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Ring of Kerry: Your Ultimate Guide

Considering a Ring of Kerry tour? Step onboard! We know this popular route inside out.

By Derry

📍 Location: southwest corner of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way

📏 Length: 180km (112 miles)

😏 Best Bits: stunning beaches, wild mountain vistas, historic sites and the odd National Park

😒 Bad Bits: none!

🚐 Best Ring of Kerry Tour: 7 Day Driftwood Castles & Kingdoms Tour

So, What Is The Ring of Kerry?

Contrary to popular myth, the Ring of Kerry is not an actual ring that you can wear.

The Ring of Kerry is a popular touring route that circumnavigates the Iveragh peninsula in southwestern Ireland.
A map of the Ring of Kerry with its location marked in a smaller scale Ireland map

The Ring of Kerry is Ireland's most popular scenic tourist region for a reason!

Jaw-dropping natural scenery and historic attractions line this 180km (112 miles) long looped drive.

What's The Best Way To Tour The Ring of Kerry?

We are biased. But we recommend taking a Vagabond or Driftwood tour to get the best from the Ring of Kerry.

You'll stay firmly off the beaten path and away from all the traffic and queues.

Quick Links for Things To Do On The Ring of Kerry

🦌 Visit Killarney National Park

📸 Photo Stop at Ladies View

🌄 Drop By Kenmare

🛥️ Boat Trip To The Skellig Islands

🥾 Hike Valentia Island

🛡️ Jump Back In Time At Cahergal Ringfort

🌊 Golden Sands Of Derrynane

🦞 Best Food On The Ring of Kerry

Our VagaGuides Love The Ring of Kerry

We asked our amazing VagaGuides for their favourite Ring of Kerry spots:

VagaGuide DarranVagaGuide Darran says:

"Some of the best parts of the Ring of Kerry are very near to, but not actually on it: Aghadoe viewing point; Rossbeigh beach; Bray Head, Derrynane fairy trail, beach and Ogham stone; Loher fort and Parknasilla.


Ciara MyburghVagaGuide Tim says:

"Touring the Ring of Kerry in a car? We advise you to travel the route in a counter-clockwise direction because all large tour buses (though not ours!) must travel clockwise."


Jason Tour Guide Vagabond ToursVagaGuide Jason says:

"If you've done the Ring a few times before, don't go around it, go straight down the middle via the Ballaghisheen Pass. It's beautiful, quiet and off the beaten path; more of a scenic drive with optional hikes along the way."

Things to Do on the Ring of Kerry

There are endless things to do on the Ring of Kerry.

It's one of Ireland's most popular places for good reason. There are gorgeous landscapes to be explored and quaint villages and towns around every corner.

🦌 Visit Killarney National Park

See the magnificent Killarney National Park in style!

A Driftwood group on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Killarney National Park

Board a horse-drawn 'jaunting car'. Explore elegant Muckross House and Gardens. Wander medieval Muckross Abbey. Snap a selfie at the multi-tiered Torc Waterfall. A Vagabond guest meets a native red deer in Killarney National Park, Ireland You might even bump into the local herd of native red deer!

📸 Photo Stop at Ladies View

Another amazing spot on the Ring of Kerry is Ladies View. Gaze down over the idyllic lakes of Killarney from a mountaintop viewing area.

A group of Vagabond tour guests smile and point in different directions at Ladies View in Ireland

Ladies View is so-named because of Queen Victoria, no less. Her 19th century visit to Killarney included a stop-off here by her ladies-in-waiting.

🌄 Drop By Kenmare

Kenmare is lively little town at the base of the Ring of Kerry.

Enjoy amazing pubs, atmospheric hotels and some excellent dining options.

A stop here in Kenmare also offers you the perfect opportunity to catch authentic traditional Irish music performances in the many local bars.

A middle-aged couple face each other over a table while three younger traditional Irish musicians play in the background

There are great local restaurants in Kenmare to suit every budget.

And no visit to Kenmare is complete without a stroll around the various handmade local craft shops.

🛥️ The Skellig Islands

Don't miss the opportunity for an incredible boat trip to the Skellig Islands.

Depart from Portmagee, along the Ring of Kerry

These magical Atlantic islands have it all. They're a former Star Wars film set. An ancient monastic site. Not forgetting their status as one of only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ireland. Scenic view from Skellig Michael's beehive huts towards Little Skellig

Which Tours Visit The Skellig Islands?

If you're taking our 12 Day Vagabond Giant Irish Adventure Tour, you can land and explore the 1400 year old monastery site on Skellig Michael.

For the following Vagabond and Driftwood tours, you can take a boat trip around both islands.

This cruise includes uninhabited Little Skellig Island, one of the world's largest gannet colonies:

The ocean crossing to the Skellig Islands lasts approximately 60 minutes each way and can be rough. Sea legs are definitely required!

🥾 Valentia Island

Even landlubbers can explore Valentia Island!

It's accessible by road bridge, boasts incredible views of surrounding Kerry and full of fun activities.

Three female Vagabond tour guests jumping for joy on Bray Head in Ireland Hike out to Bray Head for a stunning oceanic panorama - next stop, America!

Where To Go On The Ring of Kerry

Now you know what everyone else does on the Ring of Kerry, where do Vagabond Tours go?!

We always focus on taking you less-visited, under-explored places.

It's all central to our responsible tourism mission.

🛡️ Cahergal Ringfort

Ireland is dotted with ancient stone ringforts. But you won't find many as well preserved as that near Cahirsiveen on the northern stretch of the Ring of Kerry. Group of Vagabond tour passengers posing on Cahergal stone fort walls Imagine yourself an early medieval warrior as you walk into the circular stone walls of this impressive structure.

🌊 Derrynane

Beautiful Derrynane is home to Derrynane House.

This was the historic home to one of Ireland’s greatest figures, Daniel O’Connell. Vagabond tour group posing in the sunshine at Derrynane beach in Ireland

Explore the lush native oak forest on the grounds and follow the fairy trail.

Learn the story of ‘The Liberator’ in the small museum inside.

Or simply ramble over nearby dunes to the golden sands of Derrynane beach where we'd highly recommend a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

🦞 Best Food On The Ring of Kerry

The Moorings

Portmagee is a quaint little village on the Ring of Kerry. Embark for the Skelligs from Portmagee.

Or cross the bridge to Valentia Island. Two smiling Vagabond passengers shake hands in front of a specials board at The Moorings restaurant and bar in Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland But whatever you do, dont forget to tuck into some fresh seafood and a creamy pint of Guinness at The Moorings. Watch out for the Star Wars paraphernalia behind the bar. This is where Mark Hamill and friends stayed while filming The Last Jedi on the Skellig Islands.

Avoca Moll's Gap

Enjoy your cappuccino with a stunning view of the mountains at the most spectacularly-sited outlet of this Irish café-cum-lifestyle chain. Salad at Avoca café in Ireland Take your choice from delicious baked goods, fresh soups, snacks, salads and full hot lunches.

🍦 Sweet Tooth?

Lip-smacking is guaranteed at Valentia Ice Cream, made with milk from a local, grass-fed pedigree herd.

Chocolate selection from Skellig Chocolate Factory

And if you really have a sweet tooth, get ready to fall in love at the Skellig Chocolate Factory.

Did you enjoy our Ring of Kerry guide?

Let us know if you have any questions!

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