The Ring of Kerry is a driving route around the beautiful coastal and mountain paths of County Kerry, Ireland. The walking equivalent is the Kerry Way, taking in views and sights that are inaccessible by car. So what majesty can you expect to witness on your hike around the Ring of Kerry?
Ring of Kerry and the Kerry Way
The official trailhead of both the Ring of Kerry and the Kerry Way is Killarney. Killarney is a fantastic cultural and outdoors hub, with authentic Irish pubs aplenty and it’s very own national park.
The Ring of Kerry is a 179km drive, while the Kerry Way is a strenuous 214km hike. You don’t need to undertake this all in one go, however. Our tours offer plenty of itineraries to suit people of all abilities!
The Kerry Way passes through some of the most remote and breathtaking landscapes that Ireland has to offer, with different scenery around every turn. Mountain passes, coastal regions, beaches and authentic towns are all on the agenda on this highly popular walking route.
Life on Skellig Michael
One of the most popular attractions on both the Ring of Kerry and the Kerry Way is the world UNESCO heritage site, Skellig Michael. It is only accessible by boat and the number of visitors is limited per day.
One of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland was on Skellig Michael, and became a safe-haven for Catholics between 600 A.D. and 1,300 A.D. The monks at this time lived in beehive-shaped huts, and their day consisted of fishing, gardening and praying. 670 steps led from the settlement down to the ocean, a treacherous daily descent.
Wildlife on Skellig Michael
Bird life is in abundance on Skellig Michael, with birds such as Gannets, Puffins, Terns and Cormorants all following in the monks’ footsteps by taking refuge here.
Star Wars was famously filmed on Skellig Michael in 2014 and 2015, a scene at the end of Episode VII – The Force Awakens and also for Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.
Getting to Skellig Michael
Getting to Skellig Michael is only possible by boat, with a limited number of visitors per day. You need to book well in advance if you want to avoid disappointment.
Ross castle is situated on the shores of Lough Leane, just outside the town of Killarney. It was built in the 15th Century and proved to be an incredibly important stronghold for Irish clans.
The prophecy of the castle went,
“Ross may all assault disdain
Till on Lough Lein strange ship shall sail.”
This mean that Ross Castle would never fall until warships sailed on Lough Leane. In the mid-1600s, British warships were guided down the River Laune and dragged across land onto Lough Leane.
Ross Castle subsequently surrendered.
These are just some of the attractions that you can see along our Kerry Way hiking tour. If attractions aren’t your cup of tea, the scenery itself should be persuasion enough.