12 Most Beautiful Places in the Ring of Kerry to Visit

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated July 4, 2024 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jem
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Are you thinking about visiting the Ring of Kerry this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in the Ring of Kerry. These pretty sights and destinations will blow your mind.

There’s a reason seasoned travelers whisper about the Ring of Kerry with a twinkle in their eyes. This enchanting drive, nestled in the heart of Ireland, is a tapestry of rugged coastlines, verdant meadows, and historical wonders that seem to leap straight out of a fairy tale. As you journey through this captivating route, every twist and turn reveals a new spectacle, urging you to delve deeper into its mysteries.

Imagine standing atop a cliff, the Atlantic winds tousling your hair, as you gaze upon the vast ocean, its waves crashing against the rocks below. Nearby, ancient stone formations stand as silent witnesses to centuries gone by, each with its own tale of folklore and legend. And as the sun sets, painting the sky in hues of gold and crimson, the serene lakes of Killarney National Park reflect the world in their still waters, creating a moment of pure magic.

The Ring of Kerry is more than just a place to go. It’s an experience for individuals who have a desire for exploration and a passion for nature’s untainted beauty. An experience that promises memories to last a lifetime. So, buckle up and get ready, as we embark on a journey to explore the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry. Your passport to wonder awaits!

The top places to visit in the Ring of Kerry right now.
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The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in the Ring of Kerry

Eager to explore the most captivating spots in the Ring of Kerry? This hidden gem in Ireland offers a diverse range of attractions for every traveler. Dive in to uncover the breathtaking landscapes that the Ring of Kerry proudly showcases.

Whether you’re on the hunt for historic towns brimming with culture or serene natural retreats to unwind, the Ring of Kerry has it all. Here are the must-visit locations in the Ring of Kerry that you shouldn’t miss:

1. Derrynane Beach

Ah, the allure of Derrynane Beach! This coastal gem is one of the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry, and it’s easy to see why. With its pristine golden sands stretching as far as the eye can see, and the azure waves of the Atlantic Ocean gently lapping at the shore.

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It’s a picture-perfect setting for relaxation and adventure alike.

The beach is surrounded by a rich tapestry of dunes and natural habitats, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. As you stroll along the shore, you might catch a glimpse of playful seals frolicking in the waters or seabirds soaring overhead. The nearby Derrynane House, once the home of the famous Irish politician Daniel O’Connell, adds a touch of historical charm to the area.

Visitors often find themselves captivated by the serene ambiance of Derrynane. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, and the worries of the world fade away. If you’re looking for a tranquil escape, where nature’s beauty reigns supreme, Derrynane Beach should undoubtedly be on your list of Ring of Kerry destinations.

This beachfront jewel is among the Ring of Kerry's outstanding locations.
This beachfront jewel is among the Ring of Kerry’s outstanding locations.

2. Kenmare

Kenmare is often referred to as the Jewel of the Ring of Kerry. This charming town, with its colorful facades and vibrant atmosphere, is one of the most beautiful cities in the Ring of Kerry. As you wander its quaint streets, you’re greeted by a delightful blend of traditional Irish culture and modern amenities.

The town is a gateway to both the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula. This makes it a strategic stop for travelers. Its location offers a unique blend of sea and mountain landscapes, providing endless opportunities for scenic drives and outdoor activities. From the shimmering waters of Kenmare Bay to the majestic peaks surrounding the town, nature’s artistry is on full display.

Local artisans fill the streets with handcrafted goods, from intricate lacework to bespoke jewelry. The culinary scene in Kenmare is equally impressive, with restaurants serving up a fusion of Irish classics and contemporary dishes. After a day of exploration, there’s nothing like settling into a cozy pub, enjoying live traditional music, and immersing oneself in the town’s lively spirit.

In essence, Kenmare is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. If you’re pondering where to go in the Ring of Kerry, this delightful town should be high on your list.

One of the most stunning places in the Ring of Kerry is Kenmare, with its dynamic atmosphere and vibrant structures.
One of the most stunning places in the Ring of Kerry is Kenmare, with its dynamic atmosphere and vibrant structures.

3. Kerry Cliffs

The raw, untamed beauty of the Kerry Cliffs is a sight to behold. Towering over the Atlantic Ocean, these majestic cliffs offer panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. As the waves crash below and the seabirds circle above, you’ll feel a deep connection to the wild heart of Ireland.

