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Ring of Kerry

Ring of Kerry – History

One the most famous and popular road circuits for tourists in the South West of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry, traverses the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula, with a great many tourist sites along the way.

Dramatic panoramas, majestic mountain shapes, ancient sites and twee towns are found along the winding route of the N70 through the southern tip of Kerry, known as the Ring of Kerry. The 179km route is much travelled especially by coach tours, but that doesn’t take away from the scenic beauty of the peninsula.

Running anti-clockwise, as the coach tours do, the route starts with the characterful market town of Killorglin on the sloping banks by the River Laune with the mountainous MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in the near distance, Killorglin comes to life for the famed Puck Fair festival in August. The road skirts the gentle scenery of Caragh Lake, a haven for fishermen, before coming to the small tourist town of Glenbeigh. The road then passes into Cahersiveen, overlooking Valencia Island and the birthplace of one of Ireland’s most eminent figures Daniel O’Connell. From here the road passes through the resort town of Waterville, and the world famous Waterville Links Golf Course, before coming to the picture postcard scene overlooking the coast of Derrynane, ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell and well worth a stop. The road then passes by the Staigue Fort at Castlecove, an early stone fort dating from the 3rd or 4th Century. The road then passes to the colourful little town of Sneem set beside a fast flowing river and then on to Parknasilla, a place of charming scenery and genial climate where subtropical plants and vegetation flourishes. The Ring then takes you on to the noble Heritage Town of Kenmare.

You could cover the Ring of Kerry in a day, but you would need two or even three days if you wanted to take in some of the more rural and less travelled areas such as Valencia Island and the Gael Tacht area around Portmagee and Ballinskelligs or the mountainous interior of the peninsula, that is known as Ireland’s Highlands. The roads here, particularly the Bealach Oisin Pass and Ballaghbeama Pass of the interior are fabulous coach free routes ideal for quiet drives or cycling tours.