Summary of contents of this post
Welcome to the third stage of our route through Ireland! After an exciting first stage between Dublin and Waterford, and the next (a little calmer) between Waterford and Killarney, we begin this third one in which we will travel the 256 kilometers that separate Killarney from Tralee, also covering one of the highlights of any trip through Ireland: the Ring of Kerry.
In this stage, we travel the largest tongue of land in the southwest of Ireland, the peninsula of Iveragh, and what is undoubtedly one of the most recognized and touristic areas of Ireland: the Ring of Kerry. Along the way you will find castles, national parks, lakes, charming villages and some areas with cliffs also super pretty. We also dive into the Dingle Peninsula, which we could say is the smallest (and most beautiful) sister of the Ring of Kerry, and which has a really impressive view of the cliffs. Coming? 😉
COMPLETE GUIDE TO IRELAND
If you would like to read more information about our route through Ireland you can find it here: complete guide to Ireland.
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Next, we leave you the video-guide on the third stage of our route through Ireland by car, in case you don’t want to read much:
Detailed tour of the third stage of our route through Ireland
In the following map, you will be able to see in detail which was our route in this third stage of our route through Ireland and in addition all the interesting points of interest that you will find in the way:
We have also prepared this other map with all the points of interest of the third stage of our route through Ireland so that you can get an idea of what you are going to find at each point of the route (these are undoubtedly our favorite places):
Tour and points of interest of the third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry)
You can download HERE the map in high quality to see it better.
What to see on the route between Killarney and Tralee: our route through the Ring of Kerry
Shall we begin our route by the Ring of Kerry? As always, you know that we on our routes got up a lot early, and this day was not going to be an exception, so at 7 in the morning we were already visiting the town of Killarney (which we could not visit the previous evening because we arrived at dinner time). So… here we go!
Ring of Kerry
As I told you a little above, this ring is one of the most famous road routes in Ireland, but the truth is that we were a little disappointed. And not because it does not have beautiful landscapes, but because the truth is that we expected much more. And surprisingly, at this same stage we will see other places we liked and were more impressed with than the Ring of Kerry itself.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry)
The Ring of Kerry, which runs along the Iveragh Peninsula, is famous for many reasons, but one of them is that it is home to Ireland’s highest peak, which actually only measures 1040 meters, the Carrauntoohill. It also houses one of the country’s most famous national parks: the Killarney National Park. And in the westernmost area, the Kerry Ring houses another small ring, the Skellig Ring, with beautiful views of the small Skelling Michael archipelago, where scenes from the latest Star Wars trilogy have been shot (notice to freaks!).
We can’t deceive you, Ireland’s inland landscapes are very cool, but we are sea and cliffs, and it’s true that the Ring of Kerry runs inland longer than along the coast.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry)
We traveled the Ring of Kerry clockwise, that is, we started at Killarney, towards Kenmare, passing through Caherdaniel, Valentia Island, Killorglin and back to Killarney.
All the points of interest we are going to talk about below are inside the Ring of Kerry, except from Killorglin (included). So, let’s get started!
Did you know that Killarney is one of the most visited cities in Ireland? As we told you in the post of the previous stage, in which we did night in Killarney, this is a very touristic city and with a lot of atmosphere. And I say that in a good way, because it won’t be difficult for you to find good accommodation and a good pub for dinner before embarking on your Ring of Kerry adventure.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): KillarneyThird stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Killarney
In addition to the atmosphere, this small town has one of the most impressive cathedrals we visited during our tour of Ireland: Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Seriously, it’s really huge. Super big and super pretty. Construction began in 1842 and connoisseurs say it is a great example of neo-Gothic architecture. It can be visited free every day from 8:00 to 18:30.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Killarney
In Killarney there is also a Franciscan convent that can be visited, but we prefer to go ahead and begin to tour the Ring of Kerry so that we are not late.
Beyond the points of interest themselves, do not miss a stroll through the historic center of the city, full of colorful cottages, streets with lots of charm and pubs where you can listen to live music. Killarney is the perfect city to base before touring Kerry’s ring.
Killarney National Park
Leaving the village of Killarney behind, we entered the Killarney National Park, the first national park in Ireland, which received this title in 1932. Inside the park there are several interesting points of interest that we will talk about below:
1. Ross Castle
On the shores of Lake Leane are the ruins of Ross Castle, a place built in the fifteenth century and has much charm especially if you are lucky (like us) to visit it in complete solitude. The castle can be visited from the inside, although only by looking at it from the outside can you enjoy the views and the surroundings because the outside is very worthwhile.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ross CastleThird stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ross Castle
The entrance to the interior of the castle costs 5 euros per person and is open from 9:30 to 17:45 from March to November.
From here you can take a boat trip around the lake and stroll around the island of Inisfallen, a small island in the middle of the lake known to house the remains of a monastery. You can take a look at the different tours offered by the lake at this link.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ross Castle
2. Parkavonear Castle
The ruins of this cylindrical tower are located within the grounds of The Lake Hotel. They are quite small ruins but they catch on the way to the next point of interest, so you can stop and take a walk because the environment is very cool.
3. Muckross House, Farms and Abbey
This place is a place to which you could dedicate the whole day if you wanted, because it has everything: an impressive Victorian mansion that serves as a museum of a lot of objects and works of art of the time such as paintings, carpets or tapestries. In addition to the mansion, in the enclosure you will also find several farms that recreate the way of life of the time and that are an ideal choice if you travel with children, because there are guides disguised and can see animals and get fully involved in the management of a farm in the Victorian era.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Muckross HouseThird stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Muckross Lake
In this link you can consult the schedules of both points of interest (which can be visited together). The separate price of the mansion and farms is 9.25 euros per person, but if you buy the joint ticket is 15.50 euros, so you save a little.
Approximately one and a half kilometres from Muckross House is Muckross Abbey, one of the highlitghts of the Ring of Kerry. Here you will find the ruins of a monastery (although everyone calls it an abbey) dating back to 1448 and is famous because it houses an immense yew inside. From the enclosure car park to the abbey it is about 15 minutes walk. It’s free to visit.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Muckross Abbey
The enclosure doors close automatically at 20:00 hours. Keep it in mind, because if you stay inside you have to pay 37 euros when they come to open you.
If you like trails, in this area you have the Muckross Lake Loop Trail, a route of just under 10 kilometers where you can enjoy many of the most important points of interest in Killarney National Park. Near here you can visit Torc waterfall, a waterfall of about 20 meters, you only have to lengthen the trail a little.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Muckross Lake Loop Trail
If you have time before heading south, you can approach the Gap of Dunloe, a panoramic mountain pass where you can enjoy spectacular views of lakes and waterfalls. From there you can also trek through Ireland’s highest massif through Cronin’s Yard, Hag’s Glen or take the Devil’s Ladder route on your way to Carrauntoohill Peak.
4. Ladies View
17 kilometres from Killarney we find one of the best viewpoints of the Ring of Kerry: Ladies View. From here you get a beautiful view of the lakes and also there is a cafeteria where you can drink something, eat or pee 😉 Really, take the time to stop here and enjoy a while of the views, because they are impressive.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ladies View
This village of colourful houses and triangular streets is the ideal place to make a stop, take a walk and eat something if it is time to eat. In addition, in Kenmare you can visit Holy Cross Church and the former courts which are now the seat of the tourist office.
Following the route along the Ring of Kerry towards the southwest, we find another interesting village: Sneem. It also has many colorful houses and is also perfect for a technical stop because there are many bars and shops. Ah! And also gas station, which in a roadtrip is essential. The river divides the village of Sneem in two, leaving a square on each side and a beautiful waterfall in the middle under the old stone bridge.
In this area of the Ring of Kerry the scenery is not as impressive as in the Killarney National Park. The road runs between mountains and valleys that do not shine with that characteristic Irish green, at least at this time of year (we went at the end of April). And of course, when we go inland, we don’t see the sea, something that always disappoints a little.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Castlecove Beach
If we keep on advancing through the Ring of Kerry, we reach an area where we are really close to the sea. Castlecove or Whitestrand beach is worth a visit, as you will see on the signs. In this area, you can also detour to visit the circular stone fort Staigue Fort, although it is not one of the most important points of interest on the route.
Caherdaniel is a very small town but it has some bar and some bed & breakfast in case you decide to sleep in this area. There’s also some ruins of a fort, but they’re pretty destroyed. The truth is, there’s not much to see.
In the southernmost part of Caherdaniel there is also another beautiful beach worth seeing: Derrynane Beach. On one side of the beach is Derrynane House (which can be visited) and on the other Abbey Island.
From that town to Waterville there are plenty of cool viewpoints where you’ll find the best views of the ring of Kerry.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry)Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry)
This small town that marks more or less the equator of the Ring of Kerry and is also a very typical holiday destination for golf lovers, is cool for a technical stop. In addition, it has a chuli walk along the seashore that is perfect for stretching your legs.
