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Ireland’s Ring of Kerry and Kenmare

Ring of Kerry

Finishing up the Ireland road trip series, the last stop on our itinerary was The Ring of Kerry, with an overnight in the darling town of Kenmare.

Kenmare – the jewel of the Ring of Kerry

Ireland is one long scenic drive, and the infamous Ring of Kerry is the most prized portion of that drive. Creating a base in tiny Kenmare (population 2175 in 2011) helps avoid Killarney’s tour bus congestion (the ring starts and ends in Killarney).

Kenmare

Kenmare

Kenmare is one of those picturesque, idyllic towns that is hard not to fall in love with. A 19th century market town, it was awarded the title of Kerry’s first Heritage Town in Ireland by the Ireland Tourist Board for its historical, environmental and cultural significance.

Kenmare

After a long day of exploring, Kenmare’s pubs were very inviting.

I love how it was still daylight at night. The sun didn’t set until 10 PM!

Kenmare

We came across this “stag” party while out and about in Kenmare. This is what we refer to as a bachelor party in the U.S. Sidenote: It was the 4th of July, and the Irish seemed keen to celebrate America’s birthday with us!

Ring of Kerry

Hitting the Road

Ring of Kerry

After following the N71 from Killarney to Kenmare, we hit the N70 towards the Iveragh Peninsula, taking in “Ireland’s most extravagant scenery” (according to Patricia Shultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die).

Here’s a little (crappy) video I shot with my friend’s camera (hence the silly question, “Does this zoom?”). Apologies for the poor quality and narration. I just wanted to share some interactive footage.

Ring of Kerry

Along the 110 mile coast-hugging road, the blue seascape continuously meets the green landscape in a dramatic elemental fusion. Rugged, striking, whimsical….these are just a few words that come to mind.

Ring of Kerry

Ireland in Five Days

It’s never ideal to rush and see as much of a country as possible, but many Americans have limited vacation days built in to their work year. Taking advantage of the 4th of July holiday and long weekend, here is what we saw of Ireland in five days.

  • Three American girls took Dublin by storm, where we visited the Guinness Storehouse and sampled the city’s best pubs.
  • We beelined it out west to Galway and took in Connemara’s “tragic beauty”.
  • Making our way south to the Burren region, we explored  the Cliffs of Moher and Dunguaire Castle in County Claire.
  • Continuing on to our favorite county, Kerry, we drove to the town of Dingle, taking in the divine sunshine and stunning scenery, before heading to Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry.
  • To conclude our journey, we made our way back east to Dublin via County Cork, stopping in Waterford for a smidgen.

Ring of Kerry

Summary

This is definitely not the only way to see Ireland, but considering our time restraints, I think we did a great job covering many of the highlights, seeing a large chunk of the country, and enjoying quality time with locals, absorbing and participating in Irish culture in a small amount of time.

If you are short on time like we were, consider traveling to Ireland around early July, when the days are their longest.

Try to balance two types of travel styles: traveling as if you’ll never come back (i.e. seeing as much as possible) and slow travel (taking your time to really absorb and appreciate the local geography and culture).

Tell me about your Irish road trip! Or is this on your bucket list?

 

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5 Responses to Ireland’s Ring of Kerry and Kenmare

  1. Shereen November 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

    I’ve done a few quick trips and sometimes they can be great a little tiring but still great. The key is as you said to make sure and enjoy it all and take time to take it all in. Great pictures! I enjoyed the highlights and the stag footage.

    • Lindsay November 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM #

      Thanks, Shereen! The stag and hen parties were pretty entertaining! I personally enjoy longer trips, but I try to adapt when my schedule doesn’t allow for that and make the most out of it! Just like the last trip I took with my husband out west. We covered three national parks in 4 days(!), but it didn’t really feel rushed.

  2. Trips By Lance November 20, 2013 at 3:02 PM #

    OK, so you’ve given me inspiration for three things: drive the Ring of Kerry, visit any European destination over July Fourth, and do your Ireland in five days journey. We almost did a similar trip in 2012 but ended up going to France instead of Ireland when Stacey realized how much we’d be in the car.

    • Lindsay November 21, 2013 at 9:37 AM #

      YES! I love hearing that I inspired someone to travel somewhere new! You and Stacey should do it! The car time isn’t too bad because the scenery is so breathtaking!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy St Patrick's Day! What's it Mean, Anyway? - The Traveluster - March 17, 2014

    […] pub in the city)…. from the striking Cliffs of Moher  and the Dunguaire Castle to the famous Ring of Kerry…. from Killarney National Park to touring the Guinness Storehouse….It’s all […]

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