Ultimate Travel Guide to Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry Escapade: Your Guide to Irish Marvels

If you’re a fan of heights, this might tickle your fancy: Did you know that you can see Ireland’s highest peaks when you journey along the Ring of Kerry? 

Among Ireland’s majestic landscapes, the Ring of Kerry is like a natural panorama as you cruise through this scenic route, passing charming villages and breathtaking coastlines. 

If you’re up for an adventure in County Kerry, check out our travel guide below!

What’s the Ring of Kerry most known for?

The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometre circular tourist route in County Kerry, Ireland. It’s known as one of the most beautiful roads globally, due to its breathtaking scenery, cultural and historical gems, and outdoor activities.

Best Time to Go

Let’s talk about when is the best time to go to the Ring of Kerry. If you’re not into the whole “elbowing through crowds” scene or sharing your view with other tourists, you might want to skip the peak summer months.

For a more relaxed experience, think about taking your trip in the spring or fall. The weather’s usually on point, and you won’t find yourself playing tourist Twister with the masses.

Now, here’s a curveball for you—winter! Believe it or not, it can be a fantastic time to explore. Hotels are throwing deals your way, and the landscapes take on a whole different vibe, all quiet and serene. 

But fair warning, it can get chilly and wet, so pack those cosy layers!

How to Get to Ring of Kerry

How to Get to Ring of Kerry
Photo by Will Truettner on Unsplash

You’ll want to kick off your Ring of Kerry adventure from Killarney, right in the heart of the Iveragh Peninsula. Killarney’s got your back with regional trains and a web of national roads, making it a breeze to get there.

Now, let’s break down the deets on how to hustle to Killarney from some key cities in Ireland:

From Cork

Cork is the golden ticket to your Ring of Kerry escapade. It’s about a 1.5 to 2-hour drive along the N22 national road. If you’re feeling fancy, you may grab a rental car or hop on a direct bus from Cork’s Parnell Place.

And guess what? Trains are in the game too! You’ve got direct routes or, if you’re up for a mini detour, a stopover in Mallow that adds just 30 minutes to your travel clock. 

From Limerick

Now, if you’re kicking off from Limerick or Shannon Airport, you’re looking at a chill 1.5 to 3-hour drive via roads N21 and N23. For the ultimate ease, think about snagging a rental car or arranging a private transfer—smooth sailing all the way.

If you’re more of a bus rider, Bus Éireann has your back on a similar route. Plan for a 2 to 3-hour ride, possibly with a pitstop in Tralee for good measure. 

And for the train enthusiasts, brace yourself! The scenic route might be your thing, but it comes with two connections and a potential 3-hour clock time. 

From Dublin

Dublin’s your launchpad to the southwest coast, and you’ve got options.

First up, Aer Lingus has your back with two daily flights straight to Kerry Airport. Quick math: a 20-minute taxi or a private transfer, and bam, you’re in Killarney! Or, if you’re vibing with the open road, buckle up for a 3.5-hour scenic drive.

Now, if you’re more of a ground traveller, buses are on the scene. Be ready, though—with a pitstop in Limerick, you’re looking at a 6 to 6.5-hour journey. It’s a real test of your song playlist’s endurance!

And for the train aficionados, get ready for a picturesque 3.5-hour ride with a hop, skip, and jump through Mallow.

How to Get Around

Once you’re in Killarney, it’s time to soak in the Ring of Kerry goodness. A car is your ticket to freedom, cruising along N20/21 roads for the full peninsula experience.

Now, there are two ways to tackle the Ring of Kerry drive—the traditional route and the uncommon route. The traditional one sticks to the classic Ring of Kerry trail.

But if you’re up for a detour, take the uncommon route. It swings by the Skellig Ring, adding a whole new layer to your Ring of Kerry experience. And, spoiler alert, we think it’s totally worth it!

Now, here’s a nifty little nugget for you: go clockwise. Why? Well, it’s not a rule, but it’s a good move—avoiding bus traffic and enjoying smoother roads when fatigue sets in.

And if you don’t have wheels? Buses got you covered, hitting up gems like Sneem, Cahersiveen, and Killorglin. 

But for the off-the-beaten-path spots, it’s best to check those bus schedules at the tourist offices in Killarney or Kenmare. Happy trails!

Travel Time

Travel Time
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

If you’re thinking of driving the full loop without a single pitstop on the Ring of Kerry, it’s a neat 2.5 to 3.5-hour ride.

But let’s be real, it’s all about soaking up the vibes and exploring, isn’t it? So, here’s the scoop: plan for a leisurely 7 to 10 hours to truly enjoy every scenic detour and pitstop along the way.

Attractions around the Ring of Kerry

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park is the mesmerising gateway to the whole Ring of Kerry scene, stretching over 25,000 acres. With the serene Lakes of Killarney and ancient woodlands, it’s the perfect start to the scenic wonders along this iconic route. 

