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The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a hugely popular road route through the southwest of Ireland that encompasses some of Ireland's best scenery and heritage. Beginning in the town of Killarney, the Ring of Kerry comprises three roads -- the N70,  the N71, and the R562 -- that together form a circuitous route through the Iveragh Peninsula. 

Visitor Attractions

Worth travelling simply for its stunning views, the Ring of Kerry also offers many visitor attractions, including:

Driving the Ring of Kerry - speeded up and edited into a neat, 6-min package

Visitors Tips

There are two things to keep in mind about the Ring of Kerry

  1. It is so popular with tourists that the roads often become extremely busy. You may find yourself stuck behind one or more tour buses, especially during summer months.
  2. The traditional route (176 kilometres / 110 miles) requires time to explore, especially if you intend stopping off at all the major sites.One day may not be enough.

For a less touristy experience, the best time to explore the Ring of Kerry is during off-peak months, when the weather is still okay, for example, early spring or late autumn. Also, travel the route in a clockwise direction -- that way you will be travelling in an opposite direction to the tour coaches. Alternatively, in summer, you could try to avoid the coaches by setting out early e.g. 7am, or late, e.g. 3pm. During summer, Ireland's daylight lasts from 5am through to 8pm. 

The Coach Tour Route

Between May and August, 30 or more coaches a day tour the Ring of Kerry. All follow the same anti-clockwise route: Starting from Killarney, the coaches pass through Killorglin and Glenbeigh and Caherciveen, before their passengers disembark at Waterville for lunch. After lunch, the coach departs Waterville and travels along the 'top half' of the Ring of Kerry, through Cahedaniel and Sneem, via Moll's Gap and Ladies View in Killarney National Park, before arriving back at Killarney. 

The Short Ring of Kerry

For this reason, some travellers opt for alternative, shorter and less congested routes through the Iveragh Peninsula. There is no official route known as the 'Short Ring of Kerry', but the idea is to travel anti-clockwise starting from Killarney and then, at whatever point you choose -- using a map of course! -- circumvent the larger ring to meet up with the return leg. There are several different back roads that will allow this, and all of them offer stunning scenery around the Gap of Dunloe and the Iveragh Peninsula. 

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Image by Alex Ranaldi

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