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Places to visit & things to do

Explore the Ring of Kerry

Whether you are following the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry, or in the footsteps of the Star Wars crew as they filmed on the Skelligs, you’ll be fascinated and uplifted by the unique nature of our local area.

During your stay you can visit ancient and historical heritage sites, stretch your legs and marvel at the wide open landscapes on one of our walking trails, or gain peace of mind by following a pilgrim path.
You can wiggle your toes in the sands of many Blue Flag beaches on the Ring of Kerry, catch fresh fish in sparkling waters, play a round of golf, swim, surf or follow a nature trail on the pristine coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
Watch a sunset, wish upon a rainbow, gaze at the stars as you’ve never seen them before (this area is a Dark Sky Gold Tier Reserve, the only one in the Northern hemisphere!)
Eat artisan chocolates, have a whiskey in a traditional local bar, join in on an Irish traditional music or dancing session, and get involved with the locals as they celebrate community events throughout the year.

With so much to see and do on the Ring of Kerry, we cannot list everything here. Below, we highlight some of our favourites for you to explore. But as soon as you get here, you’ll realise that you cannot possibly pack everything into one short holiday! That’s why we hope you’ll want to visit us again and again, to experience our Céad Míle Fáilte (our hundred thousand welcomes).

Irish Toast
Location Map 2

Places to visit

Things to do

Blue Flag Beaches

Food & Drink

Places to visit

The Old Barracks

The Old Barracks, Cahersiveen

The Old Barracks Heritage Centre – The building was constructed between the years of 1870 and 1875 as a police station for the Royal Irish Constabulary. The authorities wanted an imposing building to protect the Irish end of the transatlantic telegraph cable which entered the sea at Valentia Island. The Old World and New World were connected at last and the authorities did not want the humiliating situation of an uprising cutting that link.
In fact only one year after the cable had been laid in 1866 there was an ill fated uprising in Cahersiveen by the Fenians. For more info about the Old Barracks:

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Ballycarberry Castle

Ballycarberry Castle, Cahersiveen

Ballycarbery Castle – Situated near the waters edge across the river Fertha from Cahersiveen and about a 2km drive from the town. For more info about Ballycarberry Castle:

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Cahergall stone fort

Cahergall Stone Fort, Cahersiveen

Cahergall Fort built around 600AD and Leacanabuaile Fort – Excavation produced Iron and Bronze Age objects, suggesting the existence of an early Christian farming community. For more info about Cahergall & Leacanabuaile:

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Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael, Skellig Rocks

The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry.
Skellig Michael towers 714ft. (218 metres) above sea level and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site . It was recently used as an iconic location in the Star Wars film “The Force Awakens”.
On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved sixth century AD monastic settlement. On the spectacular Small Skelligs 23,000 pairs of gannets nest on every available ledge making it the second largest gannet colony in the world. A visit to this major tourist attraction may well be the highlight of your holiday.

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Kells House

Kells House & Garden, Kells

Kells House and Gardens – Kells Bay on the Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland’s most spectacular settings, and the scenery offers a wonderful backdrop to Kells Bay Gardens. Known locally as the ‘Jewel on the Ring’ ,the Gardens cover just over 17 hectares, containing a large collection of sub-tropical plants. The Gardens overlook the dramatic views of Dingle Bay and are filled with a variety of sub-tropical plants.
Open daily to the public from 9.30 to 18.00 with the exception of January.

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Valentia Island

Valentia Island

Valentia Island is a beautiful Island that one cannot leave South Kerry without a visit. Situated off the South West coast of Kerry, it is an island of great beauty and contrast. Travel there by car, take the bridge from the village of Portmagee or take the car ferry (operating from April-October) from Reenard Point. While there visit the following:

  • Knightstown
  • Lighthouse & Transatlantic cable
  • Slate quarry
  • Tetrapod Track ways
  • Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs
  • Glanleam House
  • Bray Tower

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Derrynane House

Derrynane House & Garden

Derrynane House is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) also known as ” The Liberator “, who was a lawyer/politician and a very important figure in Irish history.
The house hosts a museum and is surrounded by 120 hectares of parkland and gardens, that make up the Derrynane National Historic Park. Guided tours are available. Just behind the house, you can find the beautiful Derrynane beach and a bar/restaurant.

