Ireland: Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry Driving Time

I am in the process of planning for an Ireland trip in September. I am trying to decide where to stay based on our driving time. Is it possible to drive the Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry in one day if you are following Ricks guidebooks? How long will each take to drive if you follow his route and stops?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

I've only driven the Dingle Peninsula, but I'd strongly recommend against trying to drive both the peninsula and the ring in one day. It takes at least an hour and a half just to drive from Killarney to Dingle--and a lot more if the weather is clear and you take the opportunity to go over Connor Pass. To do justice to the peninsula requires stopping frequently and taking walks. I'm sure the same is true of the ring.

Posted by Emily
Boise, ID, USA
1 posts

Mike,

I will be planning a trip to Ireland for the summer following your trip (Summer 2011). I would love to hear about your trip after your return and any advice you may have.

Thanks!

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Okay so we need to split them up. I read the tour in Rick's book but it doesn't state how long it should take.

How long does it take to drive and make stops for the Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry each?

Thanks

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

I spent about 4 hours driving the Dingle Peninsula. That was with stopping wherever I wanted and taking my time. I didn't get to the ROK, but I suspect it takes much longer because it is so much bigger.

Have a great trip! I loved Ireland and hope to go back some day. We enjoyed staying in Dingle. It was my favorite place we went to.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Thanks, dingle in 4 hours is very doable. The book states the thre ROK will take 5 hours but I don't know if that includes stops.

Posted by William
APO, AE, United Kingdom
11 posts

Mike, I am US military stationed in the UK. We are going to Ireland in February and attempting to book a few places on the south coast (Kinsale) and Dingle based upon Rick's advice and Frommer's. We are looking at Fox Mount Country House in Waterford (info@foxmountcountryhouse.com) and Brown's Townhouse in Kinsale (info@brownstownhouse.com) -- awaiting confirmation from both. We will let you know how they are.

We also took Rick's advice of traveling by car outside Dublin and splitting ROK and Dingle across 2 days. The idea for a February trip was endorsed by our Brit friends and captured by Rick's philosophy "there is never bad weather, just bad clothing". The Brits go anywhere at any time. The Brits have told us they've been to Ireland in the summer and it was so rainy and foggy they though it was winter and others that have been in the winter and had glorious weather. We booked a car through Malone Car Rental (malonecarrental.com), based upon advice of our B&B owner in Dublin, Abbott Lodge (abbottlodge@eircom.net). The lodge is located in the city center 2 blocks (about 300m) from where the Airlink bus drops off) and the Malone is across the bridge at the back entrance of Trinity college. We booked a Volvo for our family of 5 at half the cost of Hertz, Budget, et al, complete with the CDW. We will let everyone know how this works out!

Finally, we have also driven in Germany, and if you don't have a GPS, get one. It could save your marriage! I have already plotted out our driving route on Google maps, and like Rick says in his book, the roads change names every few blocks or miles. A simple drive from Powerscourt Gardens to Glendalough (30 minutes away) was almost 2 pages due to the constant changes. Garmin Europe downloads are $100 for an individual country and $150 for all of Europe; TomTom is $75 for Europe.

Hope this helps!

Posted by Susan
Atlanta, Ga, USA
1462 posts

William--you will love Foxmount Farm Country House in Waterford. We did not like Waterford (only went there to tour crystal factory) but FFCH was very special. At the time of our visit the owner offered an evening meal which was very good. Enjoy!

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

We will be driving from shannon airport to Dingle. Stay 3 nights in dingle. We should get to dingle around 1400, which means we could tour the town. Next day do ring of kerry. Next day do dingle peninsula and some thing else (don't know what yet). Next day wake up early and go to dublin.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Just in case anyone wants to know. To drive the dingle peninsula will take 4 - 6 hours and the ring of kerry will take 5 - 8 hours to drive depending on how many stops you make.

Posted by Michael
New York, NY
319 posts

Mike,

I drove the ROK and Dingle on consecutive days in May 2008. I'd recommend a bit of a change to your itinerary. Beginning and ending your ROK drive in Dingle would result in a LONG day that I would not want to attempt. And I'm someone who did all the driving on our two week Ireland trip that included many long days.

Here's what I would suggest: Day 1: Head from Shannon to Kenmare. It's a pleasant Irish small town on the south coast and the perfect location to begin your ROK drive the next day using Rick's suggested drive. If you have time, you can spend Day 1 either in Killarney Natl Park (just north of Kenmare), enjoying Kenmare itself, or nearby sites like the Beara peninsula or Kinsale. Day 2: Drive ROK and head to Dingle. Day 3: Drive Dingle peninsula. Day 4: Head to Dublin.

This would avoid double tracking in your current itinerary, and fill in the open day with a great day on the south coast.

Posted by jack
Sheboygan, Wisc., USA
927 posts

I think Michael has the right plan for you.Kenmare is a nice town and the ROK is nearby.We did what he suggested and it worked very well.

