Ask anyone: the Ring of Kerry is picturesque Ireland at its peak. Hidden away in the southwest corner of the island, this is a true treasure trove, with dreamlike landscapes awaiting every lucky visitor. Why not take a tour?
It’s not just visitors from abroad that love this place – people travel from across the island to cycle, drive and trek this scene-stealing route on Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula. Beginning and ending in Killarney, a trip here takes in all the big hitters: Moll’s Gap, Torc Waterfall and the Gap of Dunloe are winners – but really, the route itself is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Within the route’s 179km of road, you’ll find dazzling opulence and breathtaking wilderness in equal measure. Take a trek up the Owengarriff River to where it flows from the Devil’s Punchbowl, a vast, sapphire expanse of fresh water; breathe in the sweet Kerry air at Ladies’ View, a favourite of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting; or explore the imposing angles of Ross Castle, a 15th-century tower house on the shores of Lough Leane. Wherever you go, you’ll be tempted to keep a camera on hand; but take it from us – just drinking it in and enjoying the moment is more than enough.
Take your pick! The Ring of Kerry boasts an all-star line-up of beauty spots, ranging from castles and manor houses to lakes and viewing points that will quite simply leave you speechless. A firm favourite is Muckross House and Gardens.
“You can’t come to Killarney and not visit Muckross House.”
Sleeping on the edges of the world-famous Lakes of Killarney, this Tudor-style house was built in 1843 and, along with its lush gardens, became Ireland’s first National Park 90 years later. Inside is luxury on another level and from another era: rich artwork and elaborate cornicing adorn grand reception rooms, and a row of servants’ bells waits to jangle beside the kitchen. Upstairs, you can even enter the perfectly preserved room that housed Queen Victoria during her famous stay in 1861!
Brilliant beaches and star power
This part of County Kerry is known for its pristine stretches of white, sandy beaches. Derrynane, Rossbeigh and Ventry are some of the most stunning, each strand a beautiful border between the deep, blue ocean and pale green sea grasses.
“I can’t believe they let us shoot there – it was so beautiful!”
Just off the main route of the Ring of Kerry is the Skellig Ring – and while it isn’t the main act, it’s a close second! The soaring, craggy Skellig Islands are one of this area’s most history-laden and spellbinding spots; first discovered by intrepid monks in the 6th century, Hollywood followed many moons later and made these islands world famous when they featured in the 2015 Star Wars comeback.