5 min read…
For long, we considered Cliffs of Moher as the best visitor attraction in Ireland. Only until we visited Donegal. When we were slowly becoming confident that Donegal is the best, The Ring of Kerry happened.
Agreed! It is not fair to compare Donegal and Kerry, they are two gems of Ireland. But for us, Kerry just tipped Donegal solely for its variety and options.
It was a very humbling trip in the sense that whenever we thought one particular place was The Best, the next one was even bigger, even more beautiful. After the second day, we did really think that we had seen the best of what Kerry had to offer. But god we were proved wrong, and not for the first time. Dingle was gorgeous, it floored us!
For this tour, all you need is a car, good people and lots of energy. Here’s our 3-day itinerary, places we visited, and some photos we captured along the way. Let’s get cracking already.
NOTE: We could not visit the Skellig Islands because of the closure owing to COVID regulations.
Day 1 –
FREE – ** You don’t pay for any attraction except for the cafes **
Now, our first day’s plan wasn’t ideal and we would not recommend you to stick to this. We started at Gap of Dunloe and finished at Kenmare, only to realize that our BNB was closer to Killarney and so we had to drive all the way back. So, feel free to plan as you see fit.
- Gap of Dunloe
- Killarney National Park (Garden, Muckross House, Traditional Farm)
- Torc Waterfall
- Ladies View Cafe
- Moll’s Gap
- Take a right and continue on Ring of Kerry towards Sneem
- Dinner @ Kenmare
There couldn’t have been a better start to our tour than the Gap of Dunloe – a narrow mountain pass. We parked the car at the entrance and walked a good few miles. Optional horse carriage is also available. (€50 per carriage)
NOTE: Do not be fooled into believing that you cannot drive past the restaurants. You’ll see very few cars passing and wonder if it is even allowed. But, it is. Feel free to keep driving.
You could spend a whole day in this huge park. From walking & hiking to gardens and farms, there’s something for everyone. We stuck to the Muckross House (we didn’t enter the house, so we didn’t pay) and the gardens.
Torc Waterfall is only 4 miles away from the National Park. Frankly, if you aren’t planning on hiking around, you could better spend your time elsewhere and give this a miss as there’s not much to see.
Now, this is worth a special mention, especially for its spectacular views. Get a cup of coffee (or ice cream depending on the weather) and go sit at the terrace. Marvel at the grandeur while you satiate your hunger.
From the Ladies View Cafe, keep driving towards Moll’s Gap. There are enough empty spots to park your car without blocking traffic. Our only advice would be to stop as much as you can. Take it slow.
From Moll’s Gap, you could either take a left and drive to Kenmare, or take right and go to Sneem. We headed to Sneem first, and then to Kenmare.
Airbnb @ Ballyhar
We had booked a spooky and spectacular BNB in Ballyhar, and our host was fantastic. In just two days, we had spoken so much about Isha Yoga, Lord Ganesha, books (our host even made me read Who Moved My Cheese?), and making panneer (cottage cheese) at home among other topics.
We had the whole house to ourselves and I’d highly recommend this place if you are heading to Kerry.
Day 2 –
On this day, we chose to cover another chunk of the magnificent Ring of Kerry. To save you from my rambling, there’s a screenshot below for reference.
**Entry fee for Valentia Islands (optional – only if you want to experience the cliff view) & Kerry Cliffs**
- Rossbeigh Strand
- Valentia Island – €6 / car
- Kerry Cliffs – €7 / car
- Derrynane beach
- Staigue Fort
- Dinner @ Killarney Town Centre
To quote from Wikipedia, “Valentia Island is one of Ireland’s most westerly points. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of County Kerry. It is linked to the mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee“.
DO NOT miss the cliff-view. Pay €6 for entry and you can either drive, or park your car and walk up to the tip of the cliff, which is 1.5 miles from the entrance.
We had our lunch at The Moorings in Portmagee. They serve delicious and sumptuous fish and chips.
This is the one that you MUST NEVER MISS. The cliffs are 100ft high and offer majestic scenery. On clear days, you might even be able to see the Skellig Islands from the cliffs. The Turquoise water is the clear highlight. We couldn’t take our eyes off the water at all.
A sandy, long beach to stretch your legs and minds a little. Kavi even had a memorable experience when she was unexpectedly lifted by a mother and daughter duo who ferried her past knee-deep water without wetting her shoes. Memorable people leave us with memorable memories.
What I said for the Torc Waterfall holds good for this too. If you want to skip something at all, skip this. This is just an old stone fort.
Some beach on our way to Killarney from Staigue Fort –
There are just so many beaches in Kerry that we forgot some of their names. One similarity is, they are all fascinating and exquisite.
Day 3 – Dingle
On the last day, we visited Dingle, the small port town on southwest Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, famous for its trails and sandy beaches.
- Inch Beach
- Slea head drive starting at Dingle Town Centre
- Lunch @ The Boatyard Restaurant
- Fungie Dolphin Tour (€15 per person)
Inch is a 5km long beach and the only beach where I was allowed to park my car so close to the shores. There’s plenty of space for water-sports aficionados to do Surfing, Kayaking, Windsurfing, and Fishing.
Slea Head Drive
**Entry fee only for Beehut caves – optional. Others are FREE**
We spent the next 3 hours doing one of the most popular drives on the Wild Atlantic Way – The Slea Head Drive. The drive starts and ends in Dingle.
I have jotted down the prominent stops below but feel free to skip or stop anywhere and you wouldn’t miss anything. Here’s an excellent guide to follow and get the most out of this drive.
- Ventry Beach
- The Dunmore Head – MUST VISIT!
- Coumenoole Beach
- Dun Chaoin Pier – MUST VISIT!
- The Ceann Sibéal viewing point
- Clogher Strand
We had our lunch at The Boatyard Restaurant and highly recommend you to try this if you have time. It is just across the road from the Dingle Pier and the food is excellent.
After lunch, we did what everyone in Dingle would definitely do – visit Fungie the Dolphin. Fungie is a male dolphin who is known to live in very close contact with humans in Dingle.
It playfully interacts with swimmers, surfers, kayakers and divers in the water. It is €15 per person and you are guaranteed to see the big man in the water. The tour agency even post this on their website – No charge if dolphin is not seen!
Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Northern Ireland, Donegal, The Ring of Kerry – how much more are you hiding my dear Ireland? Until we meet you guys with another hidden gem, Ciao!
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– Kavi & Ninja