Seven days into our 12 day tour of the Emerald Isle and we were finally feeling somewhat normal, at least as far as the jet lag was concerned, so we decided to try something new, getting up early! We had it in our minds to see the Ring of Kerry, a 179 km circular route around the Iveragh Peninsula, in County Kerry in the South Western part of Ireland. In order to make this happen, in just one day, sleeping in wasn’t an option.
With it’s endless winding roads, craggy peaks, and sweeping coastline views it’s no wonder that the Ring of Kerry is considered to be one of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations! If you’re planning a visit and need a home base you might consider Killarney it’s a very friendly and quaint little town with easy access to the Ring road
Getting Around The Ring of Kerry
While driving your own vehicle is a viable option the route is very curvy and their can be a lot of traffic, so again we opted to try something new, we signed up for a tour, on a large bus! In hindsight, what was I thinking?!?! I guess I was thinking that Tim had been doing a lot of driving and would be doing quite a bit more in coming weeks, so maybe letting someone else take the “wheel” for a day couldn’t hurt. Like I said… What was I thinking?
Overall we really enjoyed the scenery and the tour guide’s commentary was funny as well as informative! Our friendly driver, Billy, remembered my name since you know… Hilary is a pretty famous name these days… the tour company was Wild Way Kerry Tours/O’Conner Auto Tours.
We passed by this amazing church on our way out of town and then we were off!
Our first stop was in Glenbeigh at the Red Fox Bar and Restaurant where we sampled traditional Irish Coffee and explored the Kerry Bog Village an 18th century famine village.
We watched sheep dog demonstrations in Kells, which we all loved! This was definitely a highlight of the day! The relationship between the dogs and their master was really impressive and highly complex with a serious of sounds and whistles individual to each dog.
We drove through Cahersiveen and Waterville, with it’s fabulous views of Skellig Michael. A place I would very much like to see up close one day, but advance planning is a must do. Fun fact: The most recent Star Wars movie was partially filmed here!
Our lunch spot, the Scarriff Inn, was located in Caherdaniel, which had absolutely breathtaking views, I took photos, but it’s truly one of those “you had to be there places.”
Driving through Caherdaniel, Sneem, and Blackwater, we saw ice blue waters, white sands and endless green hills before arriving in Kenmare, where we saw Molls Gap and visited the Avoca shop.
Our last stops were in Kilorglin and the Killarney National Park, Muckross where we stopped for a photo at the Ladies View named for a visit from Queen Victoria and her ladies.
The bus was too big, too bouncy and too full of people. Tim decided to let Elliot choose our seats and like most kids, he chose the back of the bus. BIG mistake! Each and every time the bus stopped we had to wait on the entire bus to empty before we could disembark meaning we got almost no time to enjoy the views at each stop. Lesson learned!
With all those people on the bus, it was too warm and too smelly. Although food wasn’t permitted on the bus, apparently some passengers felt they weren’t required to follow this rule and the smell of their snacks permeated the entire bus.
As it turns out sitting in the back of the bus wasn’t a great idea for another reason… Simon felt slightly carsick the entire time, which by the way was seven hours! I must admit my stomach didn’t love all those winding roads either…
Hindsight is 20/20
Although we saw a lot of breathtaking scenery, in hindsight joining a large group of people on a tour bus for seven hours around winding roads might not have been the best idea in the world. However, now we know! If unlike me, you decide to drive your own vehicle than consider driving anti-clockwise, as that will go a long way in reducing the amount of tour bus traffic you experience.
After a long day on the bus we decided treats were in order!
As you can see Simon recovered nicely and was up early the next morning and ready for our next adventure! Next stop: Limerick!
What an absolutely fabulous post. The information was informative and the pictures were outstanding. I spent a week driving around Ireland in 1991. We started in Dublin, went north to Northern Ireland and then counter clockwise around the entire island. We stayed at B&B’s every night. Each host would find out where we were going to stop the next evening and then recommend where we stay when we arrived. They even called ahead for us to let our next host know that we were coming. I wish we had had more time to spend to see the Ring of Kerry. Your post helps to fill in some of the gaps.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
Wonderful post Hilary! Large tours are not to our liking either. Your photos are breathtaking. Ireland is on our bucket list so I will be earmarking this for future use. Thanks!
Thank you so so much! Your kind words really mean a lot!! This post is only halfway through our visit to Ireland, so keep your eye out for more to come…
Looking forward to it.