If you have a couple of extra days in your Irish itinerary that you’re looking to fill, consider getting out of the city and checking out some of the picturesque South-West of Ireland. In particular Killarney and & the Ring of Kerry.
Killarney is a delightful town that is just right, not too big, not too small. Perfect for a couple of days out. The town itself is a rabbit warren of funky back streets and shopping.
The town has grown in popularity for its proximity to the beautiful Killarney National Park; TripAdvisor’s Number 1 Irish attraction for 2015. The park itself is pristine. Some of the most popular activity options in the park include hiking, cycling, boat rides through the lakes or a pilgrimage to the Gap of Dunloe.
For the traveller with time restrictions and a car its easiest to visit Killarney National Park as a part of a wider drive around the Ring of Kerry. The Ring itself offers a great snapshot of both rural irish living & natural unspoilt beauty. The drive incorporates parts of the Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive as well as a picturesque meander through Killarney National Park (which offer’s views that will satisfy even Kiwis (our homeland is gorgeous). Google maps would suggest about 3 hours for the loop but with the winding roads, traffic, picture breaks and lunch we would reccomend putting aside a whole day.
As most coach tours of the Ring leave around 10:30AM so we’d also suggest heading off early to make the most of the early morning traffic. (If you would prefer a guided coach tour of the Ring, these go for around 20Euro pp & can be easily booked through the main Killarney information centre)
Below are some of the Highlights and Lowlights of our Ring of Kerry visit.
I love it when you get to climb all over old historical ruins & Staigue Fort (a 2500 year old fortification) is a great example of such a fort. It only costs 1 Euro donation and is well worth a visit.
This stop off in Killarney National Park is gorgeous. Its said that when the name was garnered by Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting on their visit to the area who exclaimed it to be the most beautiful sight that they’d ever seen. Big call, but it is pretty nice & they didn’t have google.
A delightful stroll through a wooded pathway brings you to a refreshing view of this waterfall, worth the stop.
Having not been able to fit in The Gap of Dunloe, we thought Moll’s Gap could be a good alternative…we felt like it was a bit anticlimactic.
Some gorgeous cliffs, probably an ok alternative if you couldn’t fit in a visit to the Cliffs of Moher but definitely not worth 4Euro pp, worth more like 1 or 2. We also felt disappointed because we we were under the imprecision that the beehive huts were going to be authentic, not modern replicas.
So there you have it. Enjoy!