Driving the Ring of Kerry in Ireland is one of the popular destinations for road trip enthusiasts in the world. The 179-kilometer scenic road in the Iveragh peninsula winds past mountains, medieval ruins, great little towns, castle ruins, lakes, and sand beaches. For hundreds of years, the place covered by this circuit has wowed people due to its fascination beauty. It is such a picturesque circular route that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. While you are planning your trip to Ireland, you are going to want to include the Ring of Kerry on your Ireland itinerary.
Guide to Driving the Ring of Kerry in Ireland
The Ring of Kerry circuit is located in Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry, South Western Ireland. A car, bus or train from the Kerry Airport is just 15 minutes to Killarney town. The circuit will take you around 3.5 hours without stopping when driving. However, it is recommended that you take your time to enjoy every spot along this road trip. The circuits start from Killarney and ends in Killarney.
Make sure to have time in your Ireland Itinerary for this amazing drive.
Driving the Ring of Kerry Tour
How you choose to explore the stunning sceneries along this route will significantly determine your experience. So, it is essential to select a mode that suits your schedule and other needs. For a road drive, there are several options for you.
First, you can choose to experience it by car. There are several options for renting a car in Ireland. If you are a large group that cannot fit in a car, then a Ring of Kerry bus tour would be a perfect option. These tours also work great for families and individual tourists. There are many Ring of Kerry tour operators in Killarney, and all you need is to book a bus. This is also a nice way to enjoy it without having to worry about driving in Ireland on the opposite side of the road and car (at least for us coming from the States)!
The third mode of driving the Ring of Kerry that a good number of people go for is biking. If you are fit to bike 179 kilometers, then you can opt for this method. You don’t need to bring your bike because there are many businesses who renting quality bikes in Killarney for the Ring of Kerry.
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Exploring Killarney National Park
One of the top destinations of most tourists driving the Ring of Kerry is Killarney National Park. Located south of Killarney, the mountainous parks offers one of the spectacular experiences on this road trip. The park covers around 26,000 acres and encompasses the McGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Range. So the highest mountain in Ireland is in this park.
Killarney National Park is home to a vast range of plant species, including large rhododendrons. In addition, you will get to see some of the plants native to Europe. It is also essential to note that the national park is home to the native oak. You will also see yew woodlands, lichens, and shrubs that thrive in Killarney weather. That lush green fields and flowers of colors is a sight to behold.
Apart from plants, Killarney National Park is home a range of wild animals, with most of them being native to Europe. Some of the common animals that live in this park include the rare otters, hedgehogs, wood mice, badgers, stoats, red squirrels, rabbits, rats, Irish hare, and pygmy shrews amongst others. If you are lucky, you might get a sign of the American mink in its natural habitat. Charge your phone battery fully because the picturesque landscape of the park will be a memory treasure.
Preparing to Drive the Ring of Kerry Tour
Although the Ring of Kerry drive is a fantastic trip, you need proper preparation. Otherwise, you might end up having challenges during the trip. First, it is important to pack the right clothes for the tour. Depending on the time of the year, you need to bring the right clothes. For a summer trip, pack light clothes. You also need to bring a raincoat since the place usually rains most of the time. Don’t forget to pack hiking shoes if you are planning to adventure into the pack and other hiking activities.
If you are planning to rent a car, you need to bring a valid driving license with you. This is very important, especially for people planning to hire a car for the trip. You also need to carry the Ring of Kerry map with you during the trip. This may seem “old school” but you can’t always depend on wifi in this area or using your smartphone internationally. The map will guide you, especially if you will be driving or cycling alone. These are the crucial things you need to have for a successful Ring of Kerry tour.
Top Places to See on The Ring of Kerry Drive
During your drive on the Ring of Kerry, there are several spots that you need to have in your bucket list. These are places that offer a lifetime memory, and thus, shouldn’t be left off your list. Here are a couple of the top places to see and explore on the Ring of Kerry.
1. The Kells Bay House on the Ring of Kerry
A tour to the Kells Bay House and Garden offer tourist a fantastic experience. The hotel offers a range of attractions, including waterfalls, rope-bridge, and trails. You also get to enjoy 17 hectares of sub-tropic plants and trails. You can save a lot of money off this trip if you visit during off-season periods.
2. Ballycarbery Castle
Located in the town of Cahirciveen, Ballycarbery Castle attracts thousands of tourists every year. It was constructed in the 16th century, and thus, its ruins provide a perfect image and feel of Europe’s ancient architecture. It’s a place you can’t afford to miss in your itinerary.
3. Skellig Michael
They are rocky islands off Ireland’s coast. The islands are best known for their early Christianity monastery. There are over 600 steps built into the rough rock; hence, you need good walking shoes. The beehive-shaped huts are also a major attraction in this place. May to October is the best time to visit this place.
4. Derrynane Beach
The striking Derrynane beach is an ultimate spot for most tourists on the Ring of Kerry drive. It is a perfect place to stop and cool off, especially for summer adventurers. The Bronze Age tombs and abbey ruins are some of the biggest attractions in this place. The beach is best accessed from the Derrynane house.
5. Finish Day with a Beer at a Local Pub in Killarney
After touring the Ring of Kerry the whole day, you need to relax and enjoy Killarney’s vibrant nightlife. There are many pubs where you can have fun and drink your favorite beer. Some of the popular pubs in Killarney town include the Shire, The Grand, Killarney breweries, Courtney’s Bar, and Murphy’s of Killarney, amongst others. If you want to get a taste of local beers, then these are some of the best spots to spend your evening.