Ring of Kerry

The most famous scenic drive in Ireland

The Ring of Kerry is a well-known scenic drive in Ireland. Through typical Irish landscape; green valleys with sheep, stone houses and more. The route can be easily combined with various hikes.

You can explore the route by car (or rental car of course). It is also popular to do by bike. The tricky part is that there is no bicycle path and you are cycling on the public road.

How long is the route?

The route is more than 180 kilometres, located in the southwest of Ireland. The drive is well signposted, as are the stops along the way. The journey takes you to countless hills, meadows full of sheep, small villages and rugged bays.

You can drive the route in one day, although it is a lot. You hardly have time left to stop somewhere or to visit a town for example. so take your tine, it's definitely worthwhile.

Skellig Islands

The lovely Skellig Islands in Ireland.

You can extend the route by visiting the famous Skellig Islands. These islands got their fame from the Star Wars movies. The islands can be reached by boat. Adding a trip to the Skellig Islands to your drive is one of the best things to do in Ireland. It is an extra 20 kilometres of driving.

Muckross House

Muckross House along the route of Ring of Kerry. ©Corno van den Berg

The famous Muckross House is a Victorian mansion. It was built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife Mary Balfour Herbert. Queen Victoria stayed at the mansion during a tour in 1861. The museum is worth a visit and a nice stop during your tour.

Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey along the Ring of Kerry.

The ruins of Muckross Abbey are impressive. This former abbey was built by the Franciscans around 1448. The friars lived in the church for centuries, the remains of which are still in good condition. Note the beautiful courtyard with the century-old yew tree. The cemetery is also worth a visit.

Seals along the way

Seals sunbathing on the beach along the Ring of Kerry. ©Corno van den Berg

Look for seals on the rocky shores and beaches along the way. Especially in good weather, you have a good chance of spotting these mischievous animals. Among other things, I managed to see these two seals, which were sunbathing peacefully.

In addition, there are various excursions where you go out with a guide to spot the seals. Special Seal and Eagle watching cruises depart from Kenmare to see these animals.

More information:seafariireland.com

Killarney National Park

Killarney National Park, Ireland.

The rugged Killarney National Park is located on the Ring of Kerry. There a several hiking trails in this nature reserve. For example to the beautiful Torc Waterfall. The national park is located in the eastern part of the Ring of Kerry. Perfect to visit at the start of your trip, but also at the end.


The town of Kenmare is one of the nicest in Ireland. It is best known for its many bookshops, but also for its good restaurants and bars. Mind you, it is quite touristy.

The town of Kenmare, famous for its restaurants, bars and bookshops.

Overnight stay en route: Camping and Bed & Breakfast

It is advisable to spend the night somewhere along the way, so that you can also experience the evening. If lucky, with a beautiful sunset. The colours of the sky actually belong to the magic of the Ring of Kerry. You can have four seasons in one day. So plan your trip well.

There are several small hotels and Bed & Breakfasts along the route. It is wise to book these in advance, especially in the summer months. This prevents you from being told that everything is already full.

There are also various campsites for your tent, caravan or motorhome.

How to avoid crowds along the Ring of Kerry

This route is very popular. Especially with coaches that can cause traffic jams in the high season (July and August). Especially the road to the Skellig Islands it is often busy.

It is therefore useful to set out extra early (often with nice soft light). Also early in the season (May to mid-June) and late season (September and October) this route is more than worth it. And much quieter.

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