Top 10 BEST things to do on the RING of KERRY

There is an abundance of exciting things to see and do along the Ring of Kerry. We highlight a handful of the best attractions for your adventure.

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s greatest treasures, with immense natural beauty, rich history, quaint narrow mountain roads, and endless activities to enjoy. 

So, if you have plans to explore the Ring of Kerry, let us inspire you with these top ten things to do along the way. 

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting the Ring of Kerry:

  • Allow more time than you think you need, as there are plenty of historical sites, natural wonders, and wild nature to explore, which will keep you on your toes. 
  • Pack rain gear and comfortable walking shoes because many of the attractions along the way are outdoor, and you won’t want to miss the beautiful walks in this region. 
  • The Ring of Kerry is a circular route which follows a narrow road. Tour buses drive along the Ring of Kerry in an anti-clockwise direction during the peak season. We suggest driving in a clockwise direction to avoid being stuck behind buses. 
  • Start before 9 am to avoid traffic and get some iconic places to yourself. This will make for an even more memorable trip.

10. Stop in Waterville – a favourite of Charlie Chaplin

Waterville was a favourite of Charlie Chaplin.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

A stop-off in Waterville is a must, especially when you realize that this was the holiday destination of Charlie Chaplin.

Here you will find a statue of the Hollywood legend himself along the beautiful coastal scenery of the Atlantic Ocean, which makes this an incredible place to stop for lunch and explore on your route. 

Address: Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland

9. Venture off to Valentia Island – a must on the Ring of Kerry

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Fáilte Ireland

One of the best things is to get off the main route and venture towards Portmagee, the gateway to the glorious Valentia Island.

Here you can take the stunning coastal loop walk around Valentia Island’s Bray Head, which takes just under two hours and boasts excellent views of the Skellig Islands on a clear day.

Address: Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland

8. Cycle the Ring of Kerry – 179 km (111 mi) of incredible beauty

There is 179 km of incredible beauty.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

Yes, one of the top things to do on the Ring of Kerry is to explore it on two wheels since this is one of the top cycle routes in the country.

The route is steeped in natural beauty, and there is no better way to enjoy this than on your bicycle, which you can take with you or rent in nearby Killarney. 

RELATED READ: The IB4UD guide to the best cycling routes in Ireland.

7. Kerry Cliffs – the best view in County Kerry

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Pixabay/ Kamracik

Perhaps one of the most overlooked attractions along the Ring of Kerry is the Kerry Cliffs, and if you ask us, this is unmissable for many reasons.

Over 400 million years old, the cliffs are renowned as having the most spectacular viewpoint in Kerry. These 1000 ft (about 304.8 m) cliffs offer an otherworldly experience.

Address: Skellig Ring, Foilnageragh, Portmagee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

6. Cahergal Stone Fort – a must for history buffs

Cahergal Stone Fort is a must for history buffs.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

History buffs will be in their element in Ireland, and on the Ring of Kerry, there are a variety of incredible sites to visit, so be sure to stop off at Cahergal Stone Fort.

Dating back to the Iron Age, this stone ringfort is surrounded by a 13 ft (4 m) high wall and is easily accessible from the town of Cahersiveen. 

Address: Ballycarbery East, Co. Kerry, Ireland

5. Visit Skellig Michael – a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

While a tour to Skellig Michael should always be booked in advance, it is well worth the planning since this rugged island has so much to captivate you.

Not only was Star Wars (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker) filmed here, but the island is also well known for its 6th-century ancient monastery accessed by 618 original stone steps.

Address: Skellig Rock Great, Ireland

4. Derrynane Beach – a genuinely stunning beach

Derrynane Beach is a genuinely stunning beach.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

One of the best things to do on the Ring of Kerry is to explore the region’s pristine beaches, starting with Derrynane Beach in Caherdaniel.

This is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and is best visited on a sunny day when you can swim and take on exciting watersports like windsurfing.

Address: Darrynane More, Co. Kerry, Ireland

READ MORE: Our guide to the best beaches in County Kerry.

3. Climb Ireland’s highest mountain – an incredible challenge

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Fionn McCann

If you are up for a challenge and have the skills, you cannot bypass Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, standing tall at 3,407 ft (1,038 m).

This moderately challenging hike is best undertaken when the weather is mild. Allow at least six hours to complete the return hike. 

Address: Coomcallee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

MUST READ: IB4UD’s guide to the ten highest mountains in Ireland.

2. Visit Kenmare – a quaint seaside town

Kenmare is a quaint seaside town.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Failte Ireland

Kenmare is undoubtedly one of the most charming coastal towns in Kerry and is a haven for food lovers.

This spot is a joy to roam around on foot, where you can take your time to snap some pictures of Kenmare Bay and cosy up with some freshly caught seafood and a creamy pint of Guinness. 

Address: Kenmare, Co. Kerry, Ireland

1. Killarney National Park – Ireland’s oldest national park

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Hu O’Reilly

Ireland’s oldest national park is Killarney National Park, one of the top attractions along the Ring of Kerry.

Here you have access to an abundance of attractions within the park, like Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle, Muckross House, and the idyllic Gap of Dunloe, all of which cannot be overlooked. 

Address: Killarney National Park, Muckross, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Notable mentions

Portmagee is the gateway to Valentia Island.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland

Portmagee: The town of Portmagee is the gateway to Valentia Island by a bridge and also to Skellig Michael by ferry. Take time to enjoy the laid-back vibes and glorious views from this idyllic town before hurrying off. 

Killarney town: One of the best things to do on the Ring of Kerry is to enjoy some pints and live music in Killarney, which is ideal after you’ve finished the route. 

Kerry Way: The Kerry Way features 200 km (124 mi) of walking trails, covering a wide variety of terrain and is ideal to undertake if you want to get active and marvel at the landscape.

Ladies View: This idyllic viewpoint is a must when driving the Ring of Kerry and has been ranked as one of the most photographed places in Ireland for great reason. 

Abbey Island: Abbey Island can be reached during low tide. Here you’ll find and explore the ruins of Derrynane Abbey.

Your questions answered about things to do on the Ring of Kerry

If you still have questions about things to do on the Ring of Kerry, you’re in luck! In this section, we answer some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions as well as some that appear often in online searches.

Top 10 things to do on the Ring of Kerry.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Finola White

Which part of the Ring of Kerry is the best? 

The entire route has been dubbed one of the finest scenic drives in the world, so it all needs to be seen to be appreciated. 

Is it worth visiting the Ring of Kerry? 

Yes, even though this is a top tourist attraction and can be busy in peak season, it is a must-see during an Irish visit, and crowds can be avoided if you plan. 

How many days do you need at the Ring of Kerry? 

Three or four days are ideal for exploring the route, with all its attractions and allowing some time for Killarney National Park, Valentia Island, and Skellig Michael.

So, if this didn’t inspire you to pack your bags and venture off to Kerry, we don’t know what will. This region of Ireland truly needs to be explored to be appreciated.

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