With its charming townships, impressive outdoor excursions, stunning coastal drives, and enchanting parklands, it comes as no surprise that the Iveragh Peninsula is a top destination for travellers.
Set in Kerry, a county often referred to as ‘The Kingdom’ of Ireland, is the Iveragh Peninsula.
Located on the island’s west coast, the peninsula is home to many of Ireland’s most majestic natural attractions, not to mention its thriving social scene, vibrant culture, heritage sites, and postcard-worthy landscapes.
A popular addition to an Irish adventure or travel itinerary, here is all you need to know about visiting the Iveragh Peninsula, including where to eat and when to visit.
Overview – all you need to know
The Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry is famous for many feats. It is the largest peninsula in the southwest and home to Ireland’s most extensive mountain range: the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.
The ever-popular Ring of Kerry scenic drive traces its terrain and acts as a significant draw for visitors. And with wild flora and dramatic coastlines, visitors truly experience best of both land and sea on the Iveragh Peninsula.
One of Ireland’s smallest Gaeltachts (Irish-speaking communities), the Iveragh Gaeltacht is also present, most significantly in the area of Baile an Sceilg.
When to visit – depending on what you want to experience
Summertime in Ireland sees the largest numbers of footfall from native and oversea visitors.
However, for those who prefer a slower pace of life, spring and autumn offer some pleasant (albeit slightly cooler) days. With fewer visitors to the area, accommodation prices will be lower, and attractions less busy.
What to see – best bits
The Ring of Kerry scenic drive is one of the most popular draws to the Iveragh Peninsula.
This 179-kilometre (111-mile) looped route begins and ends in Killarney and takes about three hours to complete (without stopping), although we’d recommend stretching this over a couple of days to make the most of the experience.
Along the way, you’ll pass some of the peninsula’s most talked about topics including Killarney National Park, Moll’s Gap, Ladies View, the stunning Kerry Cliffs, Valentia Island, and more.
Should you wish to break the mould, we recommend taking a boat trip to the Skellig Islands (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to see a perfectly-preserved early Christian monastic settlement on a precarious and weather-worn island crag in the Atlantic Ocean. For those who’d love to see the islands, but don’t want to leave the mainland, drive the Skelling Ring.
Where to eat – delicious Irish food
When exploring the stunning Iveragh Peninsula, make sure to make the most of the fantastic local eateries and pubs waiting to welcome you.
The Garden Restaurant at Muckross House is a picturesque setting for a sit down after a day exploring the Killarney National Park.
Make sure to stop by the Skellig Chocolate Factory for a sweet treat when in the locale. Boston’s Irish Bar is also an epic place to pop by for a pint of Guinness and some traditional music, should you be on Valentia Island.
Where to stay – fantastic accommodation
The three-star Kingstons Boutique Townhouse & Pub in Killorglin is a great base to explore the surrounding area. With an on-site pub and restaurant, it is sure to be a social experience, too.
Address: Market Street, Dromavally, Killorglin, Co. Kerry, V93 E4XV, Ireland
The Royal Hotel Valentia, which has been welcoming guests for over 200 years, is ideal for those who would like something a tad more traditional.
Address: Market St, Knightstown, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, V23 XR88, Ireland
Alternatively, the four-star Parknasilla Resort & Spa makes for the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of exploring the Iveragh Peninsula.
Address: Derryquin, Parknasilla, Co. Kerry, V93 EK71, Ireland
Directions – how to get there
The Iveragh Peninsula is easily accessible by car. From Dublin, it would take approximately four and a half hours. From Galway, three and a half hours, and Cork, two and a half hours.
If travelling from Belfast, the journey to the Iveragh Peninsula could take up six hours by road. Ten airports dotted across the Emerald Isle allow for travel efficiency if on a tight timeline.
How long is the experience – how much time you will need
While some travellers visit the Iveragh Peninsula with just one day to spare, others can spend an entire week or longer exploring its more unique and lesser-known sights.
With so much to see, and so many ‘off the beaten track’ moments to be had, we would advise you to allow for as much time as possible in this enchanting part of Ireland.
Insider tips – tips from a local
When travelling the Ring of Kerry, make sure to drive in a clockwise direction. Tour buses are only allowed to travel anti-clockwise, so to avoid getting stuck behind a bus for your entire journey, we suggest you tackle the terrain in the opposite direction.