For more info about Derrynane House:

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St. Finnians Bay

St. Finian’s Bay

St. Finian’s Bay is a small, sandy beach with a stunning view of The Skelligs. You can hang out on the beach, get your surfboard into the waters and afterwards visit the Skellig Chocolate Factory for a coffee and taste one of the finest chocolates made in Ireland.

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Cill Rialaig Arts Centre

Cill Rialaig Art Centre & Famine Village

In 1991, The Cill Rialaig Project began to restore the ruins of a pre-famine village on Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula. They created an artists’ retreat, which has attracted more than 3,000 Irish and International artists.
The Cill Rialaig Arts Centre offers visitors the opportunity to meet and experience the work of resident artists, without impacting the remote Cill Rialaig Retreat.  It is a modern and impressive art centre, hosting a wide range of exhibitions, programmes and workshops, and offering great food in the Cill Rialaig Café.
For more info about Cill Rialaig:

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Things to do

Shore Fishing
Trips to Skellig Michael

Trips to Skellig Michael

Boats to Skellig Michael departs daily from Portmagee pier at approximately 10:00am, weather permitting. The boat trip to the Skelligs takes 45 minutes and you have between 2 to 2.5 hours on the rock. The return lasts a further 45 minutes and you are back in Portmagee at around 3:00pm. Trekking/hiking boots, raingear, fluid & snacks are recommended. It is advisable to book well in advance.
Skellig Michael on Lonely Planet

Skellig Ring Drive

Skellig Ring Drive

The Skellig Ring Drive is considered to be the best scenic route on the Ring of Kerry.
It starts in Cahersiveen, leads onto Valentia Island (accessible by ferry or bridge) to the fishing village of Portmagee, on to the glorious St Finian’s Bay, then Ballinskelligs, and back to the Cahersiveen – Waterville stretch of road on the main Ring of Kerry.
The landscape on this route is inaccessible to tour buses, so it is an exclusive experience for those travelling by car or motorcycle.You will be impressed with the breath-taking views of the Skellig Coast and it’s many related monuments and sites. Treat yourself to something special in one of our unique, award-winning foodie stops, which even includes an artisan chocolate factory just steps away from the beach.
This tour could be the highlight of your entire holiday, and still so few people know it even exists!
Skellig Ring on Lonely Planet

Derrynane Coastal Circuit

Derrynane Coastal Circuit

  • Trailhead: Derrynane National Historical Park Caherdaniel
  • Distance/Time: 8km / 3hr
  • Ascent: 20m/100m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Terrain: Coastal paved tracks
  • To suit: All levels of fitness
  • Start/Finish: Derrynane National Historical Park
  • Min. Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snacks, mobile phone
  • More info about Derrynane Coastal Circuit
Bolus Head Loop Walk

Bolus Head Loop Walk

  • Trailhead: US Navy Liberator Monument, Duchalla
  • Distance/Time: 9km / 2hrs-3hrs
  • Ascent: 270m
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Terrain: Minor road, hillside paths
  • To suit: Average level of fitness
  • Start/Finish: US Navy Liberator Monument, Duchalla
  • Min. Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snacks, mobile phone
    More info about Bolus Head Loop Walk
Emlagh Loop Walk

Emlagh Loop Walk

  • Trailhead: Inny Strand, Emlagh, Ballinskelligs
  • Distance/Time: 6km / 1.5hrs-2hrs
  • Ascent: 20m/45m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Terrain: Strand, bog roads, minor roads
  • To suit: All levels of fitness
  • Start/Finish: Inny Strand, Emlagh, Ballinskelligs
  • Min. Gear: Trekking shoes, raingear, fluid, mobile phone
    More info about Emlagh Loop Walk
Bentee Loop Walk

