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Ring of Kerry Road Trip: 10 Must-See Stops

Ring of Kerry Road Trip: 10 Must-See Stops

Located on the southwest coast of Ireland on the Iveragh (pronounced EE-ver-ah) Peninsula in County Kerry, the 111-mile (179-km) Ring of Kerry scenic loop offers postcard-worthy views of the areas green rolling hills, charming villages, rugged coastline, castle ruins, and ancient stone forts, making it one of the most scenic drives in all of Ireland, and some would even say in all of Europe! We had the pleasure of experiencing the Ring of Kerry and want to share what we think are the top 10 must-see stops along with some valuable tips and insights to help you make the most of your road trip along the Ring of Kerry. And if you would like a closer look at our experience, be sure to check out our “Driving the Ring of Kerry in a Day” vlog on our YouTube channel!


Quick Tips:

  1. Start Early: Begin your journey early in the day to avoid the crowds and tour buses. This allows you to enjoy the scenery without heavy traffic and gives you more time to stop at viewpoints.

  2. Fuel Up: Service stations along the Ring of Kerry are limited, so it’s a good idea to fuel up your vehicle (and yourself) before starting your drive.

  3. Drive on the Left: Remember, in Ireland, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road.

  4. Drive Slowly and Safely: The roads can be very narrow and winding at times, so drive cautiously, especially around the bends, and be considerate to other drivers. Remember, this is a public road used for local commuting, so if you notice traffic backing up behind you, use the closest pull-off area to safely pull over and let traffic pass.

  5. Drive Clockwise: Most of the charter bus tours drive the Ring of Kerry counter-clockwise, so by driving clockwise, you’ll not only avoid getting stuck behind some of these larger tours, but you’ll also be driving on the left side of the road which gives you more unobstructed views of the coastline and easier access to pull-off points.

  6. Plan Stops in Advance: If you’re reading this blog, that’s a good sign that you've already got this one covered, but researching and planning your stops in advance is key to making the most of your time on the Ring of Kerry

  7. Take Your Time: While the 111-mile (179-km) drive itself can be done in as little as 3.5 hours, you would be missing the entire point of this drive if you did so. That said, we recommend planning for at LEAST one FULL day (10-12 hours) for this adventure.


If driving the Ring of Kerry yourself sounds a bit intimidating, that’s ok! There are lots of great tour options that will allow you to take in the sights along the scenic route without the stress. Or if you’re looking for other unique and memorable experiences along the Ring of Kerry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some tours that we recommend…


If you have more time and want to split your drive into two or even three days and are in need of accommodations, then here are some that we recommend…

In/Near the town of Kenmare:

In/Near the town of Sneem:

In/Near the town of Waterville:

In/Near the town of Killorglin:

And if you do have more time to explore the Ring of Kerry, check out our map below for even more stops along the route!

*The red location markers indicate stops that are part of the 10 must-see stops mentioned in this blog


But now, let’s get into what we think are 10 of the must-see stops on the Ring of Kerry!

1. Ross Castle (52.0412° N, 9.5314° W; 7-min. drive from Killarney)

Ross Castle is a picturesque fortress situated on the shores of Lough Leane, one of the lakes within Killarney National Park. This iconic tower house dates back to the 15th century and stands as a testament to Ireland's medieval history. Its rugged stone walls and looming turrets create a striking silhouette against the serene backdrop of the lake and lush greenery. Visitors can explore its interior, discovering the furnished rooms that offer a glimpse into the castle's past.

Ross Castle, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

2. Muckross Abbey (52.0262° N, 9.4948° W; 19-min. Drive from Ross Castle)

Muckross Abbey is a historic and atmospheric monastery with a rich heritage dating back to 1448. Surrounded by a serene landscape, this well-preserved ruin stands as a testament to Ireland's religious and cultural history. The abbey, initially built as a Franciscan friary, features stunning Gothic architecture, including a central courtyard surrounded by a cloister. The intricate stonework, arches, and ancient yew tree in the courtyard create an ambiance of tranquility and antiquity. Visitors can explore its atmospheric ruins, walk among the cloisters, and observe the striking tombs and stone carvings that adorn the site. The abbey's peaceful surroundings, nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Killarney National Park, offer a serene setting for contemplation and appreciation of Ireland's past.

Parking for Muckross Abbey is located HERE. From the parking lot, it’s a short and easy walk to the Abbey.

Muckross Abbey, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

3. Muckross House & Gardens (52.0181° N, 9.5041° W; 8-min. drive from

Muckross Abbey)

Built in the 19th century, Muckross House boasts remarkable architecture and historical significance. The house itself showcases elegant interiors, period furnishings, and captivating artifacts, offering visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Victorian upper class. Muckross House is complemented by its extensive and meticulously landscaped gardens. These gardens are divided into different sections, such as the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden, and the Walled Garden, each showcasing a diverse array of plants, flowers, and pathways that create a picturesque setting. Additionally, Muckross Traditional Farms, located nearby, provides an authentic experience of rural life in 1930s Ireland, featuring traditional farming methods, dwellings, and live demonstrations. Overall, Muckross House and Gardens stands as a captivating historical landmark within a stunning natural setting, offering visitors a rich cultural experience and a chance to immerse themselves in Ireland's history and natural beauty.

Muckross House and Gardens, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

4. Torc Waterfall (52.0022° N, 9.5064° W; 19-min. drive from Muckross House)

Nestled in the heart of Killarney National Park, Torc Waterfall is one of the most enchanting and accessible waterfalls in the country, drawing visitors with its serene beauty and lush surroundings. The waterfall cascades gracefully over rocks, descending approximately 66 feet (20 meters) into the shallow pool below, creating a mesmerizing sight and a tranquil atmosphere. The name "Torc" is derived from an Irish word meaning "wild boar," adding a touch of folklore to this stunning natural attraction.

