By Briana Seftel
Arguably the biggest attraction in County Kerry, the Ring of Kerry is a 120-mile long tourist route on the Iveragh Peninsula. Whether you choose to drive it in a day or a week, there is much to love on this road through stunning natural wonders, rugged coastline and inviting towns. Keep these top things to see on the Ring of Kerry when planning your vacation!
If you plan on doing the Ring of Kerry, chances are you'll be staying in Killarney. Known as Ireland's adventure capital, the charming town is perfectly situated to explore all Kerry has to offer, including Killarney National Park, the Dingle Peninsula and The Gap of Dunloe. But leave some time to explore the town itself, as there are many cozy pubs and great restaurants to enjoy a pint and boxty.
Killarney National Park
Encompassing nearly 26,000 acres, Killarney National Park is Ireland's first national park and an ecological paradise. Nature lovers will be enchanted by the park's mountain range - the tallest in the country - and the gushing Torc Waterfall. History buffs shouldn't miss Muckross House, a Victorian manor house, and the 15th century Ross Castle. You could easily spend an entire day exploring this beautiful, rugged paradise.
The colorful town of Kenmare is often the referred to as the Jewel in the Ring of Kerry. Nestled in the heart of Kenmare Bay, the picturesque town is the worth a trip alone, with its candy-colored main street, excellent dining and unique shopping. Kenmare is also a popular starting point to explore the rugged Ring of Beara.
Can't make it to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare? Don't worry, because County Kerry is home to some pretty spectacular cliffs (and without the crowds). Standing over 1,000 feet high, the Kerry Cliffs offer spectacular views of the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island. A small entrance fee grants you access, and you'll need to walk up a fairly steep hill to reach the top.
This lovely stretch of beach is ideal for a relaxing stroll, picnic or even a dip, but be prepared for icy water! Located two miles from the village of Caherdaniel, Derrynane Beach shares its name with the nearby Derrynane House, home of Irish politician and statesman Daniel O'Connell.
The larger of the UNESCO-protected Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael is an otherworldly island off the coast home to an ancient monastic site and several kinds of unique birds. If it looks familiar, that's because it is: Skellig Michael served as the home of Luke Skywalker in the recent Star Wars franchise. Tours of Skellig Michael are hard to come by, so if you're itching to visit, plan well in advance.
If you're looking for a quaint village on the Ring of Kerry, look no further than Sneem. Split into two by the Sneem River, the village is chock full of charm and an ideal resting spot in between driving. In case you'd like to stay awhile, there's a sculpture park, garden and beach to explore!
Located three miles west of Sneem, Staigue Fort is one of the largest and best preserved ring forts in Ireland. Built between 300 and 400 AD, the fort is believed to have been a defensive stronghold or tribal center.