From mountain peaks to glacial-covered valleys, the Ring of Kerry offers something for everyone.
First, you should hike along the lakeshore at the Killarney National Park. Or take a short drive to the Gap of Dunloe, where you’ll get stunning views of both Killarney and Muckross. In addition, a trip to Kenmare Bay is a great way to see one of the largest colonies of seals in the world.
Next, cruise the Skellig Michael, a scenic island, for amazing views of birds and wildlife. Lastly, plan a short trip to Sneem for a fun day out with family and friends.
The Ring of Kerry is the perfect location to discover some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland.
This article mentions the specific details of each ‘must-see’ location on your journey through the Ring of Kerry.
1. Explore the Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is one of Ireland’s most charming destinations, offering picture-perfect scenery, spellbinding landscapes, charming beaches, and medieval ruins.
You can go on a deer spotting adventure with your family, cycle along the green hills, and gaze at the waterfalls. You can also visit Killarney playground to keep your child entertained with swings, slides, zip wire, and see-saw.
Although the entry is free, you have to pay for amenities and different activities. This park is suitable for all ages!
At first glance, Killarney might seem like any other typical Irish town. But delve deeper, and you’ll soon see that this place is much more than what meets the eye.
A treasure trove of natural, cultural, and historical wonders awaits you at Killarney National Park.
The park is home to the following tourist points:
- Muckross House & Garden
- Muckross Abbey
- Torc Waterfall
- Ross Castle
- Inisfallen Island
- The Meeting of the Waters
The golden beaches, lush green hills, and crystal-clear lakes of Killarney National Park are the perfect place to spend your vacation with families and friends.
You need at least two days to cover the amazing spots. So get closer to nature through multiple activities, including kayaking, boating, horse riding, hiking, and cycling.
Spend your dream day immersed in the lush, rugged landscape of Killarney National Park. Climb mountains, walk trails, paddle lakes, and discover hidden waterfalls.
In addition, hike through emerald landscapes among magnificent mountains, rushing rivers, and majestic lakes. Marvel at the abundant wildlife as you trek along the coastal cliffs.
If you want to enjoy the diverse landscapes, spring and autumn are the best times to visit Killarney.
As you’re forking out on your dream holiday in Killarney, it’s important to stay in a place with all the luxurious amenities.
The Killarney Haven Apartments are nestled in the romantic town of Killarney, close to the famous lakes and the renowned Ring of Kerry.
So now you can get the most out of your stay!
2. Drive or walk through the Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley are both breathtaking natural beauties intertwined with ancient history. This majestic glacial valley can be best seen on foot to appreciate the surrounding sights.
A drive-through the Gap of Dunloe takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. The most popular route for walking is approximately 11 miles and takes 2.5 hours from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. It’s essential to take precautions if you’re travelling with kids.
The Gap of Dunloe stretches between the Macgillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain. Here five lakes join the River Loe and create a stunning landscape.
No matter what season, a trip to the Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley in Kerry is a chance to breathe in the pure Irish air that fills the valleys beneath the MacGillycuddy Reeks range.
A picturesque road winds through the valley that is about 18 km in length. However, it gets extremely crowded during peak season. So the early morning is the best time to drive this route.
The road is winding and narrow, so you have to be careful when driving.
The scenery along the way includes lakes, glacial valleys, rivers, woodland, and meadows with grazing sheep.
Many prehistoric sites include ring forts, standing stones, and other trinkets from ancient times.
You can also get some exercise as you reflect on the beauty while walking. As long as your children have a decent pair of shoes, they won’t have trouble walking.
Bring some water and snacks for breaks in between, and enjoy the peaceful beauty.
In short, the scenery, lakes, and waterfall make it a popular attraction for tourists.
The Gap of Dunloe has a family-friendly boat tour that can whisk you around the area in style, with a driver to point out all the important landmarks. For instance, you can buy a family ticket for two adults and two children at $120.
The Gap of Dunloe is a perfect getaway for families to spend time together. The rocks around the Lake provide the children with many climbing opportunities, while parents can take in the amazing scenery and surroundings.
Spend the day hiking in Ireland’s most beautiful glacial valley. Take in the spectacular views, breathe in the fresh air, and bravely test your luck at the stone-wishing bridge.
3. Spot seals in Kenmare Bay
Kenmare Bay is a national beauty. It stretches 30 miles long and 12 miles wide. Moreover, this splendid inland waterway is one of the richest marine habitats in Ireland, particularly for seals and seabirds.
With multiple bird species, beautiful nature trails, and stunning seal colonies, Kenmare Bay is the complete package for an adventurous holiday with family. A sea safari cruise is an excellent way to explore the scenery and wildlife of Kenmare Bay.
Kenmare is one of the leading seal-watching locations in Ireland.
