The county of Kerry in Ireland has some absolutely amazing and beautiful places to see within it. So much so that we consider it a must-see for anyone who is thinking about visiting Ireland. However, it is also a pretty big area, and planning what to see and how can be a pretty daunting task unless you have some guidance.
Well fear not, because that is exactly what we plan to give you in this guide to visiting the Ring of Kerry. We are going to explain to you what the Ring of Kerry is, as well as touch on some of the top attractions that you can view on this famous Irish road trip.
How to Get There
The County of Kerry sits in the South Western part of Ireland, and is known for its pockets of Irish language speaking population and rugged, beautiful coastline. The best way to tour this gorgeous countryside is to follow the popular circular route that has become known as the Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry is a route that follows the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula for much of the route, and includes some forays into the stunning Killarney National Park. It really is an amazing road trip.
There really is a ton of beautiful and amazing things to see all along the Ring of Kerry. However, when we visited Ireland a few years ago and did the Ring of Kerry, we found that a lot of our favorite sites were near the city of Killarney.
If you are short on time and are unable to do the whole route, we would recommend that you at least hit this area. Between the Muckross Abbey, the Muckross House, the Torc Waterfall, and the Gap of Dunloe, there are some pretty amazing things to see in all in close proximity to each other.
The town of Killarney is a great place to setup base camp if you are going to be doing a lot of exploration along the Ring of Kerry. It is a really neat town, with a lot of really great shops and restaurants, and it is in close proximity to many of the top sights to see along the route. If you are going to be in the County of Kerry, we absolutely recommend stopping into Killarney to do a little bit of shopping and exploration.
The town of Killorglin is another great place to setup your base camp if you are going to be spending a lot of time exploring the Ring of Kerry. Like Killarney, it has a lot of really neat shops and pubs that you can enjoy while taking a break from exploring the route.
Top 5 Things to See
There is a wealth of great things to see and do on the Ring of Kerry, and a lot of really great resources out there should you want to spend a good deal of time exploring this famous road route. We have included some fantastic resources below that you can use to do some more in-depth planning for your visit.
- Ireland.com – Ring of Kerry: Plan Your Trip
- TheRingOfKerry.com – Visitor Guide
- The Independent – A Traveler’s Guide to the Ring of Kerry
- Fodor’s – Ring of Kerry Traveler’s Guide
We have included our Top 5 favorite things to see along the Ring of Kerry below. These are some of the more amazing and scenic places we visited in all of Ireland. Do you have a favorite place along the Ring of Kerry that we didn’t mention below? If so, make sure you let us know about it in the comments section. I am sure other travelers will be very grateful to hear your feedback as well!
The Muckross House is a fully furnished 19th Century Mansion that is set against the unbelievable beauty of Killarney National Park. It is an incredibly beautiful building, inside and out, and is very much worth the time to tour. The property also includes some stunning gardens and farms that make it one of the most beautiful and unique properties in Ireland.
The Muckross Abbey was one of our favorite stops along the Ring of Kerry. This old Irish monastery and graveyard is absolutely amazing and beautiful. It is fascinating to tour the remains of the monastery and appreciate the architecture and the history. One of our favorite features was a large tree that has grown up from the inside of the Abbey. It is stunning how much the tree fits into the facade. It makes for some truly incredibly photo opportunities. Make sure you bring a wide angle lens to really capture the essence of this amazing place.
Gap of Dunloe
Set in between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain by glacial flows, the Gap of Dunloe is one of the prettier mountain passes you will ever see. There is a road that takes you thru the pass and the scenery along the way is breathtaking. Along the way, you might see some free ranging sheep and some fantastic old buildings that seem to melt right into the rocky landscape. The Gap of Dunloe is a landscape photographer’s dream, especially around sunset, so make sure you plan plenty of time to take some fantastic shots if you visit.
This 70 – 80 foot tall waterfall, set within the wooded area surrounding the town of Killarney, is absolutely stunning. It is only a short hike to get to the waterfall, so this is hiking experience that the whole family can enjoy. The Torc Waterfall is an absolute must stop if you are doing the Ring of Kerry and are in the Killarney area.
Tetrapod Tracks on Valentia
If you are a history buff, you are going to love the Tetrapod Tracks on Valencia Island. And when I say history, I am talking about a time long, long ago past. 385 million years ago, to be precise. The Tetrapod Tracks are the footprints left by a Tetrapod, which is one of the first animals to leave the water to live on land, that have been imprinted in stone.
Just as cool as it is to find a dinosaur fossil, looking at these tracks with your own eyes is truly awe-inspiring. It isn’t that often that you get to witness ancient history in this manner. If you do decide to visit, please make sure you are respectful of the tracks. Their preservation is incredibly important.
Touring the Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is an amazing road trip that everyone should experience for themselves. There are so many amazing things to do and see along the route, which makes it a must do activity for everyone visiting Ireland. To give you a sense of what it is like to tour the Ring of Kerry, we have put together the short highlight video below.
There are a lot of beautiful and amazing things to see along the Ring of Kerry. Below are some of our favorite pictures we took at some of our favorite spots along the route.