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Ring of Kerry drive counter clockwise

We are going to Ireland in early October 2021. Has anyone driven the Ring of Kerry counter clockwise (same direction as the bus route described in Rick's Ireland book)? We would be driving from Dingle to Ring of Kerry and then to Kenmare. Thank you!

Posted by
1972 posts

Yes, I drove it counter clockwise. That was decades ago. I was living in England and took my personal vehicle via ferry to Ireland. So I was well used to driving the roads, roundabouts, narrow lanes, manual transmission, opposite side of the car and road, etc.

I don't remember any difficulties. Though I've seen mentioned that driving the other direction (clockwise) allows you to stop without crossing traffic. When I went (off-season) there probably wasn't a lot of traffic; in fact, I don't remember there being a lot of cars throughout our trip. That has undoubtedly changed. Lots of sheep. We waited several times for them to cross the roads.

Posted by
1198 posts

A friend drove the Ring of Kerry in the direction you're asking about and got stuck behind a bus that was annoying.

Posted by
5084 posts

I did a portion of it counterclockwise, by bicycle. But then I turned around and headed back to Dingle, clockwise. First stint was in the afternoon, and the clockwise time was in the morning. Both required focus to stay upright on the bike, so I can’t say either direction was remarkably better, using 2 wheels. One thought, counterclockwise in a car, both driver and passengers will be looking across half the road, if you’re viewing things off to your left.

There is a “Derry” in Northern Ireland, and the title of your posting says Derry, in case you’d want to change that.

Posted by
1978 posts

By early October I doubt that there will be much of an issue with tour bus traffic. The crowds of mid-summer will have long since dissipated and you'll likely see only a few buses still on the road. Besides, the alternative to taking the coastal route would be to go inland by way of Killarney - a much less scenic way to go.
A pleasant diversion off of the RoK is the Skellig Ring Road - very scenic and with lots of pullouts along the way to enjoy dramatic seascapes and picture postcard views of the Skelligs. There's also the cute little village of Portmagee, the Kerry Cliffs, and a little further along is the village of Ballinskelligs which features a pretty little stretch of beach and the ruins of an old abbey ...the place where the monks from Skellig Michael relocated to when they tired of the isolation of the island. An added attraction is that tour buses still don't go out there - the road is too narrow in places I guess - but there's minimal traffic even at the height of summer.
If you have the time and the interest, a short detour over to the Gap of Dunloe would be a pleasant side trip on a sunny day. It's one of the prettiest little valleys in Ireland and walking, biking, or taking a pony trap up to the head of the glen and back is the best way to enjoy it. A local landmark called Kate Kearney's Cottage is located adjacent to the car park as you approach the gap and would be a nice place for lunch or just a cup of tea and some scones.

Posted by
633 posts

I did it counter-clockwise, but this was 1994 and January, so few tourists. It was one of my best memories of Ireland.

We started in Cork and saw Muckross House and Torc Waterfall near Killarney on our way to the Ring of Kerry. Going north through the Gap of Dunloe, we came across a shepherd droving his flock along the road -- they took up the entire road and we just had to stop and had the sheep walk around and literally over our car! Then we stopped at the famous pub Kate Kearney's Cottage to try some Jameson's and orange squash (apparently a local delight). Then around the Ring of Kerry counterclockwise to Kenmare and on to Dublin.

Agree with the suggestion to take the Skellig Ring Road. The cliffs and the views of the rocks offshore are very dramatic.

Posted by
1614 posts

I agree with Darrenblois that you should also do the Skellig Ring. It was my favorite part. I also did counterclockwise, in March of 2000

Posted by
190 posts

In 2006, my husband, son, his college roommate and I drove that section of the RoK. Cannot remember which direction. Even better than driving the Ring is hiking the inner ring (I don't know if that's what it is actually called, but it's on a map of hikes). There are some who hike it and stay at BnBs along the route. We were there in June and saw only 3-4 people on our hike. Word to the wise, make sure you have a compass as we got wonderfully lost. Ended up a man on a tractor came out of nowhere and directed us to a BnB that also had a bar just in time for a World Cup game! The hike was straight out of Brigadoon!