Information about the Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a 179-km-long circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. Clockwise from Killarney it follows the N71 to Kenmare, then the N70 around the Iveragh Peninsula to Killorglin, passing through Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen, and Glenbeigh, before returning to Killarney via the N72.
County Kerry is famous throughout the world for its natural beauty, and the Ring of Kerry is the most common tourist route for seeing it. There are relatively few historic sites along the route, though those that are there are worth seeing. Unfortunately, with fame comes the masses, and there are dozens of tour buses that run this route every day. This is good news if you don't have a car or a bike, but bad news if you do.
Image: Ring of Kerry
All the tour buses run counter clockwise, as in many places there is no way two could pass each other. If biking, it's best to go around clockwise, so that you meet tour buses head on. For driving, this depends on your vehicle size: go clockwise so that you don't spend hours seeing nothing but a giant coach rear end; or counter clockwise if driving a large vehicle and don't want to risk encountering a coach at a narrow section.
Though officially the Ring Of Kerry is a 179 km horseshoe around the Iveragh Peninsula, for the purpose of this itinerary the 214 km loop from Killarney will be used. For those on bike, the Kerry Way trail passes through most of the same sights, though it doesn't extend all the way to the end of the peninsula. If going by car, a minimum of two days is recommended, but that leaves no time for side trips, so, like almost everywhere, the longer you take, the more you'll enjoy it.
Popular points include Muckross House (near Killarney), Staigue stone fort and Derrynane House, home of Daniel O'Connell. Just south of Killarney, Ross Castle, Lough Leane, and Ladies View (a panoramic viewpoint), all located within Killarney National Park, are major attractions located along the Ring. A more complete list of major attractions along the Ring of Kerry includes: Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Kerry Woollen Mills, Rossbeigh Beach, Cahersiveen Heritage Centre, Derrynane House, Skellig Experience, Staigue Fort, Kenmare Lace, Moll's Gap, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, The Blue Pool, Ross Castle, Ogham Stones, St Mary’s Cathedral, Muckross Abbey, Franciscan Friary, Kellegy Church, O’Connell Memorial Church, Sneem Church and Cemetery, Skellig Michael, Beehive Cells and the Stone Pillars marking an important grave.
There is also an established walking path named The Kerry Way, which takes its own route, and a signposted Ring of Kerry cycling path which uses older quieter roads where possible. The Kerry Way roughly follows the scenic driving route of the Ring of Kerry.
There are numerous variations to the route taking in St. Finian's Bay and Valentia Island which the official driving ring misses (the official cycling route takes in Valentia Island). As well as beaches, it also offers the Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Derrynane House, the Skellig Experience Valentia Island, Molls Gap, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, and Ross Castle.