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Overview

The Ring of Kerry is Ireland's most famous scenic drive. Following a circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, it affords spectacular views of the rocky coastline and rugged mountains in this southwest corner of the island. The main route is about 111 miles (179 km) without detours. Along the way are Iron Age forts and prehistoric sites, traditional villages, beautiful beaches and opportunities for numerous outdoor activities. Since tour buses must drive the route in a counter-clockwise direction, drivers are advised to travel clockwise around the Ring to avoid delays on the narrow road.

A good starting point ...

The Ring of Kerry is Ireland's most famous scenic drive. Following a circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, it affords spectacular views of the rocky coastline and rugged mountains in this southwest corner of the island. The main route is about 111 miles (179 km) without detours. Along the way are Iron Age forts and prehistoric sites, traditional villages, beautiful beaches and opportunities for numerous outdoor activities. Since tour buses must drive the route in a counter-clockwise direction, drivers are advised to travel clockwise around the Ring to avoid delays on the narrow road.

A good starting point is Kenmare, a picturesque town with an antique lace design center. Other notable villages include pretty Sneem, Cahersiveen with its heritage center and nearby stone circles, Killorglin with its famous Puck Fair, and Glenbeigh with the Kerry Bog Village Museum and a beautiful dune-backed beach at Rossbeigh. The circular, stone Staigue Fort is one of the country's finest Iron Age sites. From Portmagee and Valentia Island there are boat trips to the Skelligs, three conical rock islands once inhabited by early Christian monks and now a seabird haven.

Donna Dailey
About the Expert

Donna Dailey is the author of Thomas Cook’s Ireland driving guide, coauthor of DK’s Back Roads Ireland and several other titles, as well as the author of Thomas Cook’s HotSpots Costa Blanca and a contributor to AA Publishing’s Key Guide Spain.

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Donna Dailey for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Ring of Kerry is a 179-km-long circular tourist route in County Kerry, south-western Ireland.
  • Language: Irish Gaelic, English
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, and fall, or August for the Killorglin Puck Fair