Ring Of the Kerry in Ireland
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The Ring Of Kerry: Exploring The Emerald Isle 

Welcome to the enchanting journey through the heart of Ireland’s southwest, a route that weaves its way through stunning landscapes, historic sites, and charming villages—the Ring of Kerry. 

This iconic circuit, nestled in County Kerry, is a meandering tapestry of coastal beauty, rugged mountains, and cultural richness.

As you embark on this adventure, imagine yourself traversing winding roads that unveil panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, quaint towns, and emerald-green hills. 


Ring of Kerry has a deeply intertwined history with a rich culture, that dates back centuries.

Ancient civilizations once used the routes and paths of the Ring of Kerry for trade, transportation, and communication. 

The scenic routes of today have evolved from the vast network of ancient roads.

Reason Behind Its Name

There is an interesting story behind the name Ring of Kerry, the whole legend and myth is popular around the name among the locals.

According to folklore, a mythical race of giants shaped the landscape into a circular route to protect the region’s natural beauty. 

The shape of the ring symbolizes the eternal cycle of life and nature. Each stop along its route offers a glimpse of the region’s rich history and heritage.

Distance Of The Ring Of Kerry

The beauty of the Ring of Kerry is 179 km long (111 miles). It is a popular circular tourist route in Kerry, South-Western Ireland. Clockwise from Killarney, it follows the N71 to Kenmare.

Ideal Weather For Tourists

The weather is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in mild temperatures and relatively high levels of precipitation throughout the year. 

The best climatic conditions for visiting the Ring of Kerry are May to June or September to October. During these months, you can often expect:

  • Mild Temperatures: Average temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit), providing comfortable conditions for outdoor activities.
  • Less Crowd: Consider spring and early autumn as off-peak seasons, resulting in fewer tourists and allowing for a more peaceful exploration of scenic landscapes.
  • Green Landscape: During spring and early autumn, the vibrant and picturesque countryside around the Ring of Kerry showcases Ireland’s renowned lush greenery.

The Journey Of The Ring Of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry route is easily accessible from the beginning to the end of the journey in the town of Killarney. It is an essential part of the Emerald Isle tour

The way through the Ring of Kerry journey offers tourists a rich history of the magnificent towns and nearby attractions. A person can take help from a guide to better understand a particular place around the Ring of Kerry. 

Advisors recommend traveling clockwise on the Ring of Kerry journey to avoid getting stuck behind caravans and buses traveling anti-clockwise.

5 Things To See At Ring Of Kerry

The following are the top recommended places to see on a Ring of Kerry trip:

1. Skellig Michael

It is an old Irish monastery, a famous and impressive site from ancient Christian civilization still in its original form.

This monastic site rests on the top of a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The monks founded the monastery and associated buildings preoccupied for over 600 years.

According to tradition and locals, they attribute the creation of the site to St. Fionan around the 6th century, but there is no documented evidence to confirm this.

Skellig Michael

2. Muckross House

Muckross House is near Muckross Lake,  designed by a Scottish architect named William Burns. It was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour.

It has approximately sixty-five rooms and is built in Tudor style. Muckross House is built over the years from 1839 to 1843. It was renovated further in the 1950s for the visit of Queen Victoria

The renovations of the property became a factor in the financial difficulties faced by the Herbert family.

Muckross House- nearby attraction at Ring of Kerry

3. Innisfallen Island

This island is the home of the former Innisfallen Abbey, which is almost 1 mile offshore from Ross Castle. 

Innisfallen Island is approximately 8.5 hectares, also the largest island on the lake, and can be accessible by motor boats that run across the Ross castle during the summer months.

There are many archeological ruins of ancient monasteries found in the Killarney region are present on Innisfallen Island. 

Innisfallen Island

4. Derrynane Beach

Is an extensive sandy beach in Derrynane Bay. The beach is quite close to Derrynane’s house, it can be found following the house by nearby signs leading to the beach.

Derrynane Beach is famous for swimming, walking, and other activities. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 1.5 km long.

The beach is also popular for water sports such as Surfing, Sailing, and Kayaking, it is also famous for its fishing opportunities. 

Derrynane Beach- Wonderful sight near Ring of Kerry

5. Kenmare Town

Kenmare is a small town that was originally a plantation colony, set between the Macgillycuddy Reeks in the North and the Caha Mountains in the East.

The Irish name of this Island is ‘Neidin’ which translates to ‘little nest’, a nesting place between two mountains. 

One of the most beautiful features of Kenmare town is its colorfully painted houses and shops. Kenmare Town was once the winner of the ‘Irish Tidy Towns Competition’ and runner-up for the same.

Kenmare Town

3 Key Stops On The Ring Of Kerry Tour

The Ring of Kerry is dotted with numerous key stops, each offering its own unique charm, history, and scenic beauty. Here are some key stops along the Ring of Kerry:

1. Kerry Bog Village And Red Fox Inn

The Kerry Bog village is unique in Europe because of its theme of the 18th century. Its different and fascinating architecture makes it a popular tourist attraction in Europe.

