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Dingle Peninsula + Ring of Kerry Advice Needed

Day 1- Cliffs of Moher and hotel in Tralee. Hotel is already booked and I'm happy with plans for this day.

This is where I would really appreciate your advice!
Day 2- I'd like to visit the Dingle Peninsula (as well as Dingle town and Slea Head). I'll be driving South from Tralee in the morning. I will have already done several days of driving on my own at this point, and I've heard that driving along the Dingle Peninsula can be scary maneuvering past buses and narrow roads. I want to enjoy the scenery and not have to be "on" the whole day, so I'm considering doing a day bus tour. Any thoughts on this plan? I don't want to spend a lot of money for a private tour. Any good tour companies I should check out?

I haven't booked a hotel for the night of day 2 yet. I've read that Killarney is very crowded and touristy. Of the few day tours I've seen, they depart from Killarney though. I don't want to leave our suitcases in the trunk the entire day, so I'll need to allow time to stow our bags at our next hotel in Killarney or nearby area before taking the Dingle Peninsula day tour.

Day 3- I'd like to drive along the Ring of Kerry and possibly see either the Ross Castle or Muckross House, if time allows. I won't be upset though if I skip them and only do the Ring of Kerry. Is the Ring of Kerry easier to drive on my own than the Ring of Dingle?

I'd like to have the hotel be the same location for night 2 and 3. Any suggestions on city to stay in and driving vs. day tours?

Thank you!

Posted by
5235 posts

I would like to think by early September the summer hordes will have disappeared but that’s merely speculation.

In all honesty time of year will make a difference as far as traffic and tour busses on the road.

I drove Slea Head in November a few years back, never saw a tour bus and only 4 other cars. Same with the Gap Of Dunloe.

Posted by
128 posts

Hi!
We drove through (rather I drove through) the Dingle Peninsula and stayed in Killarney this week. Driving to Dingle itself isn’t difficult, no more so than the Cliffs of Moher. I didn’t find Slea Head drive west of Dingle to be terribly difficult. Drivers are careful. The only squeeze we had was after we left the Gallarus Oratory on our way back to Dingle because we didn’t want to continue on the drive. It was a single lane road and we did meet up with a car going the opposite direction. He backed up a few feet so he could move into a lay by. We like our independence as we like to make our own stops. But a tour gives you the chance to look out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

As for Killarney, Ross Castle and Muckross House are not far from each other. The car park at Ross Castle is not large, so I recommend going there first in the morning. We arrived around 9:45 and could easily find a spot but when we left around 11:30, it was full and people were parking on the street a 1/2 mile away. Muckross House is about 15 minutes from there with a larger car park. Killarney is busy with tourists, certainly!

Posted by
20 posts

@Claudia- Thank you for your feedback. We’re going in early September.

Posted by
226 posts

We've made two trips to Ireland in September, one early and one mid-month, and didn't find the traffic on Slea Head or ROK to be a problem.

Posted by
16768 posts

Also think about getting an early start or asking your hotel what time is less busy.

Posted by
20 posts

@mlbruels5 Thank you for your feedback! I'm doing all of the driving around the island, so I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. I do think I'll look into a tour company for a day tour to give myself a break from driving. That's good info on Ross Castle and Muckross House. I may stay in Killarney due to convenience.

@Laura We'll try to get an early start, but that can be said about every site that we're driving to. Early starts are a good idea when possible.

Any suggestions on hotels in Killarney or nearby?

Posted by
20 posts

@Knowsley Thank you for your feedback. It sounds like the drive is doable, but I think after several days of back to back driving, I will need a break and since I'm on vacation I would like to enjoy an occasional beer at lunch! :) I'm going to book a day tour and will probably drive the ring of Kerry on my own so that I can make a stop at the Muckross House or Ross Castle.

Posted by
128 posts

Killarney Hotel....we stayed at The Lake Hotel and really enjoyed it. It is a bit out of the tourist area and is on Lough Lein itself. After a day of touring we found it restful and relaxing. Staff is wonderful, food is good and the bartender knows how to make a scotch martini!

Posted by
221 posts

If you want to stay out of Killarney try Coffey’s Rivers Edge Inn in Killorglin. Nice small village about 8 miles north if Killarney on the Ring of Kerry. Also convenient for Gap of Dunloe.

Posted by
82 posts

We did both those drives in early May and didn't have any issues with tour buses - I only saw them parked in a rest area, so we must have timed it right. I did hear a number of people say they had fallen asleep on the bus, so not sure how much they actually saw. Plus when you are driving yourself you can go off on side roads and stop anytime you want to spend more time seeing something. Both drives are not that hard, and the scenery is amazing. We actually liked Ring of Kerry better, but Dingle Peninsula was spectacular as well. Enjoy it!!