Route from Kinsale to Dingle

We will be driving between Kinsale and Dingle in a few weeks. I'm tempted to take N71 along the coast rather than N22, which is more direct but inland. Would love some advice on whether the extra time to take N71 is worth the effort. We have the entire day to make the drive (we'll be in Dingle three nights) and would like to make a few stops along the way, including around Killarney (which we'll pass either way). We will have a 6 year old with us, so any kid friendly ideas for either route is appreciated.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

You can get an idea of what the driving would be like by using the Google Maps street view. They have just about every road in Ireland covered. If you have all day it might be worth it but it looks like a "narrow and winding road."

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

We drove all of that road last April. Most of it is scenic, it is a good quality road. It's only 150 miles, so you can certainly do the entire trip in a day. If you can shave a night off Dingle or Kinsale, an overnight stop in Kenmare would give you way more options. That way you could drive the north side of the Ring of Beara before stopping in Kenmare, the next day drive the Ring of Kerry before continuing on to Dingle.....Even if you only have a day for the drive, you would probably have time to stop at Gleninchquin park, which is a few miles in on the north side of the Beara Peninsula. It looks like Rivendell (Lord of the Rings movie) lots of green land and pretty streams where you child could run a bit. (You have to pay several euros to park.).... Try to stop at the Abbotstrewery cemetery just past Skibberean, where you will find a marker commemorating the mass grave of 9000 famine victims. It helps you understand a lot about Ireland.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

I've driven the N71 and I highly recommend it. The stretch from Kenmare to Killarney on the edge of the national park is especially beautiful. If the weather is clear, when you go from Tralee to Dingle drive over Conor Pass. You may not get another chance to enjoy the view from the top.

Posted by Jim
Milwaukee
10 posts

Thanks for the information. Sounds like N71 is the way to go.

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
504 posts

Hello Jim, I would take the N71. However, rather than going north from Kinsale to get to the N71, take the R600 east out of Kinsale. A few miles along, you will come to Timoleague. Timoleage Abbey (a ruin) is right on the road and is a very worthwhile stop. You circle around to the side opposite the road for the entrance. You will intersect the N71 a few miles on along to the east when the N71 dips sharply south. Then at Skibbereen, if you take the R595, it is a short distance to the coast to Baltimore, where you can follow your nose to the harbor and on out to the point where there are high cliffs and crashing waves. You can see the cliffs a 1 minute walk from your car. It is probably a 15 minute detour off the N71. These two stops were emphasized by our B&B host in Kinsale. While in Dingle, be sure to drive across the Conair (Conner) Pass on the R569. (I have an atlas in front of me, BTW. My recollection of road numbers is not that good. :) It is very narrow at the top. There is a car park where you can get out and hike around. It was not on our route to anywhere else, so we just drove on across for a ways, then turned around and went back. Very scenic and not hazardous. Just be careful and be prepared to back up if necessary. Dingle was our favorite part of Ireland. Enjoy your trip!
EDIT: And on past Killarney, take the N72 to Killorglin. Then the N70 to Castlemaine. At Castlemaine, don't be afraid to take the R561 across to Anascaul. It is a good road. At Anascaul, you will intersect the N86 to Dingletown.

Posted by wayner
stevens point, wi, usa
186 posts

Between Kinsale and Dingle is the Beara Pennisula. Excellent. And east of this pennisula is Goganbera, or some spelling close to that, is a monastic site. Quite lovely. Killarny and the Ring of Kerry are really designed for bus tours. wayne iNWI

Posted by Jim
Milwaukee
10 posts

Thank you for the suggestions. We will be staying in Kenmare one night to allow us to take our time.

Posted by Larry
San Diego, CA, USA
2 posts

Just returned from Ireland in past 48 hours. The Beara and Dingle Peninsula are much less traveled and more picturesque than the Ring of Kerry, IMO. Far fewer people and you won't have to pay to see "the best cliff view" (which I would skip) like on the Ring of Kerry. Take your time--it's worth it. (Stopping a day in Kenmare is a good idea.) Don't miss Man Friday in Kinsale--it's a superb place to dine! When in Dingle, take your little one to Murphy's Ice Cream. You'll love it also!

Posted by Jim
Milwaukee
10 posts

We just returned from our trip so I wanted to share what we learned. The day we made this drive was a sideways rain day, so awful conditions. However, I would definitely recommend the N71 coastal route as it was beautiful even in the rain. We skipped the peninsulas because of the horrible weather (and we had time in Dingle later in our trip). Stopping in Kenmare was very smart as we were able to explore the town (the rain finally stopped) and have a leisurely dinner. I think driving all the way to Dingle from Kinsale would have been too much for us with a young child, and we enjoyed several hours at Muckross the next day on the way to Dingle. I knew driving times would be longer than expected, but outside of the M routes, the driving times are much longer because it is nearly impossible to go the posted speed limits (which the maps use to calculate times). The limit may be 80 km/hr but you'll be lucky to average 40. Also, without a doubt, bring a GPS with a map of Ireland. Our unit saved the day many times.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

On our trip earlier this month we drove the Ring of Kerry from Kenmare using route recommended in Rick's book. As he reported we were able to avoid the bus traffic completely. Well, not completely, we did encounter ONE bus the entire way.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7684 posts

Jim's experience is why I always suggest having a Plan B in mind if the weather stinks on the day you intend to drive the coastal routes. Glad you had a good time, anyway.