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2 Day itinerary in and around Kenmare before Dingle

Another question...

We're traveling from the US to Dublin, Cobh, Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle, and Ennis, staying 2 nights in each place before returning home. (Actually though, Cobh is just a stop on the way to Kinsale.) Anyway...

I'm not sure how we should plan our days in and around Kenmare from Kinsale. We'd like to explore Kenmare itself, see some of the Ring of Kerry peninsula, Killarney National Park, and Muckross House and its gardens. How would you organize this part of the trip before driving to Dingle?

It's been suggested that we drive along N71 through Killarney National Park for stunning views. If we do this and see KNP and Muckross House and its gardens on the way to Dingle though, wouldn't that make for a very long day? I'd like to avoid doing too much on any given day.

Posted by
2225 posts

It's about 2 hours from Kinsale to Killarney NP via the most direct route (the N22). You can save yourselves the aggravation of driving thru Killarney town itself by turning off the N22 early onto the L3015 heading west towards Loch Guitane - it's near the village of Glenflesk on the map. It will eventually join the N71 south of Killarney near Muckross. It's a much more pleasant way to go, but know that the "L" roads in Ireland are rural farm roads and can be narrow in places, requiring you to occasionally give way to approaching traffic. It's no big deal but can be daunting if you're not ready for it. You can preview the road (all your drives in Ireland actually) by using the street view feature on Google maps to see what you're in for in advance.
Once you're finished with your NP visit it's a short drive south to Kenmare - really not that long a day at all.
Next day you can meander clockwise from Kenmare around the ROK along the N70. Depending on your time and interest consider a short detour over to the village of Portmagee, where you can book a trip out to the islands via excursion boat from the Skellig Visitor Center, or just drive the very scenic Skellig Ring just west of town that proceeds along the coastline with nice views of the Skelligs with maybe a stop at the Kerry Cliffs. The tour buses don't go out there so it's a pretty mellow experience.
Time permitting you could also visit the exquisite Gap of Dunloe and walk, bike, or take a pony trap thru one of the prettiest glens in Ireland on your way to Dingle for the night.

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you so much, Robert. I appreciate you taking the time to write your recommendations in such detail!