have to wait. Be prepared to pack an extra measure of patience. We did it last during the month of November so we had it all to ourselves. However, the weather was a cloudy and cold. You will love it so take some amazing photographs. Have fun!!!
From journal Scholars and Poets...County Kerry!
June 4, 2005
The bus stops along the way at scenic overlooks and allows time to take photos. There is also a stop at a sheep farm where a local farmer charges a small fee to show off his sheep-herding dogs and teach about how sheep are raised. This is entertaining and educational and gives insight into the local culture and lifestyle. The tour lasts all day, returning to Killarney at about 5pm. For adults, this is an interesting way to spend the day, but children and adolescents would be very bored after the first few stops. Much of the time is spent riding in the bus through mountain roads.
From journal Family Reunion in Ireland