Skellig Ring Road
Skellig Islands from Skellig Ring Road
The Skellig Ring Road was one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 rated destinations for 2017. From this little-visited 18km stretch of road, you’ll get lovely views of the Skellig islands from most of the coastal stretches on the Ring of Kerry. This small detour off the main ring follows the coast through the villages of Portmagee and Ballinskellig, providing you with great views of the Skellig Islands.
While you’re in this part of the world, visit the Skellig Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once home to monks who lived on the isolated rocks as penance between the 6th and 12th century, Skellig Michael is full of the monks’ beehive huts, chapels and more. Little Skellig, the smaller of the two islands, is home to huge colonies of gannets, puffins, seals, dolphins and basking sharks. Catch a boat to the Skelligs from Portmagee, but remember that they are 11km offshore, and therefore boat sailings are weather dependant. Also, due to their popularity and protected nature, the number of boats are limited, so book your spot early.
The Gap of Dunloe
Gap of Dunloe – Ring of kerry
Take a short detour from the road to the famous mountain pass, the Gap of Dunloe, which slices through the MacGillycuddy Reeks. The narrow road winds through the pass into the Black Valley passing five beautiful lakes. The Gap of Dunloe is approximately 11 km from north to south. You could drive it but the best way to travel the Gap of Dunloe is by bike! Take a boat ride from Ross Castle in Killarney National Park with your bike to Lord Brandon’s Cottage and cycle back through the Gap of Dunloe to Kate Kearney’s cottage.
Molls Gap – Ring of Kerry
The glacial valleys of Moll’s Gap are one of the most dramatic views on the Ring of Kerry route. On the road between Killarney and Kenmare, Moll’s Gap boasts the ultimate view of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range. It derives its name from Moll Kissane who set up an illicit bar here during the 19th century. Moll’s Gap is the highest point on the Ring of Kerry with a 235 metre climb.
Ladies View – one of the Ring of Kerry’s most famous spots!
Ladies View is the first viewing point you’ll meet – or the last, depending on which direction you drive the Ring of Kerry. Ladies View is named after Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting who saw it in 1861 and gaped in awe at the majestic valley spreading out before them. Just 16km from Killarney, it provides a panoramic painting of the lakes and mountains of Kerry.
View over the blue waves of Derrynane Beach. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
Once in the vibrant and fantastically-named village of Sneem, head towards Derrynane Beach for breathtaking coastal views of the Ring of Kerry. Pull in at Derrynane House and take a walk down to Derrynane Beach for unforgettable views of the rocky sea as well as the crumbling Derrynane Abbey.