The Ring of Kerry, in Ireland, is one of the most renowned driving routes in Europe, if not the world. But, did you know, you can also have an amazing cycling holiday on the route also?
Annually, there is a charity cycle which sees hardcore cyclists tackle the 180km route in 1 day….but that does not allow much time to take in the sights!!
Our 8-Day Ring of Kerry Cycle Tour takes you along quiet country roads. You will pass through, and spend the night, in some picturesque villages as you start and finish in famous town of Killarney.
We will go through the highlights of this tour, travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way….
Getting to the start of the Ring of Kerry
The tour begins and ends in Killarney which very accessible from all major international airports in Ireland.
We have detailed information of public transport for the town in our Kerry Way Hiking Blog, but you have the option to arrive by bus, train and even plane with a regional airport only 20 minutes away.
Killarney, County Kerry
Your first, and last stop, on your tour will be Killarney. One of the best known tourist towns in Ireland.
A member of our team will meet you at your first house to work through your route notes and your GPS app. If you have chosen to include bike hire on your trip we will ensure you are fully fitted out on the bikes before you get going on the road.
Should time allow on your arrival day we have included a wonderful looped cycle around the Muckross Lake, one of the Lakes of Killarney, in the National Park. This short, 19km/ 12 mile, cycle will follow cycle lanes and paths to bring you to Muckross House, Meeting of the Waters, Torc Waterfall and more.
After a nice warm up cycle you have plenty of amazing options for your evening meal from Pub Grub to Fine Dining. We highly recommend checking our the Porterhouse and An Bricin.
After you meal be sure to visit some of the local bars, where you will be sure to find a traditional music session or two!!
Cycling from Killarney to Glenbeigh
Your first full cycle day sees you heading west, out of Killarney on cycle lanes through the National Park. You will travel along the northern side of Lough Leane, the largest Lake of Killarney, to the little village of Fossa. On the way you will pass Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, home of the 2010 & 2011 Irish Open.
As you leave the N72 road after Fossa you will start to climb a little towards Glencar. Be sure to enjoy the views Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, in the distance. At the top of your climb – 130m over 8km – you will pass by Lough Acoose on your right before reaching Glencar.
Leaving the L4010 you will start your descent towards Glenbeigh cycling along the banks of Caragh Lake before rejoining the N70 for 5km to arrive in the village of Glenbeigh for your overnight.
Should time, and energy levels, allow this evening or tomorrow we would recommend taking a short 4km cycle to the scenic beach at Rossbeigh.
Bike from Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen
Day 2 takes you further west along the coast to harbour town of Cahersiveen.
Along the way you will have stunning vistas of the Wild Atlantic Coast. After around 14km you will pass Kells Bay House and Gardens, which is well worth a visit. This award winning site is home to stunning tree-ferns and exotic plants due to a unique microclimate created by the Gulf Stream aw wells as Ireland’s longest rope-bridge.
Before you arrive to Cahersiveen our route diverts you north of the town to visit Cahergal Ring Fort and Leacanabuile Ring Fort.
You will then loop back in to the town passing the Old Barracks heritage centre and a towering Catholic Church named in honor of Daniel O’Connell – known as the Liberator in Irish history.
During your 2 nights in Cahersiveen we highly recommend visiting QC’s Seafood Restaurant for one of your evening meals.
Rest Day in Cahersiveen or Valentia Loop
Today you have a number of choices for things to do.
- Take a rest day and maybe wander around the town to explore the sites here.
- Take a boat trip to Skellig Michael – known worldwide now for appearing in Star Wars The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. This would need to be booked directly with the boat tour operators, such as Casey’s Skellig Islