Road trip on the Ring of Kerry

posted in: Ireland | 18

Recently we have done a lot of road trips and we were at it again in Ireland. We both had never heard of the Ring of Kerry or what there was to see and do on the 179km (111 miles) circular route in Western Ireland and we had to check it out. Starting off in Killarney we headed south to Kenmare, west to Waterville before heading north-east back to Killarney. Here is the lowdown on places we saw and some of the places we stopped to rest, eat, drink and play.

Ring of Kerry, Ireland


This has to be our favourite town in Ireland (to date), not because it’s a major tourist attraction (but to local standards it is a huge touristy place but hey, the population around here isn’t big and sometimes a deer may wonder into the town looking for a good time),  but because of it’s charm, how the locals want to engage with us and have long conversations and the restaurants here are simply amazing. Did we also mention that the town has a bar or two?

Killarney, Ireland
Plunkett Street in Killarney

Well the sights, we didn’t actually check any out in the town but the area is a good place to get some sleep, eat and drink. Here is what we checked out in our short time in this amazing place. Regarding food, we couldn’t try out all the places to eat, if we did, we would come away weighing an extra few kilos. Here is our favourites.

Bars, Ireland, Killarney
Can’t beat a good drink before a meal in Tatler Jacks

Tatler Jacks on Plunkett Street, a great place to get a good drink but the food here is excellent. There may not be a lot of seating so make sure to have a reservation or get there early like we did. They serve a variety of food from the usual meats, pastas, chicken meals to burgers and currys.

Food, Ireland, Killarney
One of the mouth watering burger’s at Tatler Jack
Food, Ireland, Killarney
The chicken curry at Tatler Jacks.

O’Donoghues Public House on Plunkett Street was amazing. From the warm welcome, the customer service, to the food was stunning. We had problems getting through our main meal as we had a starter but hey, we were enjoying ourselves here in this cozy bar.

Food, Ireland, Killarney
The fish and chips meal was one of the best we have had in ages!

Treyvaud’s – a very well run family restaurant where we met one of the owner’s who knew what sort of food we should be served. The food here just melted in our mouth and we came away with very big smiles. The restaurant also has a letter near the main entrance (in a frame) from St James Palace in London , in a response to the restaurant owner about inviting Prince William and company across to Killarney for a meal.

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
A nice steak meal at Treyvaud’s

For a quick snack (or an ice cream shall we say), on Main Street there is Murphy’s which has ice cream from the nearby harbour town of Dingle. We tried this place twice as their main product was ice cream with gin (also from the town of Dingle).  

Ice Cream, Food, Killarney, Ireland
Loving the ice cream at Murphy’s – sea salt and gin are the popular flavours.

Our favourite bars in the town – we only checked out a few (but managed to stay several hours in each). All of them have fantastic staff, great drinks on offer and to be honest, not to expensive.

Bars, Ireland, Killarney
Courtney’s Bar

There is a theme bar on Lewis Road called The Shire, which is based on the hit motion picture ‘The Lord of the Rings”. When we were there we kept getting a few surprises by the one and only Gollum who kept sneaking up to us, or grabbing our shoulders as we wait at the bar for a pint of the local brew.

Bars, Ireland, Killarney
The Shire Bar

On Main Street there is J.M.Reidy’s which back in the day was a sweet store which rumours have it (or maybe true), that alcohol was served at the rear. However, when we went the place was huge and like a maze to walk around. It has several different small rooms and a couple of bars dotted about to keep the customers happy. We loved this place when the music kicked in by a local band which got the locals rocking.

Bars, Ireland, Killarney
Bars, Ireland, Killarney
We just love this stable door at the rear of J.M.Reidy’s

Ok, saying that there wasn’t really any sights in town, well, that’s not true. Our favourite place to check out was the Killarney Brewing Company where we got to try out a few samples of the beer brewed on site before being taken on a tour.

