Located in south western Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is home to many historical landmarks, ranging from a 7th century monastery to the home of Daniel O’Connell, an influential Irish politician of the 19th century. This 179km circular route takes travellers around seaside villages and stunning coastal landscapes. And what better way to truly admire the nature this area has to offer than taking a road trip? If you don't know what to do, then you came to the right place to find an itinerary for your Ireland road trip.
Before you plan your trip:
- Grab a map or a road trip app, it’s always convenient to have something to rely on in case you get lost!
- Check the weather before you head out- Ireland isn’t the sunniest place on Earth, and is known for its (many) rainy days. To make the most of your road trip, try to plan it out during seasons or days with little rain, usually between the months of May - September!
- Be sure to check the driving rules and regulations in Ireland if you're unfamiliar with them, before you start your road trip!
- And of course, look for a vehicle for your trip. Goboony offers a great selection of motorhome hire in Ireland.
Day 1: Killarney
- Located on the shores of Lough Leane, this town is the place to kick off your Ring of Kerry Tour. Despite its smaller size, this town has many sites to offer visitors. Start out by taking a leap back to the mid 19th century at Saint Mary's Cathedral, which boasts of beautiful (restored) gothic architecture.
- Colourful buildings clutter the streets of the town, so be sure to take some time to explore the city! If you're feeling a little hungry, then you can always grab a quick bite at one of the many cafes in the area.
- Afterwards, step back even further in time, by visiting Ross Castle, a 15th century tower house. The tower lies near the shores of Lough Leane, so afterwards you can take a boat tour of the stunning lake.
- Both the castle and Lough Leane are situated below Killarney National Park, so you can always take a stroll through the green lands of the park.
- In the evening, be sure to dine at Bricín Restaurant and Boxty House, a classic Irish restaurant. With the antique lamps and stained glass windows that decorate the restaurant, you'll be able to properly appreciate the delightful Irish culture.
Staying at: Fossa Caravan and Camping Park
This family run campsite is just 10 minutes away from Killarney, and is a short stroll from the shores of Lough Leane, so you can always wake up early to watch the sunrise reflected on the beautiful water.
Price: £11.63 - £15.20 per night, depending on the season.
Location: 52°04'14.9"N 9°35'04.3"W
Day 2: Drive to Caherdaniel
- Start driving along the N71, and you'll find yourself passing by many attractions on the way. About 23 minutes away from the campsite, you'll find yourself at Muckross House, a 19th century mansion with working farms. The interior is still fully furnished, giving you a glimpse of what a luxurious life in the 19th century looked like.
- The next stop on your Ring of Kerry road trip is Torc Waterfall, which is roughly 10 minutes down N71. The 20 metre high waterfall lies at the base of Torc Mountain, which you can climb if you're feeling adventurous.
- If you're looking for an easier way to see beautiful sights, drive down to Ladies View. Here, you'll see unforgettable perspectives of the luscious green hills of the area.
- Afterwards, continue along N70 for roughly 1 hour to reach Caherdaniel.
- If you want to take a break to stretch your legs, stop by Staigue Stone Fort, the remains of a fort built in the Iron Age, from 300 - 400 AD.
- For dinner, visit O'Carroll's Cove Beach Bar and Restaurant. Situated next to the beautiful shores of Castle Cove beach, you can enjoy some delicious food while admiring the beautiful colours of the sunset reflected on the vast ocean waters.
Staying at: Glenbeg Caravan Park
Conveniently situated a short walk away from O'Carroll's, this campsite offers you the opportunity to park your motorhome in a spot where you can look out to the stunning waters of the Atlantic Ocean. You can even walk down to the Castle Cove beach for a nice early morning swim!
Price: £25 per night for a motorhome
Location: 51°45'33.2"N 10°04'52.5"W
Day 3: Drive to Valentia Island
- Drive along N70 for roughly 6 minutes, and you will find yourself at the Caherdaniel Stone fort which is believed to date back to 600 AD. Unfortunately, these ruins are situated on private land, but a small track nearby can provide visitors with a view of the ruins.
- A short 2 minute drive from the ruins is Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell, an influential Irish politician of the 19th century. The rooms in the house are presented as they were utilised in the 19th century. Outdoors, the gardens of the house provide visitors with beautiful views of the nearby coastline.
- If the water looks inviting, then the Derrynane Beach (one of the cleanest beaches in the world!) is a short 8 minute walk away. If the tide is low enough, you can cross a designated sand bridge to Abbey Island, where you can find the ruins of Derrynane Abbey, which was believed to have been built in the 6th century.
- Afterwards, drive for about 50 minutes to reach Valentia Island.
- In the evening, enjoy some delicious seafood prepared at Fisherman's Bar and Skellig Restaurant. Here, you'll meet people from many different countries, but still enjoy a traditional Irish setting.
