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7 Days in County Kerry (SW Ireland)

We are allocating 7 days to see sights around Beara, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula. (In a previous post, I asked whether a day trip from this area to Kinsale was possible or whether we should have one night in Kinsale...after driving from Dublin.) We would love to stay in one location but I wonder if we would be better off breaking it up into a 3-day and 4-day segment. Advice and thoughts appreciated!

Posted by
770 posts

I did this last August. We stayed for a week in an incredibly gorgeous thatched-roof cottage in what I thought was a very central location in County Kerry (near Castleisland.) I loved it, but I got so tired of driving in a big circle to whatever destination we picked on a given day and back again. The roads are all posted at 100 km/hr but you cannot possibly go faster than 60 km/hr on most of the tiny roads. And Google consistently wanted to pick the tiniest sheep trails it could find, since it thought you could bomb down them at speed. We had to cross-check all directions on a paper map, which meant my friend had her head in a map all day and I was intensely focused on driving on the left on windy one-lane roads. We quickly reduced our day trip ambitions to closer places, and even stayed 'home' two days. I would not do it again, I would switch locations. Sure loved that cottage though.

Posted by
660 posts

Thanks, Nelly. We have definitely experienced those shortcut GPS/Google routes, which we have called "cow tracks." We might need to call them "sheep trails!" The thatched cottage sounds heavenly.

Posted by
1709 posts

You're right in that you'd need to break the week up into 3 or 4 night segments to be able to cover all of the real estate you propose.
A good base for the northern part of the ROK would be somewhere along the corridor between Castlemaine and Glenbeigh. From there you'll be centrally located for easy day trips to Dingle & Slea Head, Killarney NP, the Gap of Dunloe and the Skellig Ring. Lots to see and do within an hour's drive. Would certainly keep you busy for 4 days.
Kenmare would be a good base for visiting the southern part of the Ring and the Beara peninsula. I'd avoid staying in or near Killarney. Traffic can be murder getting in and out of town during the height of the tourist season. It's a nice place to visit on a day trip but I wouldn't recommend staying there.
Visiting Kinsale as a day trip from Kenmare or Killarney would be a bit of a stretch I think - better to go with your initial instinct to stop there for a night (or 2) on your drive down from Dublin.
Per the previous poster, driving times shown on any of the mapping aps are usually pretty optimistic ... by about 30% in our experience. Need to crank the extra time into your daily planning.

Posted by
660 posts

BTW, I forgot to mention that this planning is for a Sept 2019 trip. Thank you, Robert, for confirming my thoughts about breaking stays into 3 or 4 nights for the three Ring areas. (Killarney town is definitely not in the plans.) It sounds like you advocate for 2 nights in Kinsale. I'll take a look at adding another. I agree about the +30% driving time advice. We discovered that to be the case in the more remote areas of France while on a driving trip last year. We found plenty of cow tracks/sheep trails.

Posted by
1529 posts

Agree with other posters to switch locations. We did 6 nights in county Kerry and stayed 3 nts in Dingle and 3 nts just outside Killarney in Agrahdoe and this worked out well for us. I think it depends on what you want to see.

Posted by
1709 posts

The extra night in Kinsale would give you one full day to explore it at your leisure. The town itself is quite pretty, and the meandering shoreline walk down to Charles Fort is worth doing, especially if you include a stop at Bulman's pub in the village of Summercove along the way. Probably should do it on your way back from the fort or you may never get there - it's a terrific little place.
Interesting factoid: the Irish word for "road" translates literally to "cow path", so the characterization of some of the rural Irish roads isn't as far off the mark as you may have thought.

Posted by
448 posts

Kay, We stayed in Kenmare for three nights while touring the west and we also stayed up in Dingle for 3 nights. Kenmare was great for tour the RofK and also Beara. We hired a private tour for a one day trip around the RofK and it was awesome. A great break for me as the driver and our guide was great. He also helped us plan our self drive of the Beara and we loved it. I would highly recommend the private tour, Paul Brown was a treat! http://www.kenmaretaxitours.com/home.html We also really enjoyed our B&B in Kenmare if you are looking for a spot. http://www.ashfieldkenmare.com/ We did a spring tour.

Posted by
660 posts

Thank you so much for your advice, everyone. I had to laugh with Robert about the Irish translation of road = cow path. How about that I spoke Irish/Gaelic and didn't know it! I really appreciate the tips and I'll check out the BnB and tour guide. History and scenery are our priorities.

Posted by
479 posts

Another vote for Ashfield Inn in Kenmare. Great value; Mary's a gracious hostess (and excellent breakfast chef); and the location is quiet but only a few minutes from "downtown" Kenmare.