The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. Its 179km-long, circular route takes in rugged and verdant coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages. Skellig Michael, a rocky island with an abandoned 7th-century Christian monastery, is a major destination point, with boats from Portmagee making the 12km crossing during the warmer months. On this beautiful route, there is much to see so we have narrowed the attractions down to the 12 best!
1. Skellig Rocks
Skellig Michael , or Great Skellig is the larger of the two Skellig Islands located 11.6 km west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. A Christian monastery was founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century and remained continuously occupied until its abandonment in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, along with most of the island itself, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. This place is definitely one of the best things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
2. Valentia Island
Valentia Island is one of Ireland’s most westerly points lying off the Iveragh Peninsula in the south-west of County Kerry. It is linked to the mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee. It is known as one of the post beautiful islands off the coast of the Irish mainland.
3. Cahergal Stone Fort
A few hundred meters on from Ballycarbery Castle is the stone fort of Cahergalbuilt around 600AD. It is well worth a visit. The current structure has undergone some reconstruction and while the purist may say it is too “clean and pure” it is an impressive site. With walls approx 6 m high and some 3 m thick this dry stone wall fort is one of the best examples of an early medieval stone forts to be found on the ring of Kerry.
Portmagee is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. The village is located on the Iveragh peninsula south of Valentia Island. The name in Irish means ‘the ferry’, referring to its purpose as a crossing point to the island. Access to Valentia Island is now via a bridge from Portmagee. The bridge is called the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge. The bridge was built in 1970 and named in memory of a young farmer captured and judged by a military court before being executed in 1942. This place is definitely one of the best things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Kells is an old picturesque fishing village situated halfway between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen. It is a quiet and peaceful place undisturbed by recent developments and is home to Kells Beach, one of Kerry’s Blue Flag beaches (some refer to it as Kells Bay). There are beautiful views of Dingle bay and the Blasket Islands from this region. To get the best views you need to head to an area close by called “mountain stage”. From here with the mountains as a backdrop (old railway tunnels run through the mountain from a bye gone era) you can get great views, weather permitting, of the coastline . The beautifully engineered “Gleesk Viaduct” (an old railway bridge) built in 1892 can also be seen from here.
Cahersiveen is a town in the Region of Skellig Kerry, County Kerry, Ireland. It is located on the River Fertha and is the principal town of the Iveragh Peninsula. Cahersiveen is near Valentia Island and is connected to the Irish road network by the N70 road. The Catholic church in the town is the only one in Ireland named after a lay person, Daniel O’Connell. It is situated on the slopes of Beentee. It also contains a decommissioned Royal Irish Constabulary barracks, now a heritage centre, which according to legend, was built from the plans for a British barracks in India that got mixed up (a very common myth that occurs in many Irish garrison towns). Cahersiveen was where the first shots of the Fenian Rising were fired in 1867.
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