The Kerry Peninsula (aka Ring of Kerry) is the next peninsula after the Beara Peninsula driving from Southeast to Southwest in Ireland. Although it is likely beautiful, it is the most touristy of the 3 rings, so horror of horrors, we skipped it. We heard that the Ring of Beara and the Ring of Dingle were even more amazing and much less touristy than the Ring of Kerry. We`re not saying that we don`t recommend the Ring of Kerry, but given time restrictions, choose the Dingle Peninsula as a first choice. Of course we always avoid the most touristy places wherever we travel. As we headed toward the Dingle Peninsula, we made a few notable stops.
First we headed through picturesque and winding Moll`s Gap towards Killarney National Park.
The Killarney National Park sign was a little worse for wear, but the Killarney Forest was rich and green. Killarney is a large park filled with deep, lake-filled valleys with astounding views and the MacGillicuddy Reeks – Ireland’s largest mountain range.
In this part of Killarney Park, we walked through the pretty forest to Torc Waterfall.
Further through the park, we came to Muckross Gardens.
Best of all in the Killarney area, you can rent Jaunting Cars: Jaunting Cars. Jaunting cars are horse and buggy rides into the countryside where there are no cars. Don`t be in a rush to get somewhere; stop and try something different.
Killarney is a touristy town of 100 K just inside Killarney National Park. We were very curious to see it because of the many traditional songs and stories about Killarney. It’s a pretty town, first written of in early 1600`s, rich with historic buildings and has a lively downtown hub of hotels and pubs.
The Gap of Dunloe is not one of the three rings, but is just above the Ring of Kerry and was simply jaw-dropping. We started to cross it…
Pausing after a few hours to look at this incredible winding road far into the mountains at the edge of Killarney Park, we both gasped. Normally, we just have to see what is at the end of “that little road”, but this time we quickly decided that crawling along the zig-zag road for the past few hours was long enough. If we continued, we would likely end up sleeping in the car in the middle of the Dunloe gap.