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Dingle to Kenmare

Looking for comments on the best route between these two. I think we will have the whole day to get between the two if we wish, so was thinking about taking this route R561 > N70 > R563 through the Gap of Dunloe > R568 > N71. Prefer scenic and slow over direct, open to other ideas on the Iveragh peninsula, as I don't think we'll do the ROK on this trip.

I don't know if the below link will take you to googlemaps.,+County+Kerry,+Ireland/Gap+of+Dunloe,+County+Kerry,+Ireland/Kenmare,+County+Kerry,+Ireland/@52.0284908,-10.2051595,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x484ffbc7249c4991:0xa00c7a99731cc00!2m2!1d-10.2640135!2d52.1409389!1m5!1m1!1s0x4845401f639fada9:0xa812f93c5e502a19!2m2!1d-9.63592!2d52.02467!1m5!1m1!1s0x48456cab08fc9d19:0xa00c7a9973217f0!2m2!1d-9.5835203!2d51.8801017!3e0


Posted by
1997 posts

That is a lovely and very scenic route BUT be warned, depending what time you drive Gap of Dunloe, you will have to contend with jaunting cars, bikes and walkers. It is often suggested the only time you should drive along the Gap of Dunloe is very early in the morning or late evening. During the day, it is packed with walkers, cyclists and jaunting cars. The road is narrow and cars drivers may not be appreciated. Jaunting car drivers have been known to give them a hard time and an evil eye. You may find this description helpful.

Posted by
2881 posts

waseley's comments and accompanying links are the best I've seen regarding what is always a contentious issue, ie whether to attempt to drive your car thru the Gap. Can you do it? Yes you can. Should you? No, you shouldn't - it's supposed to be reserved for local traffic only though you won't see the local Garda enforcing it - they have better things to do.
If you feel that you must give it a try then I'd suggest timing your drive so that you're thru the Gap before the jaunting cars start staging from the vicinity of Lord Brandon's Cottage to Kate Kearney's to begin their day ... which would be before 7:30 AM or thereabouts.
A better alternative (IMO) would be to continue around the peninsula to the Knightstown ferry over to Valencia Island - a pretty little place in its own right and one that's usually overlooked by most tourists. There's a pleasant hike out to an old Martelo Tower that features picture-postcard views of the Skelligs. Good place for a picnic too if you're so inclined. The Skellig Center at Portmagee is worth a stop even if you don't book one of the boat trips out to (but not landing at) the islands.
The Skellig Ring Road just west of Portmagee is a delight. Tour buses don't go out there so traffic is light. From the Kerry Cliffs you'll be treated to more spectacular seascapes and views of the Skelligs - another very pretty place. Further along the Ring are the ruins of an old abbey and castle on the beach near the village of Ballinskelligs. It's one of our favorite scenic drives in Ireland. You can preview any of the routes using the Street View feature on Google Maps to get an idea of what you'll be dealing with when behind the wheel.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you for the warnings about Gap of Dunloe! That does not sound like a fun morning, or whatever time we would get there. I had that driving ROK would make for too long of a day. I fully realize one could allot days for this, but given time stopping at all the points you mentioned, Robert, what would be a reasonable amount for this drive? (Taking into account that we will have been 4 days in Dingle and will have 4 days in Kenmare, so we'll have been able to explore the southern coast of Iveragh pennisula as well as make day trips to places on the west side of the Kerry peninsula once we're in Kenmare.

Also, what time would you suggest setting out from Dingle in order to bypass the tour bus traffic as much as possible on ROK?.This will be at the very beginning of June.

Thank you!

Posted by
75 posts

I'm planning nearly the same drive in May but will be stopping at Killarney National Park, via the road through Killarney on the way to Kenmare, rather than Gap of Dunloe. It'll add some time but I've also read the warnings about driving the Gap. Haven't been there before so can't advise on tour busses.