Since last year’s successful visit to Ireland I made it my mission to visit every beautiful spot the island offers. Recently this mission has taken me to the Ring of Kerry, one of Ireland’s most famous – and touristic – places. And because I don’t like heaps of tourists floating around, I decided to explore the Ring of Kerry in winter.
County Kerry, located in the very south of Ireland, is world famous for its natural beauty and the most common way to explore it is by driving, hiking or even cycling the Ring of Kerry. From steep mountains to the stereotypical green, rolling hills, this route showcases the amazing, rugged landscapes you only see in fancy travel documentaries.
But where’s beauty there’s people, and loads of them. The Ring of Kerry is one of those places that seem unspoiled, until you visit it during the peak season. The narrow roads endure many cyclists and tour buses during the summer and more than anywhere else in Ireland, ambulances drive back and forth to save the ring’s victims.
That’s not going to be you, as the answer to all your problems in overcrowded Europe is simple: if you hate large crowds, go in winter! During my visit, at the beginning of March, the Ring of Kerry was almost completely empty. No honking tour buses, no traffic and only some – specifically sought out – people in my shots.
Get ready to pinch yourself: Here are 8 photos that will convince you to travel the Ring of Kerry in winter:
Road side mountain view at the Kerry Bog village.
An almost empty beach at Waterville, the town where Charlie Chaplin spent his holidays.
Gazing over the wild Atlantic Ocean. You can’t tell from the photograph, but it was almost impossible to stand near the edge on this particularly windy day. These people bravely did.
Awesome views over the Atlantic Ocean and a brave dude who gets up close.
Ladies’ view is one of the highlights for photo stops on the Ring of Kerry.
Who says nature can’t be beautiful in winter?
The best season for waterfalls? Yes, winter. This is Torc waterfall in Killarney National Park.
One of the ways to hike Kerry is climbing these steps. Did you know hiking the Ring of Kerry is for experienced hikers only and will take around 5 days?
Some practical information
You can drive or cycle the Ring of Kerry yourself, going clockwise or counter clockwise. Be aware of a bumpy ride in winter and overly crowded roads in summer. Cycling is especially dangerous because of the narrow, curvy roads and the amounts of traffic in summer.
It’s also possible to take a guided tour to the Ring of Kerry. Because I only had a short time to spend in Ireland, I booked a tour with Paddywagon, departing from Cork and Killarney. Although I rather like to travel by myself, I found this tour to be well worth the money, considering the many things we’ve seen on the way and the super friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, Michael. It was definitely to easiest way to get there in a short amount of time and I ended up having tons of fun.
Want to spend the night? Here are some hotels on the Ring of Kerry.
Visiting the Ring of Kerry yourself?