Ring of Kerry — a magical Irish weekend

Road Cycling Collection by
komoot

The names of the places you'll pass on this ride sound like something out of a fantasy film. You assume that you'll encounter small trolls, dwarves and other mythical creatures as you glide through the unbelievably green, unimaginably beautiful landscape in front of a magical backdrop. Only this place actually exists — and it's called the Ring of Kerry. Here, in this wonderful corner of Ireland, you'll enjoy picturesque bays, rugged cliffs and lush green mountain ridges. You'll cross idyllic villages and pass mystical stone circles or ancient bridges that are silent witnesses to the long history of this extraordinary landscape.

There is no better means to discover this stunning place than by bike. As you glide over the landscape on two wheels, you'll travel fast enough to discover the Ring of Kerry over a long weekend, whilst being slow enough that you'll have ample time to take it all in. You'll feel the mild wind blowing around your ears, hear the sound of the waves as you roll along the coast and smell the scent of the numerous, rare herbs and plants on the lush green hills of the mountains. And you'll be able to stop whenever you want to see something amazing along the way or just enjoy the breathtaking scenery for a little longer.

By bike, you have access to roads and paths that are rarely used by cars. And this is exactly what you'll be doing on the three stages of this ride. We've planned these routes so that they stick to as many side roads as possible and avoid the centers of the touristy hustle and bustle often found in these parts. We've also planned this route in a clockwise direction as trucks and buses — the very vehicles that ferry tourists in and out of this region — tend to drive in the other direction to avoid road jams along the way. By riding this route clockwise, you shouldn't have many, if any, trucks, buses or lorries riding up alongside you, making this a safer and quieter alternative to the standard tourist route.

When you ride through such an enchanting landscape, it makes sense to spend the nights as close to nature as possible. That's why we've added in campsites as your places to spend the night. This will make your Ring-of-Kerry weekend a really great outdoor bikepacking adventure. If you prefer a little more comfort, the small towns along the way also offer plenty of opportunities to sleep with a roof over your head. The numerous Bed & Breakfasts, which are usually well prepared for cyclists, offer an inexpensive alternative.

To divide the full 150-mile (236-kilometer) ride into something a little more manageable, we've planned three stages, each around 50 miles long (80 kilometers). If you are used to longer distances, you can, of course, make two slightly longer rides out of them. In principle, the routes are intended for road bikes, although some of the streets you'll ride down maybe a tad bumpy. The first stage also includes a gravel passage that is about three miles (five kilometers) long. We therefore recommend that you equip your road bike with slightly thicker tires or use a gravel bike. This will make you much more flexible and safer on the road.

To get you there, there are some non-stop flights to Kerry County Airport, a small airport located just a few miles from Killarney. Alternatively, you can fly to Dublin and take the three-hour train to Killarney. If you want to travel by train, make sure you book your bike in advance, as well as on the plane, of course. If you have more time, it's best to enjoy our Ring-of-Kerry ride as part of a longer holiday — because the rest of Ireland is beautiful too!

On The Map

Ring of Kerry Tours

  • Expert
    05:57
    81.5 km
    13.7 km/h
    1,140 m
    1,150 m
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Killarney is the perfect base for a road bike ride across the Ring of Kerry. The small town is easily accessible and has a cozy town center with small pubs where you can sniff a little Irish atmosphere or sip a delicious Guinness the night before the start of the tour. Various B & Bs and hotels offer accommodation or - if you like it down-to-earth and close to nature - a campsite close to the center.No sooner have you rolled out of town than you are in the middle of the picturesque landscape of Killarney National Park. First, our route leads a few miles flat along the north shore of Lough Leane, the idyllic lake just outside the city. Then it's time for the Gap of Dunloe, a small mountain pass that will impress you with its beautiful foresight. As the narrow road winds up between Macgillycuddy's Reeks and Purple Mountain, it's just breathtakingly beautiful.In the further course of the tour, we have built a small loop, which has one main purpose: We do not want to deprive you Lady's View. The view from here was already enjoyed by the noble ladies of the court in the times of Queen Victoria in the 19th century and when you stand there, you also know why. By the way, you can alternatively skip the Gap of Dunloe and start from Killarny directly to the south. This saves you about 20 kilometers but also a beautiful mountain pass.A narrow road, which narrows for about five kilometers to a dirt road, you get to Kenmare. With a little thicker tires, it's no problem to drive here. The alternative main road, which is quite busy during the season, also leads to Kenmare. Along the coast you drive from here to the destination of the stage, in the cozy village of Sneem. Although there is no campsite, but a good selection of B & Bs. Before you buy one, we recommend a stop at Kelly's Bakery. Here are some great homemade cakes and tarts that you'll love! Incidentally, opposite is a bike shop - if you need spare parts or just want to talk shop.

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  • Expert
    05:34
    79.3 km
    14.3 km/h
    1,010 m
    990 m
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Sneem you start with a small uphill over a hill, from which you roll a little later directly to the coast. Here you follow the road from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the sea and the rugged coastline. On the left you pass a wonderfully situated campsite, which is a nice alternative to accommodation in Sneem, if you prefer camping.In Caherdaniel a short detour to the beach is waiting for you. Of course, you can simply omit this "detour". It is worthwhile, however, to take the total of around six kilometers. Because this beach is just beautiful. Sit in the fine sand while enjoying the great view or take a short walk over the black rocks. Pure enjoyment, we can promise you that.It follows a longer climb to the Beenarourke. At the top there is a vantage point that is once again breathtaking. You have a beautiful view of the incredibly green, beautiful coastal landscape. It follows a rapid descent. Then we leave the official road of the Ring of Kerry. Here begins a small, quiet trip to the island of Valentia on you.Strictly speaking, it is no longer an island, as it was connected in 1971 by a bridge to the mainland. Valentia Island measures only twelve times five kilometers, but is so beautiful that the visit and the journey are absolutely worthwhile. After a short detour to the first transatlantic telegraph station, continue to Knightstown. In the small, picturesque place you can end the day comfortably and then refer your B & B or the campsite directly in front of the entrance.

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  • Expert
    05:14
    77.2 km
    14.8 km/h
    740 m
    720 m
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Could a day start better? You are on a mini island in Ireland. Water around you and the fantastic view of a landscape that could not be more inviting. And exactly this landscape is the scene of today's bike ride over the Ring of Kerry. But before you pedal yourself, you can relax a bit: the ferry takes over the first ten minutes.From Reenard Point, you roll comfortably to Caherciveen. The city is as if painted for a leisurely breakfast. Freshly strengthened, it can start right. The third leg of our Ring of Kerry tour takes you back to the starting point in Killarnay. On the way you can once again enjoy all the beauty that Ireland has to offer here. The route leads you to an idyllic beach and up to a beautiful mountain lake - for variety is ensured.Again we left the main road out as often as possible. The small side roads are sometimes a bit bumpy, but it is much quieter and you get even more beautiful views of nature. After about 77 kilometers, you approach your goal. In the center of Killarney your rewarding Guinness (or other refreshment) is waiting for you, to which you can once again pass on the exceptionally beautiful tours of the last days.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    3
  • Distance
    238 km
  • Duration
    16:45 h
  • Elevation
    2,890 m

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