While planning our trip to Ireland I was faced with the question – Is the Ring of Kerry REALLY worth experiencing? It seemed like a tourist nightmare, and I always have to decipher from the endless online articles, and friends whom have gone, on whether something is actually worth fitting in the itinerary. With the Ring of Kerry I had mixed reviews and thoughts. Some friends said YES! You can’t go to Ireland without experiencing the Ring of Kerry, while others said “you can definitely do without it”. In the end I decided we should try it out – on my terms. The drive is full of crumbling castle ruins, medieval forts, windy coastlines, steep intriguing cliffs, and beautiful lakes. Here’s the best advice I can give for doing this iconic Irish drive.
- Rent a Car -Drive yourself! Yes the Irish roads may seem perilous from the left side, but you will be OK! But trust me on this – instead of being stuck on a massive tourist bus for hours on end with 80 + people you should just rent a car so you can pick and choose where you want to stop, rather than stopping at every. single. stop.
2. Go in the opposite direction of the tour buses. Because the roads on the Ring of Kerry are so tight the buses all run anti-clockwise so they don’t have to pass each other. So by going clockwise you wont be stopped in an endless line of traffic from the buses hopping on and off the road!
3. Start EARLY! In order to try to beat the crowds you have to start early…. most tour buses don’t start until 9 a.m. – you could be 2 hours ahead of all mad rush if you set your alarm a little bit earlier!
4. Stop for lunch in Waterville! Get re energized with a plate of fresh seafood and a glass of white wine.
5. Set aside a day for the Ring of Kerry – Even though you are driving and you can stop and go as you please – make sure you plan for an entire day for the Ring, so you don’t feel like you are rushing. We did it in 6 hours, but you might want to stop and see more!
When it was all said and done we had a lovely day driving the Ring of Kerry. Would we do it again if we go back to Ireland? No, however it is steeped in Irish history with some magnificent coastal views. Our favorite stops were the forts and abandoned castles that we were free to roam around and climb all over.
If you are interested in more Irish road trips you can check out my post on The Wild Atlantic Way here.