One of the most popular coastal routes for its stunning scenery is the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. The drive can be done in a day through the miles of green and colourful towns along rugged Irish coastline, it’s not surprising it’s a trip on many people’s bucket list.

Just a short drive from Cork, the Ring of Kerry is the perfect trip for anyone exploring the Southwest corner of Ireland. During the summer months, this route can be a busy one and it is recommended that cars drive in an anticlockwise direction around the ring.

In total, the ring of Kerry spans 120miles, some of which is on the Wild Atlantic Way. It will take at least four hours around the ring(if you choose not to stop). Or if you are us 8 hours as we simply couldn’t resist stopping for a photo.

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A Complete Guide to the Ring of Kerry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

  • Planning your trip to the Ring of Kerry
  • What is the Ring of Kerry?
  • Ring of Kerry Overview
  • Tips for Visiting the Ring of Kerry
  • Things to do on the Ring of Kerry
  • Before you leave for …
ring of kerry

Planning your trip to the Ring of Kerry

  • Best luxury hotel in
  • Best mid-range hotel in
  • Best budget hotel in
  • Best beachfront
  • Closest to top attractions
  • Best for city centre 
  • Best hostel

What is the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry, one of Ireland’s most iconic road trips. Covering a distance of approximately 179 kilometers, this picturesque route winds through towering mountains, coastal villages, and stunning landscapes. Starting and ending in Killarney, the ring typically takes a minimum of 3-4 hours to complete but can be extended to several days allowing you to soak in all the beauty it has to offer. Along the way, you can expect to witness breathtaking views and natural attractions like Muckross House and Gardens, Torc Waterfall, and Skellig Michael. The Ring of Kerry is a perfect adventure for a road trip, a camping trip, a bus tour or even a cycling trip.


Ring of Kerry Overview

  • Starts/ends – Kilarney
  • Distance – 179km
  • Time to complete 3-4 hours

Popular for: 

  • The incredible scenery
  • Ring of Kerry Cycling
  • Ring of Kerry Hiking 
  • Ring of Kerry Camping 

Ring of Kerry Tips

  1. Take your time. There is so much to see on the Ring of Kerry so we would advise you spend at least a couple of days in this area to enjoy all that there is to see. 
  2. If you can travel in the off season, you will be less likely to be met with crowds. The Ring of Kerry is one of the busiest areas on the Wild Atlantic Way and can be particularly busy during peak season. 
  3. Pack for all weather. Even in the summer you can find yourself getting caught out in a rain shower on the Ring of Kerry. You will also want to cover up when the midges are out during the summer months! 
kerry cliffs

Things to do on the Ring of Kerry 

Caragh Lake (Lough Caragh)

A peaceful drive around an expanse of water surrounded by mountains and heather which is popular for salmon fishing due to the freshwater. Lough Caragh is also a popular place to go wild swimming on the Wild Atlantic Way as it is surrounded by stunning views including Robert’s Island and Illaunbuddoga. There are some great walks around here including the Caragh Lake Trail which is a short yet strenuous walk. If you fancy climbing higher to see some of the best views, try out the Mountain Spur Trail.

Rossbeigh Beach

A blue flag 7km white sandy beach surrounded by sand dunes sits just beyond Glenbeigh. This is another great beach for some wild swimming on the Wild Atlantic Way and there is plenty of parking at the south end of the beach that is a close walk to the water which is ideal if you are planning on carrying surfboards (Rossbeigh Beach is known as one of the best beaches for surfing in Ireland) or kayaks to the water. There are toilets here and some take away food stalls.

Ballycarberry Castle

Situated near the water’s edge lie the remains of Ballycarbery Castle which stands as a majestic testament to Ireland’s rich history. This ancient ruin, dating back to the 16th century, evokes a sense of mystery and awe and overlooks the stunning Irish coastline. The weathered stone walls and crumbling towers provide a glimpse into the castle’s past however this land is private and you are unable to enter. It is nice to stop by in the car park and admire from afar though.