Waterville is also famous for Charlie Chaplin’s family vacation here at the Butler Arms Hotel.
And leaving Waterville behind, we’re going to do a bit of cheating, because the Ring of Kerry continues north along the N70 to Cahersiveen, but we’re going to detour to cross another beautiful ring that also made our day in this area much more worthwhile: the Skellig Ring.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Skellig Islands
This little-travelled 18-kilometre route links Waterville with Portmagee and the island of Valentia and in recent years has become known as the home of the beautiful Skellig Islands, where several scenes from the Star Wars films were shot (specifically in episode VII and VII, it appears as the island that Luke Skywalker retired from and then trained King on).
Without any doubt, this detour was one of the most worthwhile things of our route by the Ring of Kerry, because the landscapes are simply impressive.
In this small village, at the beginning of the Skellig Ring, you will find a beautiful beach that houses the ruins of a castle and an abbey. The truth is, it’s a spectacular landscape.
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This island, which as I mentioned has become famous for its stellar appearance in the Star Wars saga, is one of Ireland’s treasures, it also houses the ruins of an ancient monastery, one of the most impressive in the country, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Paleochristian monks created a community here and lived on the island between the 6th and 13th centuries. The monastic buildings are about 150 metres above sea level and are reached by a steep 618-step staircase.
We would have loved to visit the islands, but it was impossible for lack of time and because they can only be visited from May to October. Anyway, here are some tips to keep in mind to make the visit:
The number of people who can visit the island is limited (to about 180 a day), so book in advance. there are several companies that make this tour, but this and this are the most times we have seen recommended.prepare warm clothing, raincoat and good shoes.take food and water and go to the bathroom before going to the island, because there is no bathroom there.it is an expensive tour, costs 75 euros per person.the departure of the tour depends on the weather, so it may happen that the boat does not leave because of bad weather or the state of the sea.
Shortly before reaching the village of Portmagee, you will find the small cousins of the cliffs of Moher, the Kerry Cliffs. With more than 300 metres high and 400 million years of history, they are not as impressive, but have good views of the Skellig Islands.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Skellig Ring): Kerry Cliffs
To visit them you have to pay 5 euros per person and they are open from 9:00 to 19:30 hours.
Not that Portmagee has much to do with it, but it has a street full of colourful little houses, like the rest of the typical villages we have seen along the way, which are worth seeing.
Before leaving the Skellig Ring we entered the island of Valentia, although it is true that we could not dedicate all the time that we would have liked, since in this zone several interesting trekkings can be made.
The most important points of interest of the island are the Geokaun Mountain, a beautiful viewpoint, Glanleam House & Gardens and the cliffs of Fogher. There’s also a museum about the Skellig Islands, the Skelling Experience, which they say is worthwhile if you haven’t been able to make the trip to the islands.
Cahersiveen – Ballycarberry Castle
And we’re going back to the Ring of Kerry! And we do it in the town of Cahersiveen.
Cahersiveen is one of the largest towns in the Ring of Kerry along with Kenmare. In the historic area of the town highlights the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church and the Old Barracks Heritage Centre building.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Cahersiveen
But it’s not these two historic buildings we liked most about the area, but the ruins of a small castle on the outskirts: the Ballycarberry Castle.
Third stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ballycarberry CastleThird stage of our route through Ireland (Ring of Kerry): Ballycarberry Castle
This castle is closed to the public but can be seen from the outside. And it’s worth it! In fact, you don’t have to come in to appreciate it. In the vicinity of this area there are also two circular stone forts but they are not worth much if you are out of time. They are the fort of Cahergal and the fort of Leacanabuile, built in the ninth and tenth centuries.
In the small village of Glenbeigh you will find the ruins of some towers: The Glenbeigh Towers Castle, which are worth it just because they are on their way to Killorglin, where we end our journey through the Ring of Kerry.
Killorglin is the last town we visited in the Ring of Kerry. It doesn’t have much to do beyond a festival that takes place in August that we’re not going to talk about, because as you know, we’re totally against animal mistreatment.
Once we leave the Ring of Kerry behind, we go into what is for us one of the highlights of the trip: the Dingle peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula is named after one of the most important villages in the area: Dingle.
Third stage of our route through Ireland: Dingle Peninsula
This peninsula and its landscapes have pleased us infinitely more than the ring of Kerry. If it wasn’t for Skellig’s ring it wouldn’t have been worth it, since the most interesting and what we liked most about the Ring of Kerry is at the beginning: Killarney National Park and Ross Castle.
