Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
The Ring of Kerry is one of the most popular sites on all Ireland because there is just so much going on there. The Killarney area, where most of the tours begin, is well set up for visitors with many fine eateries, great hotels and pubs, and the night life is certain not to disappoint.
The tourist trail is about 100 miles, starting in the town of Killarney, heading around the Iveragh Peninsula, passing through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorglin.
The Ring of Kerry is on many bus routes during the summer months. With the roads being narrow, and to avoid congestion, the buses run in counter-clockwise direction, starting in Killorglin first. Automobiles travel in the opposite direction, going first to Kenmare, and thus avoiding delays caused by tour buses.
There is a walking path for hikers; a cycling route for those on two wheels, and of course, the tour buses, but for my money, rent a jaunting car and enjoy the scenery.
Killarney National Park is just outside the town, and is the first national park in Ireland. The Muckross House is the jewel in this crown, and the scenery includes the lovely Lakes of Killarney. Some of the other sights there are Ladies View, Ross Castle and Ross Island, Tomies Oakwood, and Torc Waterfall.
Jaunting cars can be rented to take tourists on a scenic ride to the estate.
The Muckross House, gardens, and its traditional farms are open to the public with guided tours of the house’s rooms. There are 65 rooms in the mansion, all full of antique trappings. The Muckross Gardens are famous for their collection of rhododendrons, hybrids and azaleas, together with some of the world’s most exotic trees. The Muckross Traditional Farms is a working farm project that recreates authentic Irish rural life in the 1930s.
The Gap of Dunloe is a tight pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and the Purple Mountains, another small mountain range near Killarney. The road through the Gap is narrow, but that doesn't stop the jaunting cars. Have the jarvies do the driving, and you'll likely get a few good stories for your troubles.
The cliffs of the Gap of Dunloe are popular with rock-climbers. The slopes above the Black Lake and Coosaun Lough are the best sites for climbs. The current guide lists a total of 130 climbs, ranging in difficulty from below VS to above E2. most of the climbs are peppered with horizontal cracks so its best that you bring a camming device if you plan on climbing the slopes.
These are just a few of the sights that one would touch on a visit to the Ring of Kerry, a worthwhile point of interest on any Irish vacation.
Ladies View, Ring of Kerry, Killarney, County Kerry, Munster, Eire (Republic of Ireland)
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