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Some of the drinks we tasted at the Killarney Brewing Company

Now back in the car we headed south and our first stop was Ross Castle which is situated on Lough (Lake) Leane and has stood here since the 15th century. Guided tours do take place but a lot of visitors come here for hikes as it is also situated in the Killarney National Park and boat tours on the lake.

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Ross Castle

Torc Waterfall was the next stop and is situated just off the Ring of Kerry (by a parking lot). The tall waterfall is situated at the base of Torc Mountain and there is a fantastic hiking route to the summit which starts from the steps next to the waterfall to which we did (thinking that we were going to get a view of the waterfall from above but never came across it!)

Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Ireland
Torc Waterfall

Heading south on the N71 (the road) we passed many view points on the southern side of Loch Leane and we just had to capture these amazing moments. It was so peaceful, not a soul in sight and it felt like we had the whole national park to ourselves. This was a truly amazing moment for us.

Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Ireland

Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Ireland

Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Ireland

Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Ireland
Woodland in the Killarney National Park

Further up the mountain we came to an area known as Ladies View. The view overlooking the Loch Leane and the surrounding mountains down below was once again, a truly amazing moment and again, we had the place to ourselves. To celebrate, we just had to grab a beer and some cake at the cafe which is also situated here.

Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Ladies View
Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Claire enjoying a view from Ladies View

The next town we came across was Kenmare, a charming little town with a charming high streets dotted with small boutique shops, small restaurants and local bars. It can get busy here but we were lucky and managed to get a table to sample more cakes and the delicious hot drinks on offer.

Ireland, Ring of Kerry

Ireland, Ring of Kerry

Just outside of Kenmare is the stunning Dromquinna Manor, a watersite estate that caters for weddings and luxury camping (glamping). This is why we were lucky Claire had family in this area of Ireland because her great aunt knew about the amazing restaurant in Dromquinna Manor, The Boathouse. Here he had possibly the best fish meal in Ireland made with beautiful sourced local fish.

Ireland, Ring of Kerry

Ireland, Ring of Kerry

Past Kenmare the road then heads west towards the Atlantic Ocean and (as we did the Ring of Kerry over two days) the best place to get breakfast was in a charming small town called Sneem. The Village Kitchen located just west off the bridge which goes over the River Sneem. Here we were treated to full Irish breakfast which was simply divine. The cafe does however get busy as the word as got about but if you can get breakfast, then come here.

Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Colourful building in Sneem
Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Fast flowing water on the River Sneem
Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Breakfast at the Village Kitchen

The next sight we came to was the Staigue Stone Fort which was about 4km north of the main road before reaching Castlecove. Here we came across a ruined stone ringfort which was probably built during the late Iron Age (so around 300-400AD give or take) and was built as a defensive stronghold for a king or a local lord.

Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Staigue Stone Fort
Ireland, Ring of Kerry
Staigue Stone Fort

We then just drove, drove, drove, capturing amazing views over towns and the Atlantic Ocean. There are several viewpoints (which are safe to stop in) but not too many. Driving in low season, we found that there were many coaches to avoid on the road so our advice is, don’t drive too crazy. There are other amazing places to stop at like Muckross House, Gap of Dunloe, Molly’s Gap…but we didn’t have the time to do everything and we hope to come back and check out the rest one day. When exploring western Ireland, make sure Killarney and the Ring of Kerry is on the list. The views simply blew our mind and our breathe away.

Ring of Kerry, Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Part of the Wild Atlantic Way route is on the Ring of Kerry
Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Look out for these signs which tells visitors that they are traveling on the Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Beautiful coastline on the western side of the Ring of Kerry


Don’t forget to check out our other posts about Ireland here 

If you like this post and want to share it on Pinterest, then please do so with the photo below. Check out our Pinterest board here

18 Responses

  1. Ireland is such a magical place, especially the Ring of Kerry. The food you had looks delicious. I wish I could have made it to TBEX.

  2. Such beautiful scenery! And food! And towns 🙂 Looks like it was a great trip!

  3. It’s amazing that I was just in Ireland, felt like we saw a ton, and saw none of what you saw! Road tripping Ring of Kerry is definitely something I want to do!