There are a few ways to get to Torc Waterfall, but the one that is the most time efficient and involves the least amount of walking is parking HERE and making the short 5-minute walk to the waterfall.

Torc Waterfall, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

5. Ladies View (51.9672° N, 9.5930° W; 25-min. drive from Torc Waterfall)

This stunning viewpoint offers panoramic vistas of the picturesque Killarney National Park, with its lush greenery, pristine lakes, and dramatic mountain ranges. Aside from the captivating views, there's a nearby café where visitors can relax, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the view while savoring traditional Irish hospitality.

Ladies View, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

6. Kenmare Village (51.8801° N, 9.5835° W; 20-minute drive from Ladies View)

Kenmare Village is a picturesque town that exudes an old-world charm with its colorful buildings, cobbled streets, and stunning natural surroundings. Kenmare boasts a vibrant atmosphere with a variety of boutique shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants lining its streets. Visitors can explore historic landmarks like the Holy Cross Church, dating back to the 19th century, Cromwell’s Bridge, and the iconic Kenmare Stone Circle, a fascinating ancient site that hints at the area's distant past.

Kenmare Village, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

7. Staigue Stone Fort (51.8051° N, 10.0155° W; 1-hour drive from Kenmare


Dating back to the late Iron Age (probably somewhere between 300 and 400 AD), this circular stone fort stands as a testament to Ireland's rich history and craftsmanship. Built without the use of mortar, the fort's construction consists of dry-stacked stones, forming massive walls that reach up to 16 feet (5 meters) in height and 13 feet (4 meters) in thickness. Its circular design measures about 88 feet (27 meters) in diameter, with a complex series of inner chambers and stairways within the walls, suggesting its use for defensive and residential purposes. While the exact purpose of Staigue Stone Fort remains a subject of debate among historians, its well-preserved state and imposing presence make it a fascinating destination for tourists and history enthusiasts exploring the ancient sites along the Ring of Kerry.

Staigue Stone Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

8. Derrynane Beach (51.7598° N, 10.1374° W; 23-min. drive from Staigue Stone


This picturesque beach is a part of the larger Derrynane National Historic Park, encompassing diverse landscapes including sandy shores, dunes, and lush vegetation. The beach itself offers visitors a serene and tranquil atmosphere, with soft golden sands framed by crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Its sheltered location makes it an ideal spot for various activities, including swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and leisurely walks along the shore. Beyond its scenic allure, Derrynane Beach holds historical importance as the former home of Daniel O'Connell, a prominent figure in Irish history. The nearby Derrynane House, once owned by O'Connell, stands as a museum showcasing his life and legacy, adding a cultural dimension to the area's appeal.

Derrynane Beach, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

9. Kerry Cliffs (51.8685° N, 10.3855° W; 1-hour drive from Derrynane Beach)

While these cliffs aren’t officially part of the Ring of Kerry, the Kerry Cliffs are located on an extension to the Ring of Kerry loop called the Skellig Ring which is more than worth the extra 20 miles (32 km). These dramatic cliffs rise steeply from the sea, reaching heights of up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) above the crashing waves below. Visitors to the Kerry Cliffs are treated to awe-inspiring vistas that encompass the Skellig Islands, including the famous Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient monastic settlement. The rugged beauty of the coastline, coupled with the sheer cliffs and the expanse of the ocean, creates a captivating and unforgettable scenery. Exploring the Kerry Cliffs involves walking along designated pathways and viewing points, allowing visitors to absorb the natural grandeur while being mindful of safety precautions due to the cliffs' steep edges. The area is rich in biodiversity, featuring various seabirds, including puffins, fulmars, and guillemots, nesting and soaring above the cliffs.

Kerry Cliffs, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

10. Wishing Bridge in the Gap of Dunloe (52.0312° N, 9.6371° W; 2-hour drive

from The Kerry Cliffs)

Another stop that is not technically on the Ring of Kerry, the Wishing Bridge is located within the rugged beauty of the Gap of Dunloe. This small, stone bridge holds a special allure among locals and visitors alike holding a legend that anyone who makes a wish while crossing the bridge will have their wish granted. It's a tradition for visitors to stop at the Wishing Bridge, pause, and make a wish before continuing their journey. Surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty, with lush greenery, towering mountains, and serene waters, the Wishing Bridge offers a moment of reflection and hope in the midst of Ireland's stunning countryside.

Wishing Bridge, Gap of Dunloe, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Bonus Stop: Kissane Sheep Farm (51.9486° N, 9.6323° W)

This is a stop that we wish we had time for during our visit, but it is without a doubt worth a visit! Visitors to Kissane Sheep Farm can partake in various activities that showcase the daily workings of a working sheep farm. The farm offers guided tours where guests can witness skilled sheepdogs herding flocks of sheep with remarkable precision, demonstrating the centuries-old methods of shepherding. The knowledgeable guides share insights into the history of sheep farming in Ireland, the importance of sheepdogs, and the various breeds of sheep that call the farm home. The experience allows guests to interact closely with the animals, providing opportunities to bottle-feed lambs, observe sheep shearing demonstrations, and learn about the wool-making process. Additionally, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside while gaining a deeper appreciation for the beauty of rural Ireland.


We hope that this guide has helped you make the most of your time on the Ring of Kerry, and if it has, we hope you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!

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