The backdrop? Ireland’s highest mountain range, the majestic MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. As you wander through the park, you can explore the Muckross House and Gardens—a 19th-century mansion that houses a museum and a working farm.

But that’s not all. The park also cradles Ross Castle, a 15th-century fortress perched dramatically overlooking the serene Lough Leane lake.

And if you’re up for it, hop on a boat tour to witness the castle’s grandeur up close and explore the wonders of Innisfallen Island. 

This tiny oasis holds the ruins of a mediaeval monastery, echoing tales from centuries past. It’s like stepping into a storybook!

Torc Waterfall

A quick drive from Muckross House, Torc Waterfall’s 20-meter cascade into Muckross Lake is surrounded by lush greenery and moss-covered rocks. It showcases the natural beauty along the Ring of Kerry.

You can easily get there by taking a short walk from the parking lot. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike up Torc Mountain for an even better reward—a panoramic view that’ll stick with you for a long time.

Ladies View

Ladies View is another hidden gem along the scenic Ring of Kerry. This spot got its name from Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who were totally captivated by the view during her visit in 1861.

And here’s the charm: as you decide to take a breather, you may swing by the Ladies View cafe and souvenir shop for a leisurely cup of tea or coffee. While you’re there, you’ll get to soak in the breathtaking views of the Killarney lakes and valleys.

Oh, and a short walk from there lands you at Derrycunnihy Church, a charming stone structure oozing history dating back to the 17th century. 

Moll’s Gap

Moll’s Gap is a scenic spot on the Ring of Kerry, a famous route that circles the Iveragh Peninsula. It’s a popular place for tourists, cyclists, and hikers to enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about local history. 

This attraction offers you a front-row seat to the breathtaking landscapes of the Black Valley and the Gap of Dunloe. It’s the kind of scenery that makes your camera do a happy dance!

And here’s a little tip—keep your eyes peeled for the sheep leisurely munching away on the hillsides. Because what’s a visit to Ireland without encountering these fluffy, photogenic creatures? It’s the quintessential Irish experience!


Kenmare is a lovely town on the Ring of Kerry route, where you can experience Ireland’s rich culture and history. It’s a great place to enjoy the scenic views, the friendly people, and the cosy atmosphere of Ireland.

Oh, and speaking of appreciation, the Kenmare Stone Circle, with its 15 stones encircling a boulder dolmen, offers a glimpse into Ireland’s ancient history. If you’re craving cobblestone streets and archaeological marvels, Kenmare is the place to be!


Sneem is a charming stop on the Ring of Kerry route, where colourful houses and a quirky vibe greet you around every corner. On your road trip, you can enjoy the Garden of Senses’ art and the local history at the Pyramids of Sneem.

First off, there’s the Garden of Senses, an outdoor art haven with sculptures, mosaics, and plants creating a sensory adventure in the heart of this Irish idyll. It’s a playful experience for your senses, making your stroll extra magical.

And then there’s the Pyramids of Sneem—not the Egyptian kind, mind you. These are two stone monuments proudly standing, each with its own story.


Caherdaniel is a charming village and townland that’s more than just a dot on the map—it’s a must-stop on the Ring of Kerry. It offers quaint stone cottages, an ancient ringfort from the Iron Age, and a  colourful history.

Caherdaniel treats you to breathtaking views of Derrynane Bay and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. 

But let’s not forget the beaches! Derrynane Beach, with its 3 km stretch of golden sand, crystal-clear water, and dunes, is basically a slice of heaven.


Waterville, a welcoming coastal town on the Ring of Kerry route, has stunning views of Ballinskelligs Bay, as well as golf courses and fishing spots for some outdoor fun. It’s a perfect stop on your journey around the scenic coast of Ireland.

Here’s some fun trivia: Charlie Chaplin, the Hollywood legend, used to visit Waterville in the ’50s and ’60s. Now, there’s a bronze statue of him on the promenade and a museum with stuff from his visits.

And for golf lovers, Waterville Golf Links is the place to be—it’s like the Beyoncé of Irish golf courses, always topping the charts!


Portmagee, a quaint fishing village on the western coast along the Ring of Kerry, serves as the gateway to the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that beckons with its unique charm. 

Skellig Michael, the larger of the two islands, hosts a 6th-century monastic setup that’ll transport you back in time with its stone huts, church, and cemetery.

Little Skellig is like a fancy hangout spot for seabirds such as gannets, puffins, and razorbills. To get the best experience, take a boat tour, but make sure to book in advance and get ready for a bit of a sea adventure! 

Coomanaspig Pass

Coomanaspig Pass
Image from Wild Atlantic Way

Coomanaspig Pass is the highest point along the Ring of Kerry, and it’s simply stunning. The views from there are amazing, making it a truly memorable part of the journey.

