A Driver’s Guide to Stops in County Kerry
Posted on January 08, 2012 by sguese
A car traverses the Ring of Kerry, usually behind a giant tour bus. Just don’t look down, the driver seems to hum with each twist of the bend. The highlight to County Kerry in Ireland, what drives around two million tourists each year to drive to these parts is the famous Ring of Kerry. And while the tour buses fight to share the narrow mountain roads of this stretch of Ireland, they are all here for a reason, to see softly rolling green fields, long seascapes and vibrant little towns.
Begin or end in Kenmare: Many driving the Ring of Kerry either go it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Regardless you should end up in Kenmare. The Kenmare Druid Circle makes for a nice picture of history. The large druid stone circle sits on a hill near the central town market. Magnificently intact, the circle is made up of 15 standing stones arranged around a central boulder.
Drive the Iveragh Peninsula: Most who drive the Ring of Kerry don’t know its official name. The Iveragh Peninsula juts out into the water to form a finger of land. The Ring of Kerry is its 178 kilometers of road that traces its edges. While you could stick to that 178 kilometers of road, drivers are encouraged to explore the Peninsula’s 1,813 square kilometers of wild splendor. Turn down a side road and get lost.
Head down to the Bog: The Kerry Bog Village Museum is worth a visit while in the area. The cluster of thatched-roof cottages tells of life in Kerry in the early 1800s. You can see blacksmith’s forge and house along with a tradesman’s house.
Get busy in Killarney: Killarney is obviously County Kerry’s main tourist center. Said to be one of the busiest tourist hubs in rural Ireland, Killarney is not all kitsch. Most come here to explore Killarney National Park, just beyond the city. The quiet rural splendor of 65 square kilometers blankets in moss and wildflowers. There are also two estates within the park, Muchross and Knockreer.
Play the part in an Irish Manor: County Kerry is home to several old Irish manor houses include the Derrynane House National Historic Park. The manor house was once the seat of the O’Connell’s. It was here Ireland’s Great Liberator Daniel O’Connell lived. The home boasts a museum to his life, set up along the Ring of Kerry Coast in between Waterville and Caherdaniel.
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