Staying at: Valentia Island Caravan and Camping
This family friendly site is situated 400 metres from the quaint Knightstown village. Many attractions are just a short drive away, making this the perfect place to rest at.
Price: £24.86 per night for 1 unit, 2 adults, and 2 children.
Location: 51°55'19.6"N 10°17'47.2"W
Day 4: Driving to Cahersiveen
- Start off your day by taking a hike along the stunning Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs, which is also the highest point of Valentia Island! These cliffs provide visitors with stunning 360 degree views of the island coast and ocean.
- If you're travelling sometime between May and September, be sure to visit the Skellig Islands, where you can observe a well preserved Christian monastery (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This stop should be at the top of your itinerary for your Ring of Kerry road trip, so be sure to book the tour on the Skellig Islands website.
- If the weather isn't suitable for a boat ride, then drive out to the Telegraph Field Valentia Island, where you can learn more about the history of the telegraph while admiring a spectacular view of the Atlantic.
- Should you wish to see more of the ocean, drop by the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee for more unforgettable sights. Afterwards, drive for roughly 25 minutes, where you will arrive at Cahersiveen.
- In the evening, stop by Eva's Bar and Restaurant and B&B for some delicious seafood and a great atmosphere. Visitors rave about the fish and chips at the restaurant, so be sure to give those a try!
Staying at: Mannix Point Camping and Caravan Park
This tranquil park lies 500 meters of the waterfront. Its surrounded by hills and mountains, and faces of the Atlantic islands of Valentis and Beginish. The well facilitated campsite has won 15 awards (both national and international), making it a must-visit spot!
Price: £26.83 per night for 1 unit, 2 adults, and 2 children.
Location: 51°56'33.9"N 10°14'36.5"W
Day 5: Driving to Curraheen Little
- Head back on the N70 for 4 minutes, and you'll find the Old Abbey of the Holy Cross. Interestingly enough, the church never had a steeple because of a law placed between 1695-1829 that prohibited any Catholic Church to have a steeple or bell.
- Just a short walk away, you can find the Old Barracks of Cahersiveen, where you can learn more about the 1867 uprising.
- To get to the next stop of the day, cross over the bridge next to the old barracks and drive for roughly 3 minutes, you'll find yourself at Ballycarbery Castle, which dates back to the 16th century. The castle was attacked in the War of the Three Kingdoms, making it an interesting addition to your Ireland road trip.
- Head back to Cahersiveen and continue driving on N70, and you'll find yourself at the birthplace of Daniel O'Connell. Although the ruins are rather small, visitors enjoy taking a walk through the surrounding garden.
- 10 minutes up the road, you'll arrive at Kells, an old fishing village, where you can visit the blue waters of Kells Bay, and admire the surrounding hills.
- Continue along the N70 for 15 minutes to reach Curraheen Little.
- In the evening, be sure to visit Rosspoint Bar and Restaurant, situated on Rossbeigh beach. The stone architecture will take you back in time, while still enjoying a warm meal.
Staying at: Glenross Caravan and Camping Park
This seaside campsite is situated a few minutes away from Glenbeigh Village, a quaint village close to the oceanside. Like most of the previous campsites, a beach is located just a short drive away, making this the perfect site if you’re hoping to enjoy the cool ocean water!
Price: £28.62 - £30.41 per night for 1 unit, 2 adults, and 2 children. The price varies according to the season.
Location: 52°03'31.3"N 9°55'54.7"W
Day 6: Driving back to Killarney
- Start off your day by heading back on the N70 to see the Glenbeigh Towers Castle. Wynn's castle was built in 1867, and was used by British Military Command during World War 1.
- If the blue waters of the North Atlantic Ocean look inviting, then head to Burke's Beach Riding, where you can go horseback riding along the beach!
- Should you wish to have the ultimate Irish experience during your Ring of Kerry road trip, then head down N70 once more to the Kerry Bog Village. Here, houses are fully furnished with authentic antiques, and thatched as they were in the 19th century, allowing visitors to learn more about life in 19th century Ireland.
- Wrap up your Ring of Kerry tour by visiting the Easter Rising memorial in Castleconway, before heading back to Killarney.
- At night, dine at Treyvaud's Restaurant, a family run restaurant with a Modern Irish and international menu. Regular evening events are hosted, so be sure to call and book ahead!
Staying at: Killarney Flesk and Caravan and Camping
If you can't get enough of the Killarney National Park, then this is the place to stay! This campsite has a bike and cycling path that leads directly to the Park, giving you a chance to explore more of the local nature!
Price: £30.85- £31.75 per night for 1 unit, 2 adults, and 2 children
Location: 52°02'35.2"N 9°29'57.5"W
So what are you waiting for? The Emerald Isle awaits you, a place of myths, fairytales and delicious guinness… Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable Ireland road trip. No vehicle? No problem! You can rent a motorhome from Goboony in just a few clicks!