Ring of Kerry Ireland – Remarkable One Day Ultimate Drive

Diving the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry Ireland, we felt like we were in a James Bond movie. Driving, on what to us is the wrong side of these very narrow, winding roads was a bit challenging. So, if you like to get off the beaten path and take in small towns, you will love the Ring of Kerry. The complete drive around the 111-mile ring take 3.5 hours, but with stops, you should plan for at least a day but better yet two. We allotted a day but would have liked to stop at more places. There are so many cute cafes, pubs and shop in the quaint little towns you drive through that will beckon you to visit. Acordingly, you will find yourself pulling over to see castles, Celtic ruins, adorable sheep and beautiful vistas.

ring of kerry

killarney

killarney

Killarney

We started on the Ring of Kerry in Killarney. We stayed at a hotel in Killarney. Killarney is a small town with lots of great restaurants with food choices spanning the globe. There are also so many great pubs you will have a hard time deciding which ones to visit. Killarney also has charming shops to explore. You could plan for a whole day to explore Killarney. The first pub we visited was the Danny Man Pub. Keith had his first Guinness, A Hop House Lager and we had fantastic food. I had a vegan curry while Keith tried their local burger made from Dingle beef. Dingle beef comes from cows on the Dingle Peninsula. They say that the meat tastes different because the cows graze on grasses that get sprayed with ocean water. So they ingest the salt thus making the meat a distinct flavor.

killarney

killarney

killarney

As I said earlier, we had to adjust to driving on the left side of the road! We chose to travel clockwise on the Ring because the tour buses take the counter-clockwise route. Going this way insured us that we would not be stuck behind a big bus or have a coach blocking our view. The first couple of times we had to pass one of these big buses while driving on the wrong side of the road was a bit scary, but it got more comfortable with time.

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Kate Kearney’s Cottage

About a 10 or 15-minute drive from Killarney we were driving through the Gap of Dunloe on our way to Kate Kearney’s Cottage. The very scenic gap has many lakes. Kate Kearney’s Cottage is a 150-year-old restaurant and pub along the Gap of Dunloe. We passed beautiful fields and horses before pulling into the parking lot of this charming, ivy-covered cottage. The shop in front of Kate Kearney’s sells local crafts. Even if you are not hungry or thirsty, this pub is worth a stop.

Kate Kearneys Cottage

Kate Kearneys Cottage

Kate Kearneys Cottage

Killorglin

Killorglin is a village further along on the Ring of Kerry. Located along the River, Laune Killorglin is close to the Atlantic Ocean. There are hotels, pubs, and restaurants. This village on a hill is best known for one of Ireland’s oldest, longest and most unusual festivals, Puck Fair. This annual event celebrated on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August is Ireland’s oldest street festival. It a photogenic town!

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Killorglin

Kerry Bog Village Museum

Next up we visited Kerry Bog Village Museum. This museum features six restored dwellings with thatched roofs from the 18th and 19th century. It depicts the harsh existence that people carved out for themselves in a peat bog. A bog is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material.  Peat in Ireland is also fuel. It is fascinating to see how people lived and worked in Ireland during this time including the famine. This village is the only one of its kind in Europe.

kerry bog

Although the location of the museum is on vast bogland not all of the dwellings are original to the land.  Thus, one of the houses was originally from North Kerry but now resides in the village. At the community, we learned about the importance of the bog, the equipment used to extract the turf and the wildlife native to the bog.Kerry bog

kerry bog

The Village contains four period thatched cottages and a blacksmith’s forge. The cottages contain furniture from the era and figurines of the times. At the village, we saw Kerry Bog Ponies. They initially lived a mainly feral existence in the peat bogs of County Kerry.

kerry bog

We also met some very friendly Irish Wolf Hounds. The Irish Wold Hound is an ancient Irish breed of dog famous for being the world’s tallest dog. The Wolf Hound was a hunting dog used in hunting larger game but not by just anybody; this dog was for the Royals only.