As you ascend to new heights, the landscape unfolds, revealing the stunning beauty of the Skellig Islands, the Dingle Peninsula, and the Blasket Islands from the Coomanaspig viewpoint.

Now, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, consider taking a hike up Coomanaspig Mountain, standing tall at 636 metres. Reach that cross-topped peak, and you’ll not only have epic views but also a serious sense of accomplishment. 

Kerry Cliffs

Kerry Cliffs is the ultimate visual feast for nature enthusiasts along the famed Ring of Kerry. These cliffs stand tall at a whopping 300 metres above sea level, offering you a panoramic view of the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island. 

As you take a leisurely walk along the cliff edge, you’ll uncover some seriously cool rock formations and a vibrant mix of colours. And here’s the cherry on top: before you wrap up your visit, make sure to swing by the Kerry Cliffs cafe and gift shop!

Valentia Island

Valentia Island is one of the most scenic places to visit on the Ring of Kerry road trip, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Skellig Islands. It’s connected to the mainland by a bridge near the charming village of Portmagee. 

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Valentia Island is through the Bray Head Loop Walk, where you can see a historic signal tower and a panoramic vista of the surrounding area.

But it’s not just about the scenery; there’s this Tetrapod Trackway thing, like a fossilised creature footprint from a whopping 385 million years ago. Oh, and check out the Valentia Island Lighthouse at Cromwell Point—they do guided tours!

And if you’re into fancy old mansions, swing by Glanleam House and Gardens, a 19th-century gem with a sweet subtropical garden.


Cahersiveen is a town on the north coast of the Iveragh Peninsula, along the Ring of Kerry. It has many heritage sites, such as the 16th-century Ballycarbery Castle, a seafront ruin with a history of battles and sieges.

If you’re feeling a bit of an Iron Age enthusiast, check out the Cahergal Stone Fort and Leacanabuaile Stone Fort. History buffs, this is your playground! 

Don’t miss the chance to swing by the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, a tribute to the local hero and Irish political bigwig. 


Kells is a scenic spot along the Ring of Kerry, where you can enjoy the clear waters of Dingle Bay. The village has a long, sandy beach that is ideal for relaxing, swimming, and having fun with various water sports. 

Now, for nature lovers, Kells Bay has a treat for you—the Kells Bay Gardens is a botanical wonderland showcasing exotic plants from around the globe. 

Those who are up for a scenic stroll shouldn’t miss the Kells Bay River Walk, where you can follow a stream through a lush forest. It’s like a hidden gem along the Ring of Kerry, offering both relaxation and natural beauty.

Rossbeigh Beach

Rossbeigh Beach is another beautiful beach on the Ring of Kerry, close to Glenbeigh village. Stretching about 7 kilometres, it’s got this fine sandy vibe and super chill, shallow water.

Plus, the backdrop of dunes and hills? Unreal views! You can also spice things up with activities like walking, horseback riding, or even trying your hand at kite surfing and windsurfing.

Where to Eat

Curious Cat Café

Website: https://www.facebook.com/curiouscatcafe/ 

Address: Unit 1 Newmarket Lane, Killarney

Phone: +353 87 663 5540

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Open Daily – 9 AM to 5 PM

Curious Cat Café is the ultimate pre-Ring-of-Kerry adventure breakfast joint. The place itself is like a Pinterest board dream, with metal sheets jazzing up the bar, warm wooden vibes, and some chill outdoor seating for that al fresco feel.

Now, let’s talk grub. The menu is a legit foodie playground. Smoothies, crepes, pancakes—they’ve got your morning cravings sorted.

The best part? The time game is flexible. Whether you’re a sunrise chaser or more of a brunch warrior, Curious Cat Café has got your back. 

PF McCarthy’s Bar & Restaurant

Website: https://www.pfskenmare.com/ 

Address: 14 Main Street, Kenmare, Co.Kerry

Phone: (+353) (0)64 664 1516 

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday & Tuesday – 12 PM to 11:30 PM
  • Friday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Saturday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Sunday – 12:30 PM to 11 PM

PF McCarthy’s Bar & Restaurant is the real deal for a chill dining scene, a lively bar, and some killer live tunes during your trip along the Ring of Kerry. From classic burgers to melt-in-your-mouth baked salmon, the menu’s got it all.

Specialities at PF McCarthy’s include homemade meatloaf with Irish beer flair and a crispy fried potato cake with steak strips and peppercorn sauce. You can also wash it all down with your choice of beers, wines, or spirits.

