The Ring of Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way

Traveling from the south, it may have been simpler to spend the night in Kenmare and head clockwise around the Ring of Kerry ending at Killarney National Park. That’s how American travel guru, Rick Steves, and others recommend you tackle it. Irish tourist organizations, however, strongly recommend you drive counter-clockwise with the flow of traffic to reduce traffic issues. After several days on narrow Irish roads, we decided we would rather follow tour buses than face them. We opted to comply with local wisdom and circle the ring counter-clockwise or anti-clockwise, as they say in Ireland. After spending the night in Glenbeigh (marked on the map below), we left early the following morning to stay well ahead of the parade of tour buses leaving Killarney. This plan worked well for us.

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Although none of the guide books listed any accommodations in Glenbeigh, I found the Towers Hotel on the internet and booked it. Honestly, this hotel was a little long in the tooth but check out the sunset view from our room. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sunset view from Tower Hotel in Glenbeigh

Sunset view from Tower Hotel in Glenbeigh

The pub in the hotel served good pub grub for dinner and the following morning we had a traditional full Irish breakfast composed of fried eggs, bangers (sausages), rashers (thick bacon), tomatoes, black pudding (blood pudding with pork and fillers) and white pudding (without the blood) which was excellent.

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

Fortunately, we didn’t meet much traffic all day and if you love scenic views, the Ring of Kerry has plenty to offer along N70, the main road.

Cliffs of Kerry

View from the Ring of Kerry looking across to the Dingle Peninsula

Cliffs of Kerry

Ring of Kerry View toward Dingle Peninsula

We left the main road to explore the Skellig loop for some extra outstanding views. In fact, I would say that the views from the Cliffs of Kerry were among the very best we saw in Ireland. I’ve read plenty of complaints about the 4 Euro admission fee but I’m glad we paid it. Also keep in mind you won’t see the Cliffs of Kerry on a big tour bus because the roads are too narrow for them.

Cliffs of Kerry

Cliffs of Kerry with view of Puffin Island, Little Skellig, and Skellig Michael (Great Skellig)

Cliffs of Kerry

Cliffs of Kerry

Cliffs of Kerry

Cliffs of Kerry

View of the bog opposite the Cliffs of Kerry

View of the bog opposite the Cliffs of Kerry

Many other areas along the Skellig Loop offered more incredible scenery worthy of a stop and a photo.
Ring of Kerry

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When we returned to the main road and stopped at yet another vantage point, we discovered a man with these sweet little mountain sheep lambs. For a small donation, we each got a photo.

Located 2.5 miles off N70 along a narrow one lane track, we explored Staigue Fort, dating from around the first century, AD. One of the largest and finest ring forts in Ireland, it was well worth a look. There are three such forts on the Ring of Kerry which provided protection to local chieftains, family, guards, and servants. The fort was constructed by stacking the stones with no mortar whatsoever.

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Staigue Fort

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Inside wall of Staigue Fort

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Commanding view from the wall of Staigue Fort

We finally arrived in Kenmare, where we had a reservation for the night at the Brook Lane Hotel. Although it was undergoing some renovation while we were there, it was nonetheless an outstanding accommodation. Even the restaurant, No. 35, won us over with its organic, locally sourced menu items.

Kenmare, Ireland

Kenmare, Ireland

Salmon

Pan fried Fillet of Salmon with Horseradish & Garden Herb Crumb, Spring Onion & Rooster Mashed Potato, Mini Caper & Lemon Cream Sauce

Chicken

Roast Irish Chicken Breast, Mashed potato

Burger

Grilled Hereford Beef Burger, with Smoked Gubeen Cheese & Bacon, Salad Leaves, Onion Rings, Chips & Sweet Chilli Mayo

We barely scratched the surface seeing the sights offered on the Ring of Kerry. This is definitely an Irish gem that warrants more time and attention than we were able to devote this time around. After this taste, I would love to return and savor the sights on the Ring of Kerry at a slower, more relaxed pace.

Based on events from April, 2015

Categories: History, Ireland, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Ring of Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way

  1. Sheryl

    Great blog and photos, Laura! When we took students on the bus tour of the Ring of Kerry in 2007 they kept falling asleep on the bus and pretty much missed all the scenery.

    Like

    • There’s so much to appreciate at a slower pace. I want to go back and spend more time in each area we visited.

      Like

  2. Gorgeous views, gorgeous food and such a cute lamb!! Looks like great weather too.

    Like

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