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Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Ring of Kerry ©2012 Mike Williams
Lady of the Wayside, Ring of Kerry ©2012 Mike Williams
Ring of Kerry Map
Ring of Kerry ©2012 Mike Williams
Ring of Kerry ©2012 Mike Williams
Ring of Kerry ©2012 Mike Williams

Ring of Kerry, Ireland

story by: Mike Williams

If you have a day to spend in provincial Ireland and want a trip that flaunts a symphony of beautiful Irish scenery, then you can’t go past the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is an extremely popular tourist route in County Kerry, located in the South West of Ireland. The 180km loop showcases panoramic views of the ruggedly beautiful coastlines and peninsulas on one side, and on the other dramatic mountains, valleys and rivers. There is even the opportunity to enjoy some famous Irish hospitality.

You can enjoy the Ring of Kerry by hiring a car or going on one of the many daily bus tours. Remember, if you are driving a car, go in the anti-clockwise direction, regardless of what your GPS might tell you. All of the tour buses will be travelling clock-wise, and the narrow windy roads will make overtaking difficult.

The loop includes the city of Killarney, which as the biggest town on the circuit is a popular starting and ending point. From Killarney the loop runs through Killarney National Park and down to Kenmare, before following Iveragh Peninsula through Sneem, Caherdaniel and Waterville. It then continues north up to Cahersiveen before following the coast through Kells and up to Killorglin. From Killorglin it continues inland before closing back at Killarney.

On a tour bus, the trip will take a full day. Buses usually leave Killarney at around 10.30 am and arrive back around 5pm. It is recommended to take at least a similar amount of time if driving by car. Even though the trip is only about 180km, the roads are windy so it pays not to rush them. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region, you will likely have to view with traffic.

There are many opportunities for pictures, including the Staigue stone fort, Ross Castle, Lough Leane, and Ladies View. 

For the exercise lovers, there is a Ring of Kerry cycling path or the 214km ‘Kerry Way’ walking circuit.

A trip to Kerry doesn’t have to be a quick drive or tour; you can opt to stay on and enjoy any number of activities in the region. Popular activities include indulging in some fresh or salt water fishing, scenic hiking, or even investigating some of the rich history in the area, such as ogham stones, old monasteries, castles and forts.

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photos courtesy: ©2012 Mike Williams

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