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How much time to allow for the Ring of Kerry drive ?

It’s going to be me (51 with mobility issues from an injury) and my 78 yr old mom. We are going in October hopefully.

We love scenic drives and cute small towns. No hiking for us.

What would be a reasonable amount of time to allocate for the ring of Kerry drive with appropriate stops ?

I’m excited for this trip. My husband passed away in April from cancer and I need something to look forward to. He loved travel.

Posted by
1069 posts

Depends where you're starting from and ending. We started and ended in Cork and it was a full day adventure.

Posted by
776 posts

OMG yes that would help. We will be staying in either Kenmare or Killarney. Not sure which yet.

Posted by
776 posts

Darren, are you really from Moncton ? I’m in Shediac. Small world.

Posted by
4280 posts

Ah photobearsam, I am sorry. I am glad you and your mom will be doing what all three of you love. ❤️

Posted by
1422 posts

photosbearsam, I am very sorry for your loss. I hope your trip brings solace and peace.

I would alot a full day for the Ring of Kerry. That way if something strikes your fancy and you want to just sit and watch the birds, have a little snack or if you find an interesting pub, you can do so without feeling rushed. Definitely alot a full day if you are adding Killarney National Park to your Ring of Kerry day.

Posted by
776 posts

We have a separate day to go around the Killarney National Park. If we head for the ring at 10 am and spend the whole day hopefully we will be done before it gets dark.

Posted by
4280 posts

A day for each would suit me. Plenty of time without a rush to enjoy the beauty that Ireland is full of.

Posted by
32 posts

What a nice trip for you. Wishing you wonderful travels with precious memories.

For Ring of Kerry - full day (or close to it) seems to be the way to go. And as early as possible to avoid tour buses also is practical.

Kenmare is a smaller town to navigate and is a charming place. We only spent one night there and I plan to go back and spend more time there. That would be my recommendation.

Killarney seems to be the more common place to stay and since you have a day planned around Killarney, it might make more sense to stay there a few nights.

You will, no doubt, get better tips from more regular forum folks.
This is a treasure trove of great info.

{A note, I was on a Maritime trip a few years ago and was in Moncton on the way to Bay of Fundy (WOW) to St. John. Our amazing bus driver lived outside of Moncton on a bit of acreage. Beautiful area. Loved it. }

All the best

Posted by
75 posts

I would recommend staying in Kenmare vs. Killarney. It's a charming small town. We drove through Killarney in May and it was very crowded and congested. The ROK drive will take most of the day, factoring in lunch, stopping at viewpoints, potty breaks and shopping. If you've never driven in Ireland before, be advised the roads are narrow and the awesome vistas will demand that you pull over at every opportunity. If I did it again, I'd carve it into 2 days, but Kenmare makes a great base from which to begin and end. As many people have said, when visiting Ireland, do yourself a favor, slow down and avail yourself of every opportunity to interact with the Irish people. It will be a true balm for the soul. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1069 posts

Some highlights to watch for in and around Killarney National Park:

  • Muckross House. A beautiful mansion and gardens on a lake. Think Downton Abbey. https://www.muckross-house.ie/
  • Torc Waterfall. Not huge or anything, but very pretty. Right near Muckross House. A very slight walk from the parking lot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torc_Waterfall
  • Gap of Dunloe. Usually, but not necessarily part of the Ring of Kerry. A single lane road, best done south to north, meaning doing the Ring counterclockwise. My abiding memory of this was being met by a drover and his flock of sheep that swarmed around and, yes, over our car, to get to their field. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gap_of_Dunloe
  • Kate Kearney's Cottage. At the north end of the Gap of Dunloe. Nothing fancy, but a nice Irish pub to warm yourself up inside and out. https://katekearneyscottage.com/

We did this all in one (long) day starting from Cork. One of the best days in Ireland.

PS: yes, I live in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Posted by
776 posts

Great advice all. I’m taking many notes.

Darren, howdy neighbor.

Posted by
3287 posts

We left Killarney at 8:30am and were back at our hotel at 5:00pm. I drove the ROK by myself with my 2 kids in the backseat. We made lots of stops, sheepdogs, Daniel O’Connell’s house, Skellig Michael visitor center etc.

Posted by
776 posts

That sounds like my kind of day. Thank you all for the help.

Posted by
7562 posts

Based on advice from friends in Macroom (In County Cork, between Kinsale and Kenmare/Killarney), we visited Ross Castle, rather than Muckross House. We turned off at Muckross House, but there was a huge number of cars and people on the grounds, and we continued onwards. Ross Castle grounds (very close to Killarney) had a fair number of people, too, but very few visited the tower house itself. I know that you’ve mentioned Blarney Castle in posts from a few years ago, photobearsam, and Ross is much more accessible, without the super narrow, super steep steps, and way fewer stairs.

There’s a wide concrete ramp leading to Ross Castle, and the tour was fascinating, about life in such a Medieval structure, and how things were built and maintained. There were some stairs, but only 3 floors, small group with outstanding guide, pace slow enough for everyone on our tour, and well worth the visit. The adjacent lake and lunch opportunity (free WC, too) were very welcome.

We also got behind a rental car (driver maybe not used to driving on the left, and/or on winding roads?), going less than 30 KPH for the longest time. We couldn’t get around it due to oncoming traffic or no-passing stripes in the centerline of the road, and that made driving slower than it would’ve otherwise been. N roads are faster and wider, R roads are narrower and generally slower, with the occasional tractor to add to the driving challenges. We finally got to a passing opportunity and got past the car. We did make plenty of stops, but a slow car ahead made things even slower. We took 2 days, spending a night in Caherdaniel to go to Skellig Michael the next day.

Macroom has a farmer’s market every Tuesday. If you’re interested in oak-smoked salmon, be sure to stop at K.R.D. Fisheries in Glenbeigh ( krdfisheries.com ).

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I wish you and Mom a wonderful trip - it will be fabulous!

Posted by
776 posts

Cyn, what an amazing memory you have. Covid stopped us from our trip back then. Thank you so much for the info. Exactly what I was looking for. Great advice.