Red Fox Inn is beside Kerry Bog village. The world-famous Irish coffee is available here at a discount for visitors who purchase a ticket for the village. 

2. Coomakista Pass

Coomakista Pass is a must-stop for the Ring of Kerry trip. The spot is over 215 meters above sea level. It is one of the most photographed panoramas of the Ring of Kerry. 

Coomakista Pass includes many scenic views of Kenara Bay, Abbey Island, Devenish Island, Scarrif Island, and more. 

3. Ladies View

The Ladies View is located in Killarney National Park. It is the best-known and loved Panaromas of Ireland. 

Tourists can enjoy the scenic views of valleys, lakes, and mountains including Black Valley, Upper and Lower Lakes. 

7 Beautiful Towns Near The Ring Of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry surrounds fascinating and attractive towns. The towns near the Ring of Kerry include:

1. Killarney

The town has a tradition of entertaining people. It offers the most modern luxuries making it a perfect holiday destination. 

Killarney has a scenic beauty of mountains, valleys, lakes, and woodlands combined with rich culture, stories, and myths making it a unique place. 

Just behind the junction, the traces of the old town hall can be found by tourists, with some small old lanes and quaint buildings. 

Killarney town

2. Beaufort

The village of Beaufort centers and hinterland encompass Macgillycuddy Mountain Reeks Range with Carrauntoohill, Ireland’s highest mountain range.

The beauty of the village was first noticed in the 1800s when the first movie of Ireland was shot here. Beaufort offers opportunities for mountain climbing, horse riding, golf, fishing, etc.

Beaufort town has 5-star hotels, guesthouses, homely bed and breakfast providers, and good restaurants with camping sites.

3. Cahersiveen 

With a population of 1200 people, Caharsiveen is the Southernmost town in Ireland, which makes it the Southernmost in Europe.

It has principally been a market town for centuries, it has never been a tourist industry for ages. Caharsiveen lies at the foot of Mount Beentee, near the river Fertha and Valentia Harbour.

4. Waterville

Waterville is a stunning village between the mighty Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater lake Lough Currane. 

The town is very unique because it is the only village on the Ring of Kerry which is right on the coast and it looks like a strip of land between the lake and the ocean.

Waterville offers a calm walk alongside its beaches. A person fond of relaxing walks should try the village’s pathway which stretches along the beachside.

5. Sneem 

The village of Sneem is well-known in Ireland because it is situated between Kenmare and Waterville on the Northern side of Kenmare Bay.

Sneem is well-preserved by the villagers, traditional buildings, pubs, restaurants, and craft shops, painted in beautiful colors. 

It is named ‘Snaidhm’ in Irish which translates to ‘knot’, referring to the Sneem River that flows through the village to Kenmare Bay.

6. Portmagee

The small village of Portmagee has brightly painted houses, on the southwest tip of the Valentia Harbour

Portmagee was heaven for smugglers and pirates, who prayed for the trade ships of North America and the Continent. It is named after a popular smuggler of the 18th century, Captain Theobald Magge. 

Magee served as an officer in the army of King James and retired as a merchant shipping between France, Ireland, and Portugal.

7. Kells Bay

Kells is a small fishing village, located between Glenbeigh and Caharsiveen. A peaceful village, largely untouched by recent developments in the modern world.

It also has a beach known as Kells Beach, which is Kerry’s one of the blue flag beaches. Tourists can have scenic views of Dingle Bay and the Blasket Islands.

Kells Bay has an old Victorian Garden that contains a foremost collection of Southern Hemisphere sub-tropical plants in Europe.

5 Activities To Do At Ring Of Kerry

There are numerous things to do at Ring of Kerry. It offers a wealth of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. A brief of the activities on Ring of Kerry:

1. Beaches On The Ring Of Kerry

The most westerly tip of Ireland and Europe, the Ring of Kerry offers the finest and cleanest beaches in Europe. 

The coastline of the Ring of Kerry makes up a beautiful rideway for tourists. 

2. Walk On The Kerry Way

The Kerry Way stretches approximately 215 km or 135 miles, making it one of the longest signposted walking trails in Ireland.

It is the most enjoyable way to experience the true beauty of Kerry. It is not important to complete the whole trip to Kerry Way.

The way is divided into nine main stages:

KillarneyBlackValley22 km
BlackValleyGlencar20 km
GlencarGlenbeigh18 km 
GlenbeighCaharsiveen 28 km
CaharsiveenWaterville30 km
WatervilleCahardaniel28 km
CahardanielSneem19 km
SneemKenmare30 km
KenmareKillarney25 km

3. MacGillycuddy Reeks

The MacGillycuddy Reeks is the essence of Ireland. The Ring of Kerry surrounds the mountain range. 

These Reeks have the Corran Tuathail at a height of 3,414 feet, which makes it the highest mountain range in Ireland. 