Posted by Patrice
Milwaukee, WI, USA
45 posts

A great place to stay heading on to the Ring of Kerry is Tahilla Cove. It is in a beautiful location, out in the country, right on a cove. I drove the Beara Peninsula one day, Killarney National Park as a break the next day, and the Dingle Peninsula on day 3. I was there in September. The fog and rain were so bad I chose not to drive the RoK. Beara Peninsula is spectacularly rugged. The cable car at the end of the peninsula was undergoing a welding job so I did not get out to Dursey Island, but that was an amazing day.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

That is a great idea and it will save on driving time. However, I was told that it next to impossible to find B&B's that will let you stay for only one day. Have you experienced this? We also choose the Dingle for the 3 days because it would be less packing and unpacking.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7967 posts

I've used those "drive-and-stay deals (prepaid B&B coupons with a list of places that take them) a couple of times and never had any trouble with one-nighters.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

I suspect that you would only have problems with a one night stay certain times of the year. I was there the last week of April. We left one night unreserved because we were not sure where we would end up. We had no trouble finding a place at the last minute for one night.

If you end up staying in Dingle I highly recommend Milestone House B&B. They are located just outside of Dingle Town at the beginning of Slea Head Dr. The owners, Michael and Barbara, are great. They provide you with fantastic hand drawn maps of both the Peninsula and of Dingle. They have marked all the restaurants & pubs in town and they make recommendations based on what you are looking for. The map of the peninsula shows all the sites with recommendations of the best places to stop. To top it off, the breakfast is fantastic. The best I have had in any B&B anywhere.

Ireland is great. I hope you have a fantastic time.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Please explain more about the "drive-and-stay deals" (prepaid B&B coupons). I have never heard of them.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

We have been looking at the Milestone House, as well as the:
Coill An Rois (Forest of the Roses),
Greenmount House,
Dingle Bay Hotel,
Emlagh Lodge,
Pax Guest House

Just have not decided yet.

Posted by Michael
New York, NY
319 posts

Mike,

You will have no problem finding B&Bs in Ireland for one night stays, esp. in September. I stayed in at least 3 B&Bs for one night only during my two week trip in May 2008. One of these was in Kenmare (though I wouldn't recommend that particular B&B).

Spending 3 nights in Dingle is a great idea if you can do it, but you can't do it by trying to drive the ROK and Dingle peninsulas in the same day. You can head to Dingle after driving ROK (if you start ROK in the AM) but you'll need to wait to drive the Dingle peninsula until the next day.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

I plotted out my driving time for the 3 days and I wanted to make sure it was correct because if it is then I will have to remove some stops. I think the sun will set around 1800. I have included the Place we are going, what time it will be when we get there, how long it will take to drive there, and the duration of time we will spend at each place.

Place__________________________TimeDriving TimeDuration
Day 1: Shannon International Airport
___0800
Day 1: Cliff of Moher - O'Brien's Tower
1030_1.5 Hours30 Minutes
Day 1: Cliffs of Moher
___________114515 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 1: Blennerville Windmill
_______14452.5 Hours30 Minutes
Day 1: Torc Waterfall
__________160045 Minutes1 Hour
Day 1: Muckross House
________181515 Minutes1 Hour
Day 1: Ladies View
____________194530 Minutes15 Minutes
Day 1: kenmare ireland
__________2030__20 Minutes

Posted by Teddi
Virginia, USA
20 posts

Hi Mike,

I am coming into this conversation late, but just read your questions and your timing of your first day in Ireland. I have driven in Ireland many times, and on the first day we arrive, we never plan to do much driving because of jet lag and the adjustment to left-side driving, etc. The roads are narrow and winding; even the national roads are not like US interstate highways, so it always takes much longer to get places than in the US. And if you rush, you miss so much. If you want really see the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and other fantastic sites in Co. Clare, you can't do it happily and then get to Kenmare on the same day (not to mention the other stops you suggest). How many days do you have for this trip? Only three days? Spend it in the west of Clare. Five days? Spend a couple of days in Clare and then take the ferry across the Shannon and spend 1-2 days in Dingle Peninsula, but then you have to head back to catch your flight at Shannon. Or go to your furthest destination first and then work your way back to the Shannon area. As others have said, it is easy in off-season to book a B&B early the same day you plan to stay there, but the Dingle Peninsula is busy, so I would book that a few weeks ahead, even in September. Do buy a good Michelin driving map of Ireland here and bring it. Well, good luck with your planning.
Teddi