The county is undoubtedly the perfect scenic getaway for various people, from food lovers and nature enthusiasts to art and cultural explorers.
There’s never a dull moment on a sea safari cruise. From the moment the boat pulls away from the shore, you’ll experience all kinds of surprises, from seals basking in the sun to lively commentary.
You’re sure to leave with amazing memories of an unforgettable trip.
And if you’re fortunate, you might spot a dolphin or two!
The Seafari cruise boat trip offers a panoramic view of the clear waters and sandy shores.
The cruise is for families with adoring young children, honeymooners, or couples celebrating any special occasion.
This tour is suitable for people aged 3-93. The rates vary according to your age and package. However, the standard rate for adults is €25 or $28.63.
You will have the time of your life here!
4. Cruise the Skellig Michael
The Skellig Michael sits about eight miles off the Kerry coast. It’s one of the most significant early Christian monastic settlements in Ireland, dating back to the 6th century. Moreover, the Skellig Michael boat trip takes approximately 2.5 hours and is the perfect way to enjoy the islands’ beauty.
You’ll witness extraordinary scenes of nature, like seals resting on rocks and seabirds soaring above the ocean. You can also see the steps the monks carved into the rock in the 5th century. It’s a beautiful reminder of the long journey they endured through an isolated landscape.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or family adventure, the Little Skellig provides breathtaking views of Ireland’s Atlantic ocean shores.
For the Star Wars lovers, this place is like a pilgrimage site where you can feel like you’re in the final scene of the Last Jedi.
This peaceful location offers you a glimpse at some of the most awe-inspiring panoramic views as you traverse alongside the limestone cliffs that truly capture the magic of Ireland.
You’ll see waterfalls and rare wildlife as you wind your way up to Skellig Michael.
With the setting sun reflecting in the waves, you are in for a breathtaking experience when viewing Skellig Michael from this vantage point.
The Skelling Islands Eco tour departs daily from the Portmagee marina in the morning and afternoon.
Once you arrive at the small Skelligs, the gannet colony will greet you. Then, you can enjoy the views of magnificent cliffs, red rocks, and the beautiful birdlife that flourishes in this small ocean area.
The next and final stop on tour is to Skellig Michael, a ringed island with a lighthouse and a monastery. Known for its beautiful wild landscapes and prehistoric rock architecture, it contrasts the mainland.
The Skellig Michael tour around both islands cost €40 for adults and €35 for kids aged 2-11.
Make sure to pack your rain gear, and don’t forget the camera!
Since you can’t get out of the boat during the whole trip, this tour is safe and entertaining for kids.
5. Visit Sneem
Sneem is about 45km from Killarney. It is on the south of Iveragh Peninsula, bordering County Kerry. Sneem is surrounded by some of the most incredible mountain scenery in Ireland and has abundant attractions and local Irish culture to keep your family occupied.
You can stop for a swim at Derrynane beach or visit the hilly plateau where the ruins of Staigue Fort are located. Snuggled between the coastal hills and the southwest sprawl of Ring of Kerry, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and great nightlife.
The beautiful weather, the excitement of a new city, and the friendly faces will immerse you into a nostalgic wonderland.
A picturesque beach is just a few steps away. Your family will love the sandy shores, dunes, and calm waters for swimming.
If your children are into history, you can spend some time at the Staigue Stone Fort.
This unique site has a stunning view out to the sea, beautiful stone-cut cliffs, and ramparts. The stonework looks as if it’s straight from a castle in an English war film.
Get away from the city life, relax by the stream with a book or two, or enjoy some live music at one of the local pubs.
You can take a guided tour in Sneem or visit on your own. No entry fees, no age limit!
The Sneem River House offers a glamorous way to spend a few quiet days in the Sneem countryside. In addition, this cottage is very spacious, making it ideal for up to 12 people.
The kitchen is spacious and boasts crisp granite worktops, an efficient range cooker, and a fridge/freezer. The living space features a comfortable wood burner for chilly evenings, plus beautiful maple flooring.
What’s not there to love?
The lush environment of the garden and woodland surroundings will offer a tranquil retreat, perfect for those seeking revitalisation and a peaceful ambience.
The Ring of Kerry offers a wide selection of hiking trails, lakes, caves, and rivers that you can explore on foot, bikes, cycles, and boats. You shouldn’t skip visiting the Killarney National Park, the Gap of Dunloe, Kenmare Bay, Skellig Michael island, and Sneem. Whether you want an adventure, a romantic getaway, or a few days to unwind, you’ll find it here.
What’s better than a sweet sleep in the comfiest of beds after a long, rewarding day of hiking and driving?
Relax Ireland offers you the best places to stay in Ireland, including luxury apartments, trendy hotels, and unique cottages around the Ring of Kerry.
Make the most of your holidays!