The Beara Peninsula is much less traveled than the Ring of Kerry so we really didn't worry much about which way we were going. As with the Ring of Kerry, do not think that you can, or will want to, drive the 137km (85 mile) ring at 100km (62 mile) per hour. It may not sound like a long distance, but you must account for slow roads, lots of photo stops and the occasional sheep herd or tractor blocking your path. Be prepared to back up to let people through when the road gets really narrow.
The Healy Pass is not for the feint of heart nor would I recommend it for people who get car sick. I can spin around for an hour on the teacups at Disneyland but even I was getting a little queasy and just a little nervous when peering over the edge of the road, even more nervous when we got to the top and realized just how hard the wind was blowing. I'm still in awe of the two guys who we saw bicycling up the pass, how they weren't blown over the side will always be a mystery to me.
We saw the sign for Blue Pool Ferry first so that's the one we used, it was 10€ per person round trip out to the island. We were the only ones on the ferry at 10am, the ride takes only about 10 minutes and they slow down to take you by the seals basking on the nearby rocks. The boats run every 1/2 hour both coming and going
There's also the Harbour Queen Ferry which is 12€ round trip according to my quide book and located near the Eccles Hotel and the Lady Ellen which is listed as 7.50€ and located 2km west of the center off Castletownbere Road. The owners of our B&B also suggested that you might be able to negotiate with a local boat owner but then you'd probably have to agree on a pickup time.
Our hotel, Virginia's Guesthouse, was on Henry Street, one of the main streets in Kenmare. We didn't see any parking in front of it so we drove up the street, turned right on Main Street and right again on Shelbourne Street and on the left side on the street there was a small lot that said public parking which turned out to be free. We left our car there overnight with no problem.
All three of these streets are one way streets.