  4. Amazing driving holiday I guess. Loved the pics. Seems typically Irish. The beer even more so:) Loved the woodlands. Seems straight out of GOT:)

  5. A sea salt flavoured ice cream is ALL I need! 😀 It looks like a great road trip with such idyllic sights! especially that sheep running away into the tree canopies! 🙂 Those towns by the coast are so scenic and I can imagine how the road trip would be with such pitstops! The Torc Waterfall is just too pretty!

  6. I love experiencing a town through it’s food, and looks like you did a great job of that. I also love to hear how friendly the locals are and how they wanted to engage in conversation with you. Can’t beat that!

  7. Loved reading this post! Sea salt flavoured ice cream sounds delicious and the views are stunning!

  8. I would love to do this drive but I attempted to drive on the left once and didn’t make it out of the parking lot before coming an inch away from sideswiping someone, so frustrating! May have to do a tour… also frustrating

  9. This sounds like such an epic road trip! I’m hoping to be in Ireland next summer and I have to check some of this off the list. The Shire sounds like my kind of bar – neediness for the win! I also want to drive part if the Atlantic way and this looks like the perfect taste of it!

  10. Road trips are what we fall for and taking it in Ireland will be like a dream. Those towns and those pitstops like a waterfall on the way are so scenic. The food pictures in the post are really tempting and they have already made me hungry.

  11. Cliodhna Ryan

    Ah the Ring of Kerry is one of my favourite drives in Ireland. So glad you got to stop by Murphy’s. Their icecream is officially the best! Next time you should check out the east coast, lots of old towers and historical towns…but I’m from Waterford so maybe I’m biased!

  12. I heard such great things about Killarney and The Shire! I was following along in Facebook and Twitter as you all were in the area for TBEX. Looked like an amazing time. Glad you guys were able to head out of town for a bit. I love a good road trip and the Ring of Kerry sounds fun. Especially love that waterfall!

  13. Looks like you had a lot of fun at TBEX. So much good food, that chicken curry looks divine. What a fun way to explore Ireland via road. I look forward to visiting at some point.

  14. Lots of beer (and some gin) at the beginning of the post, good that you compensated later with some beautiful sights (Torc waterfall is my favorite one) on the road, ha haa. Great read which makes me miss Ireland even more . . . Where to next?

  15. The waterfalls is beautiful. To me, it’s those natural landscapes that are really worth the travel. Keep these posts coming!

  16. Where do I begin? All of the waterfalls, the landscape and the Ross Castle looks amazing. I particularly love your pics of Kenmare. What a cool place to discover that is not really known to most tourists. This is going to be added to my bucket list for sure!

  17. Pat Sheldon

    We are looking at doing the Ring of Kerry next year in our motorhome do you have any advice on where to stay? Thank you

  18. Sallie Bedford

    Sounds like fun
    My dog and I did an 8 week tour of Ireland in 2014, I took a bath in torc waterfall, parked at sneem beside the river, spent a night in the ring fort ( it was too hot in campervan)
    Swam in the sea below ring fort,
    Picnicked at Molly’s gap, found and re-homed a tiny starving kitten, wandered around stunning ruined castles, and so much more
    Ps if you drive anti clickwise you don’t come up against the coaches as they all go anti-clockwise, I was lucky enough to be told this by lovely Irish family at gleninshaquin ( beara ring )
    Great walk around farmers land up into small mountain passes and swam in the loch!
    I was so lucky with the weather
    And despite people telling me that ring of Kerry was too touristy
    It was still my favourite part if this amazing journey, from lands end up to Scotland, right around most of Ireland coast and back to Scotland to go as far north west as I could on British mainland
    ( this part I was lucky enough to have company in shape of my lovely daughter and her dog copper!)
    Thank you for reminding me of my amazing trip I hope you get back to enjoy ring of Kerry again soon!
    I cannot wait to go again and maybe with someone else this time, although I find people talk to you more readily when it’s just you.
    And if you like Kerry, you’ll love
    The beara ring, Mizen head, dingle etc etc

Leave a Reply