The Ring of Kerry

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by thebigfella on August 3, 2004

Using Killarney or possibly, more desirous Kenmare as your base, the Ring of Kerry is actually the N70 travelling along and around the Iveragh Peninsula. The road hugs the foothills and bases of some of Ireland's highest peaks providing unbeatable views out to sea and back into the valleys. There are a number of minor roads available that make use of various Gaps through this range but unfortunately as most visitors to the Ring are on coaches it would not be fair to speak of these routes.

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.

Ring of Kerry
179 Km Circular Road
Kerry, Ireland

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