Our Fav Things To See And Do On A Road Trip Around The Ring of Kerry

Staycashe, anyone?

Photo by Chase R. Smith / Pexels

When people think of Ireland, they automatically think of luscious green landscapes and a dainty little pub serving Irish stew and Guinness. When it comes to the Ring of Kerry, well… they are not far wrong. The ring boasts many beautiful and rugged coastlines as well as rolling hills and seaside villages.

The best way to discover the hidden gems of southwest Kerry is of course by car. Yes, the winding narrow roads can be just a little daunting, but the views are so worth it.

However, if you are a weary driver and Google Maps offers to cut half an hour of your journey by venturing over the Bealach Oisín, we would advise skipping.

Whether you have come from further afield or are searching for an exciting staycation in the kingdom, we have put together a guide so you don’t miss out on what the Ring Of Kerry has to offer.

Where to stay

To start, whether you are going for boujie or a budget there is a wide range of accommodation options to suit everyone.

If you are looking for a bit of luxury to begin your road trip why not try the Dunloe Hotel and Gardens? The Dunloe is a sister hotel to the well-known Europe Hotel just a few miles away. This 5-star accommodation boasts stunning views of the famous Gap of Dunloe.

If you are keeping to a budget to save more money for adventuring, The Black Sheep Hostel and Neptune’s Hostel near Killarney town Centre have you covered.

If you would prefer to stay somewhere more rural on the ring why not try one of the many caravan parks along the coast? The Glenross Caravan Park in Glenbeigh is ideal for families and groups alike and is just a stone’s throw away from the Beautiful Rossbeigh beach.

What to do

After traveling approximately 30 minutes and beginning to believe you have truly mastered the windy Kerry roads (just you wait) you should stumble upon the mountain pass called Molls gap. With the N71 road running through it this scenic mountainous route connects the towns of Killarney and Kenmare.

Once you approach a very dangerous bend in the road there is a carpark where you can park up and (applaud yourself for making it this far) enjoy the view. The popular Avoca cafe is also nearby where you can enjoy a coffee before setting off again.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ireland (@tourismireland)

If you are the history buff of the group, Derrynanne House is sure to pique your interest. Located about an hour from Killarney this stately home was once home to the Irish politician Daniel O’Connell often hailed the Liberator for his role in the Catholic Emancipation. The home is steeped in history and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Of course, the famous Skellig Michael is a must-do whilst you are traveling down south. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once home to the monks of St. Fionan’s Monastery before the 13th century, it now welcomes tourists from far far away to climb the ancient steps to the monastery. There are two tour options: the eco boat tour which sails around the Skellig and the landing tour which allows you to climb the same 618 steps that the monks did once upon a time.

If all this exploring leaves you a bit thirsty and you have already attempted to split the G, then it’s time to venture into South Kerry’s newest distillery. Skelligsix18 distillery and visitor experience is located in the town of Cahersiveen. Skelligsix18 produces both gin and whiskey and is a must-do for the cheeky gin fizz or old-fashioned lovers.

Finally, if you are a bit stiff after the drive and in need of a little wellness check why not take the plunge into the wild Atlantic Ocean followed by a sauna session? Skellig Sauna located in three beach locations in south Kerry allows visitors and locals alike to enjoy the benefits of a beachside sauna. The soulful wood-fired sauna called Samradh’s Sauna, in Cromane, is another option along the ring. These saunas are very popular in the summer months so be sure to book your slot in advance to avoid disappointment.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @skelligsauna

Where to eat

One of the most important aspects of any road trip is of course the food, and let me tell you, you will not be disappointed. If you are a fish lover, then the Smugglers Inn located just outside the seaside village of Waterville is a must-visit. The restaurant is situated right next to the Golf Links beach and also has the option for dome dining to take in the breathtaking views even more.

If you are more of a sweet tooth the Strawberry Field in Kenmare is ready to whip up some tasty pancakes. This cute little pancake cottage in the Kerry mountains is perfectly Instagrammable.

Now that you have road-tripped your way back to Killarney it’s time to explore the town’s culinary delights. Killarney is jam-packed with restaurants and cafes with JM Reidy’s being one of the most popular. This authentic sweetshop pub serves delicious dishes and cocktails and has plenty of live music to keep you entertained.

Whether you are short on time and finish the ring in one day, or if you make a proper road trip and find all the hidden gems along the Wild Atlantic way, you are sure to make some core memories and snap some fantastic photos whilst exploring the ROK.

Words by Olivia O’Dwyer