Before embarking on a trek to the mountain peak, it is advisable to consult a specific guidebook, as different routes are available for reaching the summit.

4. Fishing

Kerry is heaven for people fond of fishing. It has something for everyone’s taste, lake fishing, river fishing, ocean fishing, shore fishing.

Due to the geographic location of the peninsula, there are plentiful opportunities for fishing and angling.

South West Regional Fisheries Authority governs the rules and regulations for fishing. 

5. Golf On The Ring Of Kerry

Ireland has the most acclaimed links and parklands in the world. These parklands are on the executive beautiful locations. Golfers from all over the world enjoy these places.

The Killen course at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club hosted the Irish Open Golf Championship thrice in 1991, 1992, and 2010.

Top 10 Restaurants Near Ring Of Kerry

Restaurant Distance from the Ring of KerryCuisine
Scarrif Inn Restaurant About 0.4 miles Irish
The Blind PiperAbout 2.7 milesIrish, Bar, European, Pub, Gastr
The Lobster Bar and RestaurantAbout 3.6 milesIrish, International, Bar, Seafood, Pub
Smugglers Inn Restaurant Waterville CO. KerryAbout 4.5 milesSeafood, International
O’ Carrol’s CoveAbout 3.5 milesIrish, Bar, Seafood, European
The Tea Room DerrynanAbout 1.6 milesCaffe
Dooley Seafood and Steak House About 3.7 milesSteakhouse, Seafood
Fisherman’s BarAbout 3.7 milesIrish, Seafood, Bar, Pub
Charlie Restaurant at Butler Arms HotelAbout 3.7 milesIrish, Seafood
O’Dwyers The VillaAbout 3.6 milesIrish, Bar, Pub, European

Top 10 Accommodations Near The Ring Of Kerry

HotelLocation Facilities Provided
Muckross Park Hotel and SpaMuckross, KillarneyLuxurious 5-star hotel Located in Killarney’s National Park, Suites with amazing views
Parknasilla Resort and SpaSneemA luxurious 4-star resort with scenic views of Kenmare Bay and Kerry Mountain, offers 9 golf courses, thermal suites, and swimming pools.
The Lake HotelKillarneyis Located on the shores of Loch Lein, 2 km from Killarney, with beautiful mountain views, a restaurant, and an outdoor hot tub
The Brehon Hotel and SpaKillarneyhas Spacious rooms, boasting marble bathrooms, stunning mountain views, and a luxurious Angsana spa.
The Bianconi InnKillorglinhas Chic and modern bedrooms with a sleek, award-winning restaurant, plasma TVs,
Park Hotel Kenmare KenmareA 5-star hotel boasts an opulent spa, sumptuous rooms, cozy bathrobes, and a 12-seat cinema. 
Quinlan & Cooke Boutique Townhouse and QCs Seafood Restaurant CaharsiveenA family-run place, with a nice and friendly staff
Sheen Falls LodgeKenmare5-star hotel near Kenmare Bay, 1 mile from Kenmare, with Stunning views of woodland and waterfalls
Cahernane House HotelKillarneyA 19th Century Country House, Situated on the edge of Killarney National Park, A 10-minute walk to Killarney town
The VictoriaKillarneyThe hotel is near the National Event Centre and offers spacious rooms and a full Irish breakfast. 

Tips Before Visiting The Ring Of Kerry

Before visiting the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, it’s helpful to keep some tips in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

1. Weather Preparedness:

  • Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable. Pack waterproof clothing, regardless of the season, to stay dry in case of rain.
  • Layered clothing is advisable as temperatures can vary.

2. Driving Considerations:

  • If you plan to drive the Ring of Kerry, familiarize yourself with local driving regulations and the narrow, winding roads.
  • Drive on the left side of the road in Ireland.
  • Be cautious of oncoming traffic, especially on narrow stretches of the road

3. Start Early:

  • To avoid crowds and have ample time for sightseeing, start the journey early in the day.

4. Plan for Stops:

  • There are numerous scenic viewpoints, historic sites, and charming villages along the route. Plan your stops to make the most of your visit.
  • Popular stops include Killarney National Park, Muckross House, and Torc Waterfall.

5. Check Road Conditions:

  • Before starting your journey, check for any road closures or maintenance that might affect your route.

6. Accommodation Booking:

  • If you plan to stay overnight, especially during peak seasons, consider booking accommodations in advance.


What is so special about the Ring of Kerry?

A. The lovely contrast between the people’s warmth and the place’s elemental nature makes it so special and worth slowing down to explore.

How long does it take to drive the whole Ring of Kerry?

A. The Ring of Kerry circuit measures 179km (111 miles) in length and the route takes around 3.5 hours to drive around without stopping.

What city is closest to the Ring of Kerry?

A. Cork is the closest major city, although Killarney is also reachable from Limerick and Shannon Airport, Ireland’s western international airport. 

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