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kerry bog

Ballycarbery Castle

Another place that I would not miss on the Ring of Kerry is Ballycarbery Castle. This once proud 16th-century castle on a is now an ivy and moss-covered ruin. It is a quick stop for some fantastic pictures.

ballycarbery castle

Eightercua Stones

The Eightercua Stones are thought to date back to 1700 BC. They consist of 4 stones with the largest being 9 feet tall. The rocks believed to designate a tomb of Sceine, the wife of a Milesian ruler, are fasinating. Note that you can’t get close to these stones because they are on private property, but you can easily view them from the road.

eightercua stones

Killarney National Park

Not too far from the Famous Muckross House is The Killarney National Park. This national park is the most extensive native forest in Ireland.


killarney national park

Torc Waterfall

Located inside of the Killarney National Park is the Torc waterfall. The waterfall is not visible from the road but not to worry, it’s only a short walk once you park your car. If you love photography, you will love visiting these falls. The 70-foot waterfall picturesquely nestled in a woods is a delight. For the best photos climb the 100 or so steps immediately to the left of the waterfall. You may even have a view of the lake. Torc waterfall is one of Killarney’s biggest tourist attractions. Many buses stop here. As a result, it can get busy and congested.

torq waterfall

torq waterfall

Muckross House

Muckross House and Gardens only 3.6 miles from Killarney is a nineteenth-century Victorian mansion. The mansion is a 65 room, three-story Tudor style with formal gardens also, located in stunningly beautiful, Killarney National Park. Much of the original estate donated to Ireland forms the basis of what today is Killarney National Park. Muckross House, built in 1843, is Ireland’s oldest National Park. In the 1850s extensive renovations took place in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861. These improvement costs for the Queen’s visit contributed to the financial difficulties suffered by the owners which resulted in the sale of the estate.


muckross house

While visiting the mansion, you will be able to enjoy the magnificent views only available from this location. The Gardens at Muckross House are renowned for their beauty. In particular, they are noted for their azaleas and rhododendrons, an extensive water garden, and a beautiful rock garden made of natural limestone. There are also three traditional farms to visit. The farms demonstrate the farming methods of the 1930’s.

muckross house

Picturesque Beauty

Driving the charming loop at the heart of County Kerry is a way to experience wild Ireland. The narrow roads surrounded by greenery and trees are the iconic roads you see in movies of Ireland. Also, there are so many fascinating unmarked sites on the Ring so we do not have the names but below is a picture tour.


ireland drive

ireland drive

ireland drive

ireland drive

ireland drive

Ring of Kerry

Driving the Ring of Kerry is a way to see Ireland off the beaten path. The charming villages, rugged coastline and ancient ruins are real gems. Travel slow, savor the sights, have your camera ready and enjoy the ride.

Be sure to see our adventure in this 2-minute video
Ring of Kerry
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If you like castles and large manor houses, be sure to read “Enjoy the Romance of Ireland’s Exclusive Castles and Manor Houses”

You might also like our post on The Dingle Cookery School and The Pottery Experience


QUICK ANSWERS


What is the total driving distance and time of the Ring of Kerry?

The complete drive around the 111-mile ring takes 3.5 hours, but with stops, you should plan for at least a day but, better yet two.

Is it difficult to drive the Ring of Kerry?

Driving, on the narrow, winding roads is a bit challenging but, you will adjust quickly. Driving on the left side of the road takes some getting used to for North Americans.

About Tina

As far back as I can remember I was adventurous and wanted to see the world. The first time I traveled outside the country was with Keith just after high school graduation. After that, I was hooked. Throughout my career I was just like many of you, I wanted to work less and travel more. Keith and I made early retirement a reality. Now, I am here to help you retire early and find the inspiration to venture out and see the world.

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46 thoughts on “Ring of Kerry Ireland – Remarkable One Day Ultimate Drive”

  1. Great blog with beautiful pictures. this place looks amazing in these pictures. it is must visit destination for us now

  2. Just Amazing information.
    I think I’m your big fan because you always come with such a wonderful information and it’s really gonna help us thanks for sharing valuable information with us keep posting…!!!
    Great work

  3. The Ring of Kerry looks like a traveler’s dream. Exploring small and quaint towns allows us to learn so much about the specific culture. You’re also helping the local automotive business whenever you rent a car in a small town. I’m tempted to visit Kerry for the adorable dog and sheep.

  4. I’m a great fan of this blog… Never commented before but I just had to here.
    I understand the struggle on driving on the left side of the road, been there and it was quite difficult to adapt. I didn’t know about Ring of Kerry until I read this. I have to say I’m already in love with the place. Seems nice and cute and road trip worthy.
    Hope I’ll get a chance to tour the place soon
    Cheers 🙂

    1. Thanks Lauren. I hope you get to visit soon. I think the narrow roads were more difficult than driving on the left. But combined made you pay very close attention. 🙂

  5. Great blog with beautiful pieces of photographs.
    Now this place would be the must visit destination for most of us .

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