But let’s take a closer look at our route through the Dingle Peninsula and its most important points of interest:
Our first stop on the Dingle Peninsula is this kilometer long beach which has also appeared in the cinema on numerous occasions.
Dingle is a perfect city for lunch or dinner. It also has an aquarium and a well-known distillery, but beyond its colorful little houses it doesn’t have much to do with it. It has a lot of atmosphere at night, so it may be perfect for stopping for dinner if you sleep in this area.
Third stage of our route through Ireland: Dingle
Slea Head Drive
And although it’s true that it takes a while to get here (and we were raining all the way), it’s worth INFINITY, because it’s a beautiful cliff area furrowed by a winding road that we loved. Really, for us this little road was one of the most beautiful things we saw during our trip through Ireland.
This circular route of approximately 50 kilometres begins and ends in the city of Dingle. During the journey you will see cliffs, cliffs, countless birds and also numerous archaeological sites, such as Dunbeg Fort or Beehive Huts (both paid and that we could not visit because they were already closed when we passed). Keep in mind that many of these deposits are managed by private individuals and each one charges what they like (about 3 euros).
Third stage of our route through Ireland: Dingle PeninsulaThird stage of our route through Ireland: Dingle Peninsula
Leaving behind Ventry, famous for its beach, and the sites I just talked about, we arrive at Slea Head Viewing Point (not without enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way), from where we get beautiful views of Dunmore Head (also featured in Star Wars) and the Blasket Islands.
Not counting the islands, Dunmore Head is the westernmost point in Europe and from here you will enjoy one of Ireland’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Back in Dingle there are several things you can visit: the impressive Clogher Strand beach, Gallarus Oratory and the Kilmalkedar church. And we got back to Dingle.
There are no gas stations on Slea Head Drive (the last one is in Dingle), so keep this in mind when planning your route.
On our way to Tralee, which is the city we would sleep in that night, we traveled the Dingle Peninsula’s northern road through the beautiful Conor Pass. The Conor Pass is a super cool mountain pass, where you can see the sea from the north and south. The downhill road is spectacular because you get beautiful views of the lakes and there is also a beautiful waterfall.
Third stage of our route through Ireland: Conor PassThird stage of our route through Ireland: Conor Pass
At 456 metres high, this mountain pass is the highest point on Ireland’s public roads and is certainly a must-see on the Dingle Peninsula.
And we get to Tralee! The city in which we will spend tonight before starting the route the next day, which is also the county capital. A city more immersed in its daily life than in tourism, so the truth is that there is not much to see and do here, beyond having dinner in some good pub before going to sleep.
If you want, you can walk along Prince Street and Bridge Street, visit Holy Cross Church or St. John’s Church, and go to Ashe Memorial Town Park and visit the Hall that houses the Kerry Museum.
Close to Tralee is Blennerville, a small town that houses Ireland’s largest flour mill and is still in operation today.
Where to eat in the third stage of the Route through Ireland
As you know, because we told you about it in the guide to Ireland, if we wanted to make the most of this trip, we had to save as much time as we could. That is why in this third stage we pull the food that we had bought in the supermarket the day before at lunch time and also at dinner time.
Picnic of our third stage by the Ring of Kerry
At midday we had an improvised picnic next to Ballycarberry Castle and at night we had dinner at the lodge while watching one of the best chapters in the history of Juego de Tronos: La Larga Loche.
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Here are some interesting options for dinner at Tralee:
Where to sleep in the third stage of the Route through Ireland
In this third stage crossing the Ring of Kerry we stayed in Los Molinos, a huge and beautiful house. The lovely owner and the room and bathroom were luxurious. The bed was super comfortable and in the morning, if you don’t leave home as soon as we do, you can have breakfast with her. Super recommended. We would no doubt repeat if we returned because we were treated luxuriously.
Third stage of our route through Ireland: Los Molinos in TraleeThird stage of our route through Ireland: Los Molinos in TraleeThird stage of our route through Ireland: Los Molinos in Tralee
We pay 58 euros for the night spent in this accommodation and the truth is that we recommend without any doubt if you do a route similar to ours.
Here are some superbly rated Booking accommodation options around Tralee:
Tralee Benners Hotel >> 8,8/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 66 euros la noche sin desayuno.Glenfort House >> 9,2/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 63 euros la noche con desayuno.Tralee Townhouse >> 8.6/10 of Booking score and about 55 euros the night without breakfast.
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