Set in the southwest of Ireland, the Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive encompassing the Iveragh Peninsula. The route is 111 miles (172 km) and passes through numerous villages along the rocky coastline. The famous island, Skellig Michael, is also included, although only reachable by ferry from the colorful town of Portmagee.
The Iveragh Peninsula’s transportation hub—and a good place to start your visit—is the city of Killarney, which borders Killarney National Park. With regional trains and several national roads leading the way, it’s easy to visit the Ring of Kerry from many major cities in Ireland.
Cork is the closest major city, although Killarney is also reachable from Limerick and Shannon Airport, Ireland’s western international airport. Despite the distance, you can also visit the Ring of Kerry from Dublin. The east and west coasts of Ireland are well-connected by highways, bus routes, and trains. For a quicker trip, you can also take a flight from Dublin to Kerry Airport.
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Cork is connected to Killarney by a 1.5-hour drive along national road N22. Rental cars and private transfers are great options available in both the city center and at the airport. Direct buses also take 1.5 hours and depart regularly from Cork’s main station, Parnell Place.
The train is another option. Early and late departures are direct and follow suit with a 1.5-hour journey time. Other routes require one connection in Mallow, adding about 30 minutes to the trip.
Once in Killarney, it’s best to enjoy the Ring of Kerry by car. The scenery is some of Ireland’s best, and easily enjoyed as the route follows roads N20/21 around the entire peninsula. But if you don’t have a car, you can rely on buses to reach most of the scenic towns along the way, including Sneem, Cahersiveen, and Killorglin. If you want to visit some of the smaller villages off the main route, it’s best to check bus schedules at the tourist offices in Killarney or Kenmare.
If you’re interested in Ireland’s popular walking and hiking trails, County Cork is home to some of the most beautiful trails. This 8-day walking itinerary makes the journey from Cork to Killarney, adding in numerous stops along the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.
From Limerick (Shannon Airport)
Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours
Limerick is near Shannon Airport and connected to Killarney by roads N21 and N23. Rental cars and private transfers are the fastest option, taking just 1.5 hours for the journey. Buses are operated by Ireland’s bus service, Bus Éireann, and also follow a similar route. Some departures do require a connection in Tralee, so travel times range from 2 to 3 hours. If starting at Shannon Airport, a second connection in Limerick is necessary, adding about 30 additional minutes to the trip.
You can also reach Killarney by train, but keep in mind that the routes aren’t direct and require two connections (one at the Limerick Junction station and another in Mallow) and can take up to 3 hours.
For travel between Killarney and the Ring of Kerry, see the first option.
Duration: 1.5 - 6.5 hours
Dublin is well-connected to Ireland’s southwest coast. The fastest way to reach Killarney is by flight, with Aer Lingus offering two daily departures to Kerry Airport. From the airport, a 20-minute taxi or private transfer will get you to Killarney. Rental cars can also be booked at Kerry Airport.
If you prefer to drive, major highways traverse the country and connect the capital city with Killarney in about 3.5 hours. Buses take a similar route, but require a connection in Limerick and take 6 - 6.5 hours to reach the Ring of Kerry.
Trains are another option, connecting the two cities in about 3.5 hours via the town of Mallow. For better details of the journey, check out How to Get from Dublin to Killarney. For travel between Killarney and the Ring of Kerry, see the first option.