The Summer of 2021 in Ireland will be another Summer of Staycations. One of the most popular areas – and for good reason – is the Ring of Kerry. It is the gateway to some of the most amazing scenery in Ireland’s Southwest. In this Blog we’ll give you tips on the best things to do and see on your Ring of Kerry staycation, from road trips to historic places and fun activities!
There are plenty of accommodation options on the Ring of Kerry, including hotels, B&B’s , and self-catering rentals. Great places to stay are Kenmare, Sneem and Killarney. From these charming towns you’ll have easy access to all 5 peninsulas that extend out into the Atlantic Ocean: the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, Sheep’s Head, and Mizen Head. In this blog you’ll find ideas for things to do and see on all these must-see peninsulas.
Here are some great tips to get the most out of your family staycation on the Ring of Kerry.
RING OF KERRY
The famous Ring of Kerry is perfect for a family road trip. Picture yourself strolling along secret beaches, visiting ancient castles and forts, exploring tranquil villages and watching the wild Atlantic Ocean from spectacular cliffs.
The ultimate Ring of Kerry family road trip should include the ancient Cahergal Ring Fort and Ballycarbery castle ruin, the Skellig Ring coastal road, Ballinskelligs Beach, and Coomakista (fingers crossed that the Kingdom Ice Cream Truck will be there!).
Those who want to explore the Ring of Kerry off the beaten path can do a private tour. It’s a relaxed way of exploring the many hidden gems of the Ring of Kerry. Your family will love this, and your camera will love it!
TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO AND SEE ON THE RING OF KERRY
Skelligs Chocolate Factory
At this little chocolate factory, you can see the chocolate treats being made, and you can have a taste. A great experience for chocoholics of all ages!
Derrynane House & Beach
Explore the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, one of the great figures in modern Irish history. Complete your trip with a visit to the beautiful Derrynane Beach.
Skelligs Eco Tour
Take a boat trip around the famous Skellig Michael and little Skellig. See the steps the monks carved into the rock, the monastery, the lighthouse, and all the birds.
Blueberry Hill Farm
Blueberry Hill Farm in Sneem are now offering Candle Making Workshops. Fingers crossed that the guided Family Fun Farm Tours can start up again soon! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest updates.
Killarney National Park
You can easily spend a full day in the Killarney National Park. Take a boat trip on the lakes, walk up to Torc Waterfall, and visit Muckross House and Traditional Farms, and the impressive Ross Castle.
Cahergal Ring Fort
If you’re interested in ancient history – with a fab view – then Cahergal Ring Fort near Caherciveen is certainly worth a visit. The walls are 5 meters thick and rise up to over 3.5 meters on the highest point.
Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula is one of the most scenic parts of the Wild Atlantic Way. Here you’ll find breath-taking coastal scenery, beautiful beaches and soaring cliffs. The Slea Head area is dotted with ancient sites, including beehive huts, ring forts, ogham stones, and old church sites.
Top tip: have a picnic lunch on the gorgeous little sandy beach at Coomeenoole. Dip your toes into the Atlantic, or walk up to Dunmore Head for more fabulous views. Your family will love the following places on the Dingle Peninsula:
TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO AND SEE ON THE DINGLE PENINSULA
Before you promise the kids to walk to the end of the beach and back ….. this beautiful sandy beach is 3 miles (5.5km) long! A great spot for a walk, swim or surf, or enjoy the views from Sammy’s Cafe.
Hold a Baby Lamb
This might very well be the highlight of your family’s trip to Dingle …. to hold and bottle feed a baby lamb, what else can you possible wish for.
Dingle Boat Tour
Take a cruise around Dingle harbour and into the bay, and enjoy stunning views of the coastline, cliffs and sea arches. Also on offer are Eco cruises that are great for spotting seals, dolphins and whales.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Delicious home-made ice cream, lots of lovely and unusual flavors to choose from….. Irish Coffee, Brown bread, Sea Salt & Caramel, Dingle Gin, just to name a few. Yes you can have another scoop 🙂
A road trip of the Beara Peninsula will take you through a remote, quiet and tranquil area of great scenic beauty. Here you’ll find miles and miles of tiny coastal roads, mountain passes, colorful villages, and many historic sites. Do check out MacCarthys Bar in Castletownbere, lovely traditional pub that serves great bar food. The Beara Peninsula is definitely off the tourist track!
TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO AND SEE ON THE BEARA PENINSULA
Ballycrovane Ogham Stone
This pillar stone stands at an impressive 17 feet (over 5m) and is said to be the tallest ogham stone in Europe. The Ogham inscriptions are believed to date back to the 4th-6th century AD.
Copper Mine Museum
The hills around Allihies are dotted with remains of the old copper mines. The nearby beach is made of crushed stones from these mines! Find out more at the Copper Mine Museum.
Ireland’s only Cable Car
Ireland’s only cable car connects the mainland with Dursey Island, and runs high above the ocean! The island is part of the Beara Way and is great for walking.
Gleninchaquin offers walking trails of all levels in an area of outstanding beauty. Don’t miss the Uragh Stone Circle on your drive down to the park.
SHEEP’S HEAD AND BANTRY
The Sheep’s Head Peninsula is the smallest of the 5 peninsulas – the loop drive is about 70km – but well worth a visit! When driving out to the end the road becomes more narrow (single lane!) and offers spectacular view. You can start your drive of Sheep’s Head from Bantry Town.
When driving from your accommodation on the Ring of Kerry to Bantry, take the scenic coastal road! It will take you over the Caha Mountain Pass, through Glengarriff, and along the stunning West Cork coast.
TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO AND SEE AROUND SHEEP’S HEAD AND BANTRY
Molly Gallivan’s Cottage
Not far from Kenmare, on your way to Bantry, you’ll find this 200 year old cottage and traditional farm. Experience the simple lifestyle before the days of electricity! The historic farm walk is also highly recommended.
Bantry House & Gardens
Explore this stately home that is surrounded by beautiful gardens overlooking Bantry Bay. The house is also available for overnight stays!
Take the ferry from Glengarriff to Garnish Island, and see the tame seal colony on your way. Enjoy a walk around the amazing gardens on the island.
Sheep’s Head Lighthouse
Drive up to Toreen Point and follow the walking trail to the lighthouse. The loop walk takes about 2 hours and offers fab views of the coastal scenery.
The Mizen Peninsula is the most southerly of the 5 peninsulas. The drive up to Mizen Head is spectacular. The cliff coast here is a must see, and the old signal station is also well worth a visit. Continue to follow the coastal road to Barleycove Beach, Crookhaven and Schull, and make a stop at these places!
TIPS FOR THINGS TO DO AND SEE ON THE MIZEN PENINSULA
Mizen Head Signal Station
Take the 99 steps down and cross the arched bridge to get to the old signal station. Explore the early history of maritime telegraphy and radio, and the story of the Mizen Head light house keepers.
Take a little detour to the picturesque village of Crookhaven. For centuries ships stocked up at this little harbour before making the crossing to America. On the way to Crookhaven, make a stop at Barleycove Beach and dip your toes into the Atlantic. Great spot for lunch: O’Sullivan’s Bar.
Altar Wedge Tomb
This megalithic tomb dates back to the end of the Stone Age. In the 18th century it was used by priests as an altar, when they were not allowed to hold mass in churches. The Altar Wedge Tomb is close to the main road and it is signposted.
3 Castle Head
Three Castle Head (Dunlough Castle) is series of 3 castle tower ruins on the edge of a cliff, connected by a wall. It take a couple of hours to walk to this scenic location and back, but it is well worth the effort!
PRIVATE TOURS – OFF THE BEATEN PATH
When we travel again ….. why not treat the family to a unique Private Tour! Travel off the beaten path, at your own pace, and get the most out of your day out with the family.
Choose from the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Beara, Mizen Head, Killarney National Park, Bantry House & Garnish Island, or create your own tour! All tours can be tailored to suit your wishes.
Make your trip to Kerry a memorable one!
About Kerry Experience Tours
For a truly local experience in one of the most charming and warm cultures in the world, Kerry Experience Tours will show visitors the most magical parts of Ireland. On offer are private day tours and multiday tours, tailored to suit your wishes. Enjoy the most scenic drives, spectacular land and seascapes, historic wonders, inspirational places, and hidden gems off the beaten path, completed with background information and stories. Enjoy the absolute best Ireland has to offer, creating memories that last a lifetime.