Bentee Loop Walk

  • Trailhead: Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry
  • Distance/Time: 10km / 3hrs-4hrs
  • Ascent: 380m/430m
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Terrain: Mass paths, hillside paths
  • To suit: Above average level of fitness
  • Start/Finish: Mapboard near Cahersiveen Garda station
  • Min. Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snacks, mobile phone
    More info about Beentee Loop Walk
Cnoc na d

Cnoc na d'Tobar Pilgrim Walk

  • Trailhead: Coonana harbor, Cahersiveen
  • Distance/Time: 8km / 4hrs-5hrs
  • Ascent: 700m
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Terrain: Rocky terrain, bog paths, steep sections
  • To suit: Average level of fitness
  • Start/Finish: Coonana harbor, Cahersiveen
  • Min. Gear: Trekking boots, raingear, fluid, snacks, mobile phone
    More info about Cnoc na dTobar Pilgrims Walk
Bray Head Loop Walk

Bray Head Loop Walk

  • Trailhead: Valentia Island
  • Distance/Time: 4km / 2hrs
  • Ascent: 100m/400m
  • Difficulty: Average
  • Terrain: Stony roadway, hillside paths
  • To suit: Average level of fitness
  • Start/Finish: Valentia Island
  • Min. Gear: Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snacks, mobile phone
    More info about Bray Head Loop Walk

Ocean & Lake Fishing

Fishing in Kerry

This region of County Kerry offers world-class angling opportunities, for everyone from a beginner to an expert. It’s unique location and climate means, that you can fish on lake, river, sea or shoreline.
Did you know that the first stop for a Wild Atlantic Salmon is here in Kerry?
You can try sea and shore angling on the Atlantic Ocean from Portmagee or Ballinskelligs Bay, or  try the river and lake fishing in Waterville. Depending on the season, you can expect to catch Salmon, Sea Trout, Pollack, Mackerel and a wide variety of species from Bass to Wrasse!
Ghillies, guides, permits and tackle can all be arranged locally, and there are many good websites that offer a wealth of detailed information for you to plan your angling trip.
Please note: Some of these remote and rugged locations can be dangerous for the unwary, so we always recommend that local information be sought to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

Blue Flag Beaches on the Ring of Kerry

Blue Flag Beaches ring of kerry

Rossbeigh Beach

  • Length: 2.5km
  • Lifeguard: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes

Kells Bay

  • Length: 300m
  • Lifeguard: No
  • Facilities: Yes

White Strand

  • Length: 500m
  • Lifeguard: No
  • Facilities: Yes

Ballinskelligs Beach

  • Length: 2km
  • Lifeguard: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes

Derrynane Beach

  • Length: 1.5km
  • Lifeguard: Yes
  • Facilities: Yes

More info about our blue flag beaches and lifeguard schedules:

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Food & Drink on the Ring of Kerry

Irish pub session

When you drive on the Ring of Kerry, you will pass many pubs, bars and restaurants. From fresh caught Atlantic fish over locally produced artesan foods, French crossiants and Italian pizza. Enjoy excellent food mixed with traditional Irish music sessions. Only to name a few:

The Point Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Reenard
Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Cahersiveen
The Fertha
Bar & Restaurant, Cahersiveen
The Anchor
Bar & Restaurant, Cahersiveen
The Oratory
Pizza & Wine, Cahersiveen
Ring of Kerry
Hotel, Cahersiveen
Cafe, Cahersiveen
Cafe, Cahersiveen

Sea Lodge Hotel Bar & Restaurant, Waterville
Seafood & Steakhouse, Waterville
The Smugglers Inn
Bar & Restaurant, Waterville
The Bridge Bar & Restaurant, Portmagee
Cable O’Leary’s
Bar & Restaurant, Ballinskelligs
The Royal Valentia Bar & Restaurant, Knightstown
The Blind Piper Pub & Restaurant, Caherdaniel
O’Carrolls’s Cove
Beach Bar & Restaurant, Caherdaniel