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

I will post some of the other parts of the trip. We will be in Ireland about 6 days.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Place_____________________TimeDriving TimeDuration
Day 2: sneem ireland__________080030 Minutes
Day 2: Staigue Fort
_________94515 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: O'Carrolls Cove
_____100015 Minutes
Day 2: Derrynane House
_____111515 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: Coomakista Pass
____113015 Minutes
Day 2: Waterville, Ireland
____120030 Minutes
Day 2: ballinskelligs ireland
___131515 Minutes
Day 2: St. Finan's Bay
_______14055 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 2: Portmagee
_________142520 Minutes
Day 2: The Skellig Experience
_154515 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: Valentia Heritage Museum
1600__15 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: Valentia Lighthouse
___16355 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 2: Knightstown, Valentia
16405 Minutes
Day 2: cahersiveen ireland
____171030 Minutes
Day 2: Leacanabuaile Fort
____18155 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: Rossbeigh Beach
_____194020 Minutes1 Hour
Day 2: Killorglin,Ireland
______212020 Minutes
Day 2: Killorglin to Dingle
_____2220__1 Hour

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Place___________________TimeDriving TimeDuration
Day 3: Ventry_____________080010 Minutes
Day 3: Minard Castle
______84010 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 3: Dunbeg Fort
______95010 Minutes1 Hour
Day 3: Slea Head
_______10155 Minutes15 Minutes
Day 3: Blasket Heritage Center
1045__5 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 3: Ballyferriter
_______105510 Minutes
Day 3: Gallarus Oratory
___113510 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 3: Kilmalkedar Church
12105 Minutes30 Minutes
Day 3: Dingle, Co. Kerry
__1220__10 Minutes

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Place___________________TimeDriving TimeDuration
Day 4: Blennerville Windmill__08001 Hour__30 Minutes
Day 4: The Rock of Cashel
9302.5 Hours1 Hour
Day 4: Kilkenny Castle
___13001 Hour__1 Hour
Day 4: Dingle to Dublin
___1500__2 Hours

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Day 5: Belfast and Portrush
Day 6: Dublin
Day 7: Fly to Scotland

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

Teddi,

We were going to try to see the Cliffs and make to Kenmare for a good night sleep. We will not have time that same day to tour Kenmare so we were not planning on it.

Posted by Michael
New York, NY
319 posts

Mike,

Overall, I'd say it looks good.

Looks like you've altered Day 1, so feel free to post that for feedback. I think the ROK won't take as long as you've posted, and Dingle peninsula drive may take longer than posted. Cashel to Kilkenny shouldn't take 2 hours, more like 1.5. Also, you have the last leg of Day 4 listed as Dingle to Dublin, but I assume that you meant Kilkenny to Dublin?

I'd consider slowing down a bit. With only five full days in Ireland, you're not going to see everything so why not slow down and enjoy the culture a bit more? I'd strongly suggest another night in Dingle, for example.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

You are correct, on day 4 I meant from kilkenny to dublin.

Posted by Mike
Fort Worth, Tx, USA
91 posts

That is great that the ROK will not take that long. I will update my timeline for Dingle and the ROK.

Any other advice?

Posted by Martin
Washington
66 posts

It can be done -- but it would not be worth it. It takes at least a full day to do the Ring of Kerry.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
802 posts

Mike. We can hihgly recommend the Lighthouse B & B in Dingle. Stunning views of Dingle Bay. Lovely rooms and the best hosts. Google Lighthouse B & B Dingle.
You won't be sorry!

Posted by Pat
wichita, kansas
484 posts

Mike, Your itinerary looks more like a train schedule than a vacation. Take your time,don't try to see everything,relax.

It is impossible to adhere to a very strict schedule in Ireland and trying to do so will only lead to more stress. "Take time and smell the roses."

Posted by Eileen
San Diego, CA, USA
25 posts

You sound as enthusiastic about seeing as much of Ireland in shortest time as possible....as I tried to be...twice! No matter what amount of time you think it takes to drive from point A to point B (in American driving), usually you must double the time. For sites, we spent 3-4 hours at Cliffs of Moher alone after walking the cliffs to the far end...rested in the sunshine there wishing we had grabbed some picnic snacks to enjoy....best part of enjoying that site. Absolutely an all-day effort for ROK (clockwise as RSt suggests) and Dingle at least 3 hours...don't want to rush the west of Ireland...we're looking into checking out the Beara peninsula for a change on our third trip this May 2010. ENJOY!!! Eileen

Posted by ardith
Ridgewood, NJ, United States
36 posts

AA Ireland website. Plug in your destinations and it will give you a fair idea of how long it will take from point to point. However it will not be able to add time for getting stuck behind a tour bus going 20 mph. Don't forget you will want to stop at places to eat, might not wake up and drive as early as you think you will, and will certainly want a few evenings with the locals.
Have fun!

Posted by imeehan715
1 posts

We are staying in Killarney then plan to drive the ROK and spend next 2 nights in Dingle- so we will head clockwise which seems like the best way to go- any suggestions of what time to start so we will miss most of the buses and see arrive in Dingle at a good hour to enjoy part of the day there- we will have the next fill day to enjoy Dingle too then we head to Doolin to see Cliff of Moher then on to Kinavarra