We began our Ring of Kerry driving tour in Killarney, from our hotel (Castlerosse Hotel and Golf Resort, right on the ring. See last week's blog post for reviews and photos of the hotel). As far as planning goes, I got some great advice at ringofkerry.com. You can also click here to download a free guidebook and map at theringofkerry.com, which is what we used when touring. A few quick tips: 1) Plan to have a nice full day to do this drive (some would argue that you need more than that to really explore the little towns along the way, and I agree, however if you were limited on time like we were, you can get a good sampling and drive the entire ring in a day). 2) Don't start super early in the morning, so that you avoid the morning tour traffic. We started around 10:00 am and didn't encounter any traffic despite going during a heavy travel month (August). 3) Drive the ring counter-clockwise (or anti-clockwise, as they say in Ireland). 4) Some of the roads are VERY narrow and many are winding. You may want to get acclimated to driving on the "other" side of the road and car before tackling this day of driving. 5) ENJOY IT! Drink it in. This was one of my favorite parts of Ireland. Magically beautiful!
Here is how we spent our day. Hope this helps to inspire your own Ring of Kerry journey!
Lunch at Bunker's. Free Wi-Fi (I think the only time we had Wi-Fi during our day on the ring... not that it's a bad thing), and good home cooking. My husband had a delicious burger, and I enjoyed a great pint of Guinness and the chicken curry.
Get used to beautiful green hills like this along the entire drive...
Beautiful beaches and views near Kells.
Caherciveen and Ballycarbery Castle
One of my favorite things in Ireland was exploring the ivy-covered ruins of Ballycarbery Castle.
Caherdaniel and Derrynane House
We stopped at the Scarriff Inn for a drink and to enjoy the view of Caherdaniel.
I thought it was funny that the sign for the inn had it's own disclaimer: "Ireland's Best Known View (Fog Permitting)"
The grounds of Derrynane House were enchanting. I just about expected to see a fairy or leprechaun pop out.
Surely, this is where the leprechauns live.
Like a fairy tale! The grounds of Derrynane House were enchanting.
Continuing the drive, a view on the south side of the ring.
Kenmare is the home stretch of the ring back towards Killarney. We had dinner at Mahony's, where we listened to some good live music (especially enjoyed the American transplant singer doing a slow rock cover of Fun.'s "We Are Young"). The hubs had bangers and mash, and I had a hearty and fresh beef casserole.
Left: Bangers and mash. Right: Beef casserole.
Once traffic got lighter in the evening, we had to watch for wandering sheep in the road.
We got to Ladies View just before sunset luckily!
Since the sun was down by the time we got back to our hotel in Killarney, we were fortunate that our hotel was near Ross Castle, Killarney National Park and Torc Waterfall so we could see those before he had to hit the road up to the Cliffs of Moher.
Easy and lovely hike to Torc Waterfall... just off the road so not difficult to access.
In Killarney you can check out this well-preserved castle and fortress.
I miss it already!