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Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)

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Ring of Kerry

Fuchsias and Stunning Landscapes - the Ring of Kerry

© 2004 Bernd Biege licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

The Ring of Kerry, a circular tour taking you from Kiillorglin via Cahersiveen and Kenmare to Killarney, takes in some of the most spectacular landscapes of Ireland's Southwest. But it has been so well publicized that traffic jams are not unknown in Summer. So is it still worth taking this tour? It certainly is on a quiet day and if you can be enthusiastic about landscapes. You will be experiencing a seemingly endless succession of nature's finest - which might also be tiresome after a few hours.

Pros

  • Drive takes you along the stunning coast of Kerry.
  • Fantastic landscapes, both coastal and mountainous.
  • Several tourist attractions on the tour.

Cons

  • Roads can get very crowded in Summer.
  • Landscapes can get repetitive after a while.

Description

  • One of the best known tour routes in Ireland.
  • Fantastic coastal scenery between Dingle Bay, the Atlantic and the Kenmare River.
  • Perfect day trip from Killorglin, Kenmare or Killarney.

Guide Review - Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)

I have done the Ring of Kerry twice, once at near-crawling speed and for two-and-a-half days in Summer. The other drive was in late October, an enjoyable daytrip with lots of pauses. There is no competition regarding the resulting recommendation - do it outside the tourist season, pick only some highlights for longer stops and do not contract sensual overload. And avoid the cafes en route, better grab a sandwich and a coffee in a local store. It'll save you money and (in some cases) disappointment.

Just to be quite clear: I recommend driving the Ring of Kerry! But I simply cannot see the reasons to spend an entire holiday doing so, exploring every cove and cliff just because they are there. The coastal as well as the inland landscapes touched by the Ring of Kerry are fabulous, that is true. But after a while a certain feeling of deja vu might set in. Like a travel companion (usually very much into nature) of mine said in a rather bored tone, "Oh yeah ... another cliff, another unique view ... let's move on then."

Highlights of the Ring of Kerry are

  • Killorglin - home of the semi-pagan Puck Fair,
  • Cahersiveen - birthplace of Daniel O'Connell,
  • Valentia Island - picture-postcard-pretty but a detour,
  • The Skellig Experience (Portmagee) and the Skelligs - another detour ... and boat trips to the islands are not for the faint-hearted,
  • Waterville - has a great beach,
  • Derrynane Estate (Caherdaniel) - home of Daniel O'Connell,
  • Staigue Fort - the best preserved ring fort, around 2,500 years old,
  • Kenmare - another picture-postcard-pretty location.
From Kenmare it is only a short hop across mountain roads to Killarney, you are not any longer on the Ring of Kerry proper though.

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