We really enjoyed our drive around the Ring, although I can't imagine doing it during a busy tourist season. We were able to stop and see most things, without having to fight through big crowds. We probably enjoyed the swing through Killarney Park the best, although that was probably the heaviest rains. Don't try and pack too much into the day you drive the ring, as it is nice to be able to take your time as your drive.
Given a choice between the two, I would definately recommend hitting the Dingle Peninsula over the Ring of Kerry, even ignoring the tour bus factor.
We got off here only to see the statue of Charlie Chaplin, who would visit the place regularly with his family, staying at the Butler Arms Hotel. Of course everybody wanted to have their picture taken with the famous actor so it lasted a long time before I could take this one. It's a life-size statue so they patted him on the back or embraced him but he didn't seem to mind.
Waterville is an interesting place, being situated on a narrow isthmus with Lough Currane on the east side of the town and Ballingskelligs Bay on its west side, with the Currane River connecting them. So you have everything you may wish for here: the sea, the lake and the mountains. It is also the birthplace of my wonderful Irish friend Katherine (Ekaterinburg). I am surprised that there is no plaque on the house where she was born, or is there?
More information about the statue in picture 2.
Our next short stop was near Cahersiveen where the Irish national hero Daniel O'Connell, was born in 1775. The house is a ruin but just across the river is a pleasant picnic site with the bust of the great 18th/19th century Irish political leader, who succeeded in his struggle for the right for Catholics to sit in the Parliament of Westminster, which won him the name of 'The Liberator' or 'The Emancipator'. O'Connell believed in peaceful means for gaining independence for Ireland. You can also visit Derrynane House, his former ancestral home and National Historic Park further south at Caherdaniel.
The picnic area where the monument stands is lovely and, if you have time, you can take a walk along the river or sit on the bench and have your packed lunch. Hope you don't meet the lady with the dogs, one of which picked on a man from our group and chased him, barking angrily.
Kerry Bog Village Museum recreates the life of villagers of the area around Glenbeigh in the early 19th century. Actually, it's a real village inhabited in the past by people whose names are known, complete with their tools, furniture and other possessions, including a rocking cot and an old po. You can visit the turf cutter's house, the forge, the stable dwelling and dairy house, Denny's hen house, the labourer's cottage and the finest of them all - the thatcher's dwelling. Read the leaflet you will get on buying your ticket and you will learn a lot about their lives and the objects in their cottages.
We only had twenty minutes for sightseeing there, not enough time to also have a cup of coffee at the Red Fox Inn just outside the village. On my way out, I managed to visit the village shop with some interesting souvenirs, well worth a look and not too expensive.
From Waterville we went on to Kenmare, which was to be our last stop for the day before going back to Cork. We drove along the coast most of the time, admiring the spacious sandy beaches and the rocky cliffs partly obscured by mist. It didn't rain much any longer so we could take pictures again, not too good in this weather but better than nothing. And the sea air was pure bliss to breathe. On the way we passed Sneem, the town that has twice won the title of the tidiest town in Ireland. It was nice and colourful like many Irish towns and so was Kenmare, but here the batteries in my camera gave up and I was only able to take one picture - of the Celtic cross outside the church. Altogether, I must say I did enjoy the trip in spite of the weather. But if I ever find myself in that area again I would definitely prefer to 'do' the Ring of Kerry in a car and see the sights we had missed.
It was already raining in Kerry Bog Village but then the weather got even worse. It got dark and the fog made the visibility very bad. We were driving along narrow winding mountain roads with cars going in the opposite direction squeezing to avoid the coach. The driver now had to concentrate on his job as the fog made his job really hard. We were told of the marvellous views we were passing but could see very little. At places the coast could be seen but no islands that the driver had spoken of. So I can only hope to see the marvellous views on the other VT-ers' pages, I will definitely look for them there.
On our way along the Ring of Kerry west of Killorglin we could see wide expanses of nearly natural peatlands, waterlogged areas where peat used to be exploited for fuel. Such areas are now rare in western Europe and treated as an endangered habitat, with their plants and animals now being protected. In the past the turf found near Glenbeigh was not only used for fuel by the local people but was also a good source of their income. In fact, the Kerry Bog Village described in my next tip was founded by a local man by the name of Jeremiah Mulvihill whose prosperity was based on cutting the high-quality turf there and selling it at Killorglin. To transport it, he used donkeys and ponies, which are still bred in the area and can be seen in the old village.
As he needed someone to shoe his animals, a blacksmith joined him, then a few farmers to provide food for them and so the village grew....
The Ring Of Kerry is a very popular tourist route, that many hike, drive or cycle round each year.
There are some really nice towns to stop in here, including Caherdaniel, Waterville and Sneem to name a few.
I personally much preffered the Dingle Peninsula, but the Ring Of Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula offers much better facilities to tourists.
If you can bear much more stunning scenery, a must see I think is "Ladies View", located between Killarney and Kenmare, you can stop at the cafe and grab an Irish Coffee and gaze at this beautiful view.
Named Ladies View after Queen Victorias ladies in waiting !
The Ring of Kerry is a much visited scenic route on the Iveragh Peninsula which goes along the coast. There are parkings along the road at some interesting places where you can enjoy the view on the coast with its rocks and beaches. There are several sights and places, I mostly liked the Cahergall Stonefort and Ballycarberry castle ruins near Cahersiveen. Also it’s worth driving the Skellig Ring (if time permits). See my other tips.
I’ve read contrary tips about in which direction you should drive the Ring of Kerry – some say that anticlockwise is better because then the landscape becomes more and more interesting, and others say that it’s better clockwise as then you don’t have to drive behind all those tourist busses who drive anticlockwise. Well, we drove clockwise and found this perfect. As we started in the morning, we didn’t meet any busses the first hours. The most interesting part of the road was behind Caherdaniel, we found the other parts nice, but not spectacular – could be perhaps because we already visited the Dingle and Beara peninsulas which are beautiful!
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