Fisherman’s Bar

Fisherman’s Bar
Image by Fisherman’s Bar

Website: https://www.fishermansbarportmagee.com/ 

Address: 2 Harbour View, Portmagee, Co. Kerry

Phone: +353 66 947 7103

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Sunday to Thursday – 9 AM to 11:30 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 9 AM to 1 AM

Fisherman’s Bar & Seafood Restaurant is a cosy and friendly place to enjoy the best of Irish cuisine and hospitality. Located on the famous Ring of Kerry, this family-run establishment offers a variety of dishes made with fresh and local ingredients.

Whether you are looking for a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, or a sumptuous dinner, you’ll find something to suit your taste and budget. You can also relax with a pint of Guinness at the bar, where you can chat with the locals and listen to live music. 


Website: https://qc.ie/ 

Address: 3 Main St, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry

Phone: (066) 947 2244

Email: [email protected] 

QC’s is your go-to spot along the enchanting Ring of Kerry if you’re in the mood for top-notch, fresh, and locally sourced seafood in Ireland.

As a family-run establishment deeply rooted in the local fishing tradition of Valentia Harbour, QC’s prides itself on delivering a culinary experience that captures the essence of the nearby Dingle Bay and the vast Atlantic.

From velvety crab and prawn soup to a savoury risotto featuring hake, prawns, and squid, their menu promises a delightful seafood journey.

Where to Stay

The Lake Hotel

Website: https://www.lakehotelkillarney.ie/ 

Address: Lake Shore, Muckross Rd, Castlelough, Killarney, Co. Kerry

Phone: +353 (0)64 66 31035

Email: [email protected] 

The Lake Hotel, a historic and comfortable accommodation, is a cosy place to stay before or after your Ring of Kerry tour. Nestled by Lough Leane and with breathtaking views of Killarney National Park, it offers a truly picturesque setting. 

The rooms? Oh, they’re comfy with stunning lake views, and some even come with cool extras like jacuzzi baths.

Whether you’re admiring the wildlife and scenery from the hotel grounds or venturing out to explore nearby attractions like Muckross House and Ross Castle, the Lake Hotel is your gateway to comfort and scenic wonders.

Sheen Falls Lodge

Website: https://www.sheenfallslodge.ie/ 

Address: Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare Old, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

Phone: +353 (0)64 664 1600

Email: [email protected] 

Sheen Falls Lodge, an award-winning hotel on a 300-acre estate, is an ideal base for exploring the scenic Ring of Kerry within the town of Kenmare. It offers exquisite rooms, a gourmet restaurant, a pub, a spa, and stunning views.

But that’s not all! At Sheen Falls Lodge, the world is your playground. You can indulge in various activities like fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, and hiking. 

Or, if relaxation is more your style, you can simply unwind in the tranquil surroundings. It’s a haven for those seeking luxury and a touch of adventure.

The Woodland Villas

The Woodland Villas
Image from Bookings

Website: https://parknasillaresort.com/stay/woodland-villas/ 

Address: Woodland Villa, Derryquin, Sneem, Co. Kerry

Phone: +353 64 667 5600

The Woodland Villas is a self-catering accommodation option for your Ring of Kerry road trip, ideal for families or groups seeking additional space and privacy. Each villa features fully equipped kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

This accommodation also has access to the Parknasilla Resort’s facilities, such as a restaurant, a bar, a spa, a golf course, and an outdoor adventure centre. It’s surrounded by the stunning scenery of Sneem and Kenmare Bay.

Sea Lodge Hotel

Sea Lodge Hotel
Image by Sea Lodge Hotel

Website: https://sealodgewaterville.ie/ 

Address: Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)66 947 8533 / +353 (0)874747181

Email: [email protected] 

Sea Lodge Hotel is your go-to spot along the Ring of Kerry within the village of Waterville. It offers stunning views of Ballinskelligs Bay and the Atlantic, with easy access to Waterville and Inny Strand Beaches. It’s the perfect coastal retreat!

The hotel features rooms that are as spacious as they come, with a touch of elegance and maybe even a balcony to boot. They’re all about that nautical theme, decked out with local artwork.

There’s a restaurant, a bar, a terrace, a garden—the whole shebang! Plus, they’ve got the essentials covered: free WiFi, parking that won’t cost you a dime, and even some evening entertainment. 

The Royal Valentia

Website: https://www.royalvalentia.ie/ 

Address: Market St, Farranreagh, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry

Phone: +353 (0)66 9476144

Email: [email protected] 

The Royal Valentia Hotel, a family-run haven since the 1830s, offers cosy rooms with postcard-worthy views in the heart of the Ring of Kerry. 

Each room comes with essentials like coffee fixings, a TV, WiFi, and a private bathroom for a comfy stay.

Valentia Island itself, with its romantic aura, makes the Royal Valentia an enchanting spot for weddings or family get-togethers. Beyond celebrations, the island offers a perfect backdrop for a relaxed family holiday or a quiet escape.