Set just a short drive from Portmagee, the cliffs are a favorite among travelers and locals alike. The viewing platform, perched high above the ocean, provides an unparalleled vantage point. On a clear day, you can even catch a glimpse of the famous Skellig Islands in the distance. These ancient monastic settlements, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, add an air of mystery to the horizon.

Walking along the cliff paths, the fresh sea breeze invigorates the senses. Every step reveals a new perspective, a different play of light on the water, or a unique rock formation shaped by eons of erosion. It’s a place of reflection, of wonder, and of sheer awe at nature’s grandeur.

Overlooking the Kerry Cliffs would be a noticeable omission for those making a list of the Ring of Kerry’s beautiful places. They serve as a reminder of the untamed beauty that this area is renowned for, luring travelers here repeatedly.

These magnificent cliffs, which tower over the Atlantic, provide panoramic vistas that are simply amazing.
These magnificent cliffs, which tower over the Atlantic, provide panoramic vistas that are simply amazing.

4. Killarney National Park

Spanning over 25,000 acres, Killarney National Park is a vast expanse of untamed wilderness, shimmering lakes, and ancient woodlands. It’s one of those stunning locations in the Ring of Kerry where every visit feels like the first, with new wonders waiting around every bend.

The park is home to the iconic MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. These towering peaks cast their shadows over the park’s three lakes. It creates a mesmerizing landscape that stands as one of the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry. In spring, the woodlands burst into life with a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic. Come autumn, the trees turn a fiery red and gold, reflecting their hues in the still waters below.

History enthusiasts will appreciate the park’s rich heritage. Ross Castle, a 15th-century tower house, stands proudly on the edge of Lough Leane. Its stone walls and battlements have witnessed centuries of history, from clan wars to the rise and fall of local chieftains.

Killarney National Park isn’t just a place to visit. It’s a realm to explore, to get lost in, and to find oneself again. It’s a reminder of the wild beauty that exists, often just a stone’s throw from our doorsteps. For anyone charting out the best places to visit in the Ring of Kerry, this park is an unmissable gem.

The expansive Killarney National Park is home to untamed nature, glistening lakes, and old-growth forests.
The expansive Killarney National Park is home to untamed nature, glistening lakes, and old-growth forests.

5. Ladies View

Perched high above the winding roads of the Ring of Kerry, Ladies View offers a panorama that’s nothing short of poetic. It was named after Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, who were captivated by this spot during their 1861 visit. Undeniably, it is one of the prettiest places in the Ring of Kerry.

As you stand at this vantage point, the world seems to unfold before you. The valleys stretch out, dotted with ancient woodlands and shimmering lakes, while the distant mountains stand sentinel, their peaks often shrouded in mist. The play of light and shadow, especially during the golden hours of dawn and dusk, paints a scene that’s both dramatic and serene.

The nearby lakes of Killarney, with their tranquil waters, add to the allure. They mirror the skies, the trees, and the surrounding hills. This creates reflections that are often as mesmerizing as the real vistas. A short walk or drive from this viewpoint reveals hidden waterfalls, quiet glades, and other scenic spots, each with its own charm.

In a region renowned for its beauty, Ladies View stands out as a must-see in the Ring of Kerry. It’s a place that captures the essence of the Ring of Kerry’s beauty. This leaves visitors with memories that linger long after the journey is over. Is this among the most beautiful places on the Ring of Kerry? 100%

Ladies View provides a perspective that is beyond any kind of spectacular.
Ladies View provides a perspective that is beyond any kind of spectacular.

6. Lough Leane

Amidst the rugged landscapes of the Ring of Kerry, the serene waters of Lough Leane offer a tranquil oasis. As the largest of the three lakes in Killarney National Park, Lough Leane is a haven for nature lovers and one of the most scenic places in the Ring of Kerry.

The lake’s shimmering waters are surrounded by dense woodlands, home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. As you explore its shores, you might encounter native red deer grazing or hear the melodic calls of rare bird species. The lake itself teems with life, from playful otters to a rich variety of fish.

Historical landmarks dot the landscape around Lough Leane. The ancient ruins of Ross Castle, with its tales of chieftains and battles, stand proudly on its shores. Meanwhile, the nearby Innis fallen Island houses the remnants of a medieval monastery. It’s a silent testament to the region’s rich history.

