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What time does bus traffic end on the ROK?

In general, what time are the big coach tours done on the Ring of Kerry in late April?

We'll be stopping off Kenmare en route to a B&B near Ballinskelligs. Right now we have a spa appointment at the Park Hotel that ends around 4:30, and I was wondering if I should spend a bit more time in the Kenmare area before heading off to avoid the bulk of the coach traffic.

Thanks in advance! Leaving in about 10 days and SO EXCITED! :)

Posted by
1172 posts

To be honest, we never found the coach traffic to be what I had read about and this was in late July. I would not worry about it

Posted by
359 posts

Echo that. It's not as bas as made out. If you do run into a bit of a road squeeze....we did yesterday near Ladies View outside of Killarney just let the experienced bus driver direct you...he will wave you over or wave you past. It's tight but doable and not dangerous. Also on the Skellig Ring no buses at all. After 4-4:30 you see few if any on the rest of the ROK. The worst jams we had yesterday were the few buses wading their way through the road construction outside Killarney.....UGGH.

Btw we had a TON of fun taking the little used Ballagh Beama pass from Sneem to Kilorglin. Insanely beautiful, stark and utterly remote. Well worth it but not for the faint of heart. Drops to the side of a narrow one lane, two way road with no hedge, guardrail or fence....but seriously an incredible life experience. Pliers were needed to tear my knuckles from the steering wheel.....but SO worth it !

Posted by
72 posts

Another in agreement. We passed 3 or 4 buses on ROK on Monday. Not a problem at all.

Ewe, we love that pass! Didn’t drive it this time, though. Drove the Healy Pass today; the top was in the clouds, talk about a hair-raising drive!

Posted by
1980 posts

As the others have already said the traffic really isn't a problem any more - the buses do keep it moving pretty well. Used to be that the Ring had several narrow places with sharp turns that could make things a little hairy if you were meeting a bus head-on, but Ireland spent a lot of EU money several years ago to widen it and now it's no big deal. The only aggravation (at times) will be if you get stuck behind a caravan of several buses in a line, but the easy cure for that is to just pull over and separate yourselves from any congestion - makes for a much more pleasant driving experience.
And as was mentioned, taking the detour out along the Skellig Ring Road is highly recommended if you have the time. The tour buses don't go out there which makes it a very pleasant excursion.

Posted by
16 posts

Perfect! Thanks all! We're staying two nights on the Skellig Ring, so we'll definitely do lots of exploring there :) And that road sounds fabulous - some of the craziest roads we took in England (in Dartmoor Natl Park & Cornwall) led to the most beautiful places.

Posted by
139 posts

We did the dreaded clockwise deal including the Skellig ring and ran into exactly ZERO buses headed in the other direction. Then came home to have people on the internet tell me that was impossible and we had done it exactly wrong. The Killarney National park area had the scariest section so if you're already in Kenmare you've done the part where the buses would be most frightening.

Posted by
409 posts


Last summer there were 86 buses in one day. So YES you should be aware! However, you'r going against them, from Kenmare to Ballinskelligs.... your spa appointment ends just about when the buses will be passing to Killarney..... you'll be in one of the best hotels in all of Ireland....... so just MELT into the Park Hotel for a bit, and go after 5:30! The sun isn't setting until late, now - you'll have plenty of sun! If you're lucky you'll get sunset over the sea in Waterville as you drive through!

Expat in Waterville