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Portmagee is a small village on the Ring of Kerry. The village is located on the Iveragh peninsula south of Valentia Island. We stopped off in this small fishing village for some lunch. The multi-coloured houses brightened up the dull weather that we had at this point on the drive. There were a few cafes and pubs here as well which is perfect for a lunch time break.


Kerry Cliffs

The most incredible site on this drive has to be the Kerry Cliffs which stand over 1000ft above the sea below. There are signs off the road directing you to “Kerry’s most spectacular cliffs” and it is 5 euros per person entry. The views are absolutely stunning across the cliffs so we definitely recommend making this a stop off on your trip. It can be very cold and windy on the cliffs though so I would recommend wrapping up!



Skelligs Chocolate Factory

One stop we definitely recommend is the Skelligs Chocolate Factory for your refreshment break on the trip. They give out free tasters of the majority of their chocolates which taste amazing. If you’re interested you can also watch the chocolate being produced in their factory.

We took a break in the café and got a hot chocolate and rocky road. They have a selection of hot chocolates and cakes to choose from.


Unfortunately we started rushing for time at this point and only managed a drive through this small town. It is situated right on the coast and you pass some beautiful houses overlooking the sea. On the drive up the hill after Waterville there is another stunning photo opportunity.

Killarney National Park

Located just south of Kilarney is the county’s National Park. The drive through the rugged mountains combined with the woods, waterfalls and lakes makes it a breath-taking drive. The highest mountain sits above 1000 metres above ground level. We stopped at 3 points in the park.

Ladies View

There is parking available to allow you to get out of your car and capture some of the magnificent scenery of the lakes below.

Muckross Lake

This was an unexpected short stop that we couldn’t resist. The still lake surrounded by the mountains was so peaceful for a quick break and photo stop. The only downfall was the number of midgie bites we got whilst sitting here.


Torc Waterfall

Being fond lovers of google maps and using it daily to get around we decided to ignore the first sign for Torc waterfall and continue to follow where maps was taking us. We arrived at the top of a hill and had to walk about 20 minutes down a muddy path to get to the waterfall. The first sign may have been a shortcut but I guess we’ll never know.

How to Prepare for your Trip to Kerry

Before you set off on your way to Kerry, there are a number of things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. These include what to pack, where to stay and what is the best insurance for your trip to Ireland. All of this is discussed in detail below.


Where to Stay in Kerry

There is a wide range of accommodations available in Kerry, so you will not be short on options. Here are our top suggestions for the best places to stay in Kerry for any budget.

Luxury –The Marker Hotel is a Leading Hotel in the World and one of the most luxurious in Dublin. Located in Grand Canal Square, this hotel features a ground-floor cocktail bar & brasserie, a spa, and a state-of-the-art gym. There is also a 23 m infinity pool, sauna, and steam room. All rooms have free wifi, air conditioning, and a 40-inch LED TV.

Book your stay at the The Marker Hotel – A Leading Hotel of the World here.

Mid-Range –Belvedere Hotel Parnell Square is a beautiful hotel located in the city centre of Dublin. The bedrooms are spacious with free wifi and an elegant en-suite bathroom. The hotel has a restaurant serving breakfast and an evening menu and the lounge hosts an Irish night that features traditional Irish music, dancing, and food.

Book your stay at Belvedere Hotel Parnell Square here.

Budget – Hazelbrook Lodge is located in the city centre of Dublin, a 15 minute walk from the famous Temple Bar. There is a communal living room and free wifi.

Book your stay at the Hazelbrook Lodge here.

ring of kerry

What to Pack for Your Trip to Kerry

When it comes to packing for a trip to Kerry there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Kerry on average 202 days a year, meaning that during your trip to Kerry, you can expect rain at some point. Due to this, the number one item on your packing list is a good waterproof jacket.

Second to that, another item to not leave home without is a good pair of warm and, if possible, waterproof boots. You will find yourself doing a lot of walking in Kerry.

You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the winter months as the wind chill can be bitter.

For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here.

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around Kerry, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

Photography Equipment

Main Photography CameraSony A7v Mirrorless Camera and  Sony A7iii Mirrorless Camera

MicrophoneShure VP83 Condenser Shotgun Microphone

Main LensTamron 17-28mm f/2.8

Zoom LensTamron 70-180mm f/2.8

Camera TripodZOMEI Z669C Camera Tripod

Gorilla PodJOBY JB01507-BWW GorillaPod

Action CameraGoPro Hero 9 Black and Insta 360 One RS

Drone CameraDJI Mavic Pro 3

Camera BagWandrd PRVKE 41L and The Nest by Tropicfeel

Phone TripodManfrotto MKPIXICLAMP-BK, Mini Tripod with Universal Smartphone Clamp

Sturdy Phone Tripod & Selfie StickATUMTEK 61″ Selfie Stick Tripod, Sturdy Phone Tripod Stand with Wireless Remote

Hard DrivesLaCie Rugged Mini, 5TB, 2.5″, Portable External Hard Drive

SSDSanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB Portable NVMe SSD

Travel AdapterWorldwide Travel Adapter Universal Travel Plug with 4 USB Ports+Universal AC Socket

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Kerry

I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered!

kerry cliffs

So there you have it, a complete guide to visiting the Ring of Kerry. If you have visited this part of Ireland before, let us know what you thought of the sights listed above, or if you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below.

Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience visiting this beautiful part of Ireland.

If you are planning an Ireland trip soon then check out our other Ireland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your stay and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.

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What to Pack for the Ring of Kerry

  • I would recommend you bring some warm clothing with you as some of the stop off’s can be pretty chilly, especially the cliffs!
  • Wear a pair of good comfortable walking shoes such as boots or trainers.
  • Bring a camera as you’ll be wanting to capture some of the amazing scenery.
  • A battery pack or car charger just in case your camera or maps device runs out of charge.
  • And of course, bring some water with you in your reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Ring of Kerry Itinerary

With a full day on the road, you will want to make sure you are making the most of your time. Here is a summary of the 12 stops we made:

Carragh Lake

A peaceful drive around an expanse of water surrounded by mountains and heather. We pulled the car over beside a bridge to snap a photo as we didn’t come across any parking spots.

Carragh Lake
Peaceful waters of Carragh Lake
Rossbeigh Beach
Rossbeigh Beach.

Planning your own Irish Adventure? Check out the campsites we used to explore the famous emerald isle.

Ballycarberry Castle
The ancient ruins of Ballycarberry Castle.
Kerry Cliffs
Kerry Cliff’s spectacular views.
Hot Chocolate
The perfect refreshment on a windy, Irish day!
Ladies View
Ladies View.
Muckross Lake
Muckross Lake.

Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall
Torc Waterfall.

General Tips for the Road

Plan out where you want to go and what you want to see. We’re glad we did this as it would have taken us a lot longer to drive around. We also didn’t this it was greatly sign posted, but then maybe we were too distracted by the pretty scenery to notice.

Use google maps or a Satnav. Unless you’re going to Torc waterfall you could find out if that first sign is a shortcut! We would have got very lost along the route if it wasn’t for using maps.

The Ring of Kerry was one of the most memorable trips we have done together, even with the grey skies the beauty is incredible! Make sure this is included in your next trip to Ireland.

If you liked this article, tell us all about your own Kerry Adventure in the comments below. Check out our other posts on our Irish adventures here too. Also catch up with us on social media and make sure you say hello!

This article may contain affiliate links that provide us with a small income. For more information read our Affiliate page.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Laura Bailey

    Been there, done that! Fell in love with Ireland and the people I met. I cried like a baby when we left.

  2. Campbell

    Simply stunning, isn’t it?! We are counting the days till we go back haha! ?

  3. Charlotte and David

    Wow, looks so beautiful! It wasn’t on our bucket list before, but it definitely is now!

    1. Campbell

      Absolutely! Have you visited Ireland before?

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