Every season brings a new charm to Lough Leane. Spring sees the blossoming of wildflowers, summer brings warm, golden sunsets, autumn cloaks the area in fiery hues, and winter offers a serene, frosty beauty. Lough Leane is a location that offers a rich tapestry of experiences for visitors seeking a blend of natural splendor and historical intrigue.

Lough Leane's calm waters provide a peaceful haven amidst the untamed Ring of Kerry surroundings.
Lough Leane’s calm waters provide a peaceful haven amidst the untamed Ring of Kerry surroundings.

7. Moll’s Gap

High in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains, Moll’s Gap offers a vantage point like no other. With panoramic views of the verdant valleys below and the distant peaks, it’s a spot that showcases some of the best parts of Ring of Kerry.

The air here is crisp, filled with the scent of wild heather and gorse. As you stand at this elevated point, the vastness of the landscape stretches out before you, a patchwork of green fields, dense forests, and winding rivers. The play of light on the land, especially during the early morning or late afternoon, creates a mesmerizing tableau of shadows and highlights.

Nearby, the Avoca Handweavers shop offers a delightful array of Irish crafts, from handwoven scarves to artisanal foods. It’s a place where the traditions of the past meet the vibrancy of the present. It offers visitors a taste of authentic Irish culture.

Moll’s Gap is more than just a scenic spot; it’s a journey through the heart of Ireland’s natural beauty. It’s a place where the land speaks, telling tales of ancient times and the ever-changing dance of nature. For travelers charting their course through the Ring of Kerry, stopping at Moll’s Gap is an experience that enriches the soul.

More than merely a picturesque location, Moll's Gap is an adventure through the center of Ireland's unspoiled splendor.
More than merely a picturesque location, Moll’s Gap is an adventure through the center of Ireland’s unspoiled splendor.

8. Muckross House

In the heart of Killarney National Park lies Muckross House, a magnificent Victorian mansion that stands as a proud testament to Ireland’s rich history. As one of the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry, this 19th-century estate offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of its former inhabitants.

Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the tranquil waters of Muckross Lake, the house is an architectural marvel. Each room is meticulously preserved, showcasing period furniture, intricate woodwork, and stunning artworks. The guided tours provide intriguing anecdotes about the Herbert family, who once owned the estate, and their illustrious guests, including Queen Victoria.

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Beyond the main house, the estate boasts traditional farms that transport visitors back in time. Here, you can witness demonstrations of age-old crafts, from weaving to blacksmithing, and get a sense of daily life in rural Ireland during the 1930s.

Muckross House isn’t just a historical site; it’s a living museum that celebrates Ireland’s cultural heritage. The blend of natural beauty and historical significance makes it a standout destination for anyone exploring the Ring of Kerry. With its captivating tales and scenic surroundings, Muckross House promises an enriching experience that lingers in memory.

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Muckross House, a spectacular Victorian estate that serves as a proud reminder of Ireland's rich heritage.
Muckross House, a spectacular Victorian estate that serves as a proud reminder of Ireland’s rich heritage.

9. Rossbeigh Beach

Stretching over 10 kilometers along the Iveragh Peninsula, Rossbeigh Beach is a coastal haven that beckons with its golden sands and azure waters. It’s one of those Ring of Kerry destinations that effortlessly captures the heart. It offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The beach is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Horseback riders can gallop along the shore, feeling the sea breeze against their faces. Walkers and joggers can explore the extensive dunes and wetlands too. The gentle waves make it a popular spot for families, where children can build sandcastles and search for seashells.

From the beach, the views of the surrounding mountains and the Dingle Peninsula are simply breathtaking. On clear days, the horizon seems to stretch endlessly, with the distant outlines of the Blasket Islands visible in the distance. The sunsets here are particularly mesmerizing, with the sky painted in shades of orange, pink, and purple.

In essence, Rossbeigh Beach is a celebration of nature’s beauty in its purest form. It’s a place where you can reconnect with the earth, the sea, and yourself. For those mapping out the most beautiful places to visit in the Ring of Kerry, Rossbeigh offers a slice of coastal paradise that’s hard to resist.

The coastal refuge of Rossbeigh Beach beckons with its beautiful sands and clear waters.
The coastal refuge of Rossbeigh Beach beckons with its beautiful sands and clear waters.

10. Sneem

Tucked away on the Iveragh Peninsula, the picturesque village of Sneem is a colorful mosaic of charm and history. Often referred to as the “Knot in the Ring,” Sneem is undeniably one of the most beautiful places of Ring of Kerry. Its vibrant buildings, stone bridges, and meandering river are amazing.

The village is divided by the Sneem River, with its two halves connected by a series of historic bridges. As you stroll through its streets, you’re greeted by a delightful array of artisan shops, traditional pubs, and cozy cafes. Each corner seems to tell a story, from the statue of Steve “Crusher” Casey, a renowned wrestler, to the Garden of the Senses, a tranquil spot designed for reflection.

Beyond its urban charm, Sneem is a gateway to some of the region’s most stunning natural attractions. The nearby Kerry Geopark offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from hiking and cycling to birdwatching and stargazing.

In essence, Sneem is where the past and present converge. It offers visitors a unique blend of cultural experiences and natural wonders. It’s a must-see for anyone keen on exploring the Ring of Kerry’s beautiful places, promising memories that will last a lifetime.


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The Sneem River divides the town in half, with the two sections being connected by a variety of medieval bridges.

11. Torc Waterfall

Amidst the dense woodlands of Killarney National Park, the roaring cascade of Torc Waterfall emerges as a symphony of nature’s power and grace. This 20-meter-high waterfall is one of the Ring of Kerry’s beautiful places. It draws visitors with its mesmerizing beauty and the serene ambiance of its surroundings.

Originating from the Torc Mountain, the waters tumble down in a series of cascades, creating a misty veil that dances in the sunlight. The sound of the rushing water, combined with the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves, creates a soothing backdrop for contemplation and relaxation.

A short walk from the base of the waterfall leads to a viewing platform. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The lush greenery, interspersed with vibrant wildflowers, provides a stark contrast to the dark, moss-covered rocks of the waterfall. It’s a scene that changes with the seasons, each bringing its own charm and allure.

Torc Waterfall is a location that offers both excitement and serenity for those seeking a combination of the two. It’s a reminder of the ever-present magic in nature, waiting to be discovered by those willing to venture off the beaten path. When considering places to see in the Ring of Kerry, this enchanting waterfall should undoubtedly make the list.

The Torc Waterfall's thunderous cascade erupts as a work of art of nature's strength and grace.
The Torc Waterfall’s thunderous cascade erupts as a work of art of nature’s strength and grace.

12. Valentia Island

Off the western coast of Ireland, connected by a bridge from Portmagee, lies Valentia Island. A gem in the Atlantic, it’s one of those Ring of Kerry destinations that offers a blend of natural beauty, history, and cultural richness.

The island’s rugged coastline is a haven for marine life. From its cliffs, you can often spot dolphins playing in the waves or seals basking on the rocks. The beaches, with their golden sands and turquoise waters, are perfect for a day of relaxation or exploration. The island’s interior, meanwhile, boasts lush greenery, with trails that lead to panoramic viewpoints.

One of the island’s most fascinating attractions is the Tetrapod Trackway, home to some of the world’s oldest fossil footprints. These 385-million-year-old imprints offer a glimpse into a time when the first creatures were making their transition from sea to land.

But Valentia Island isn’t just about nature and history. It’s a vibrant community, with festivals, art galleries, and local eateries that showcase the island’s rich heritage and contemporary culture. It’s a place where every visit feels like a discovery, and every moment is a memory in the making. If you are charting their journey through the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry, Valentia Island is a must-visit.

Valentia Island, a thriving neighborhood with festivals, art galleries, and cafés that highlight the island's rich history and modern culture.
Valentia Island, a thriving neighborhood with festivals, art galleries, and cafés that highlight the island’s rich history and modern culture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in the Ring of Kerry

Want to learn more about the Ring of Kerry’s most beautiful locations? Here are some of the typical questions I often get about the Ring of Kerry’s top destinations.

Where is the most beautiful part of the Ring of Kerry?

The Ring of Kerry is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and iconic landmarks. While beauty is subjective, many travelers and locals alike rave about places like Ladies View, Muckross House, and Valentia Island. Each spot on the Ring offers its own unique charm, making the entire journey a continuous spectacle of nature’s grandeur.

What is the best way to do the Ring of Kerry?

The best way to experience the Ring of Kerry is by car or coach, allowing you the flexibility to stop at various points of interest. Starting from Killarney and traveling in a counter-clockwise direction is a popular route. This ensures you’re traveling with the flow of tour buses, making for a smoother journey. Don’t forget to take your time, making stops at the most beautiful places to visit in the Ring of Kerry and soaking in the scenery.

What is so special about the Ring of Kerry?

The Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometer-long circular route in southwest Ireland, is one of the country’s most famous and scenic drives. Here’s what makes it special:

  1. Breathtaking Landscapes: The route offers a diverse array of natural beauty. This includes everything from rugged coastlines and golden beaches to rolling green hills and stark mountain ranges.
  2. Historical Sites: The Ring of Kerry is dotted with ancient ruins, stone forts, and old monasteries, providing glimpses into Ireland’s rich history. Examples include Staigue Fort and Ballycarbery Castle.
  3. Cultural Experience: The route takes you through quaint Irish villages and towns. This is where you can experience local culture, music, and traditions.
  4. Killarney National Park: One of Ireland’s most famous national parks. It’s home to the beautiful Lakes of Killarney, Muckross House, Ross Castle, and diverse flora and fauna.
  5. Valentia Island: Accessible from the Ring of Kerry, this island offers stunning views, the Skellig Experience Centre (which provides insights into the nearby Skellig Islands), and ancient tetrapod footprints.
  6. Moll’s Gap: A panoramic viewpoint offering vistas of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range.
  7. Derrynane House: The ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell. He was a significant figure in Irish history, set within a beautiful national historic park.

How long does it take to drive the Ring of Kerry?

The drive itself, without stops, takes about 3.5 to 4 hours. However, with so many stunning locations in the Ring of Kerry, it’s recommended to allocate a full day or even two to truly appreciate all the sights and experiences.

A beautiful landscape of  a coastline road in the Ring of Kerry.
A beautiful landscape of a coastline road in the Ring of Kerry.

Are there guided tours available for the Ring of Kerry?

Absolutely! There are numerous guided tours that offer insights into the Ring of Kerry’s beautiful places. These tours often include historical anecdotes, local legends, and stops at key attractions.

Where is the best place to start the Ring of Kerry?

The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland. The traditional starting point for the Ring of Kerry is the town of Killarney, which is also one of the most accessible and well-equipped towns in terms of accommodations, dining, and other amenities.

Killarney offers several attractions of its own, including:

  • Killarney National Park: Home to the famous Lakes of Killarney, Muckross House, and Ross Castle.
  • Torc Waterfall: A beautiful waterfall located just a short drive or hike from the main road.
  • Muckross Abbey: A historic site within the national park.

Starting in Killarney allows you to begin and end your journey in a location with a wide range of accommodations and dining options. Additionally, Killarney’s position makes it easy to travel in a counter-clockwise direction on the Ring of Kerry. This is the recommended direction to minimize traffic issues, as many tour buses take this route.

What are some must-visit towns along the Ring of Kerry?

Towns like Kenmare, Sneem, and Killarney are not only picturesque but also offer a range of amenities, from dining and shopping to cultural events. They’re perfect spots to rest, refuel, and immerse yourself in local Irish charm.

When is the best time to visit the Ring of Kerry?

The Ring of Kerry scenery is stunning year-round. However, the months between May and September offer the best weather, with longer daylight hours to explore. It’s also the peak tourist season, so expect more crowds.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in the Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is more than just a scenic drive. It’s a journey through time, history, and unparalleled natural beauty. From the rugged cliffs and serene beaches to the quaint villages and historical landmarks, every turn offers a new story, a new vista, and a fresh perspective. It’s a place where the land whispers tales of ancient legends, where the sea sings songs of adventures past, and where every sunset paints a masterpiece in the sky.

For travelers seeking a blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion, the Ring of Kerry stands out as a destination that promises memories to last a lifetime. It’s not just about the places you visit, but the experiences you gather, the people you meet, and the moments of wonder you encounter along the way.

So, pack your bags, set your spirit free, and embark on a journey through one of the most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry. Let the magic of the landscape, the warmth of the locals, and the rhythm of the Irish heartbeats guide you through an unforgettable adventure.

The most beautiful places in the Ring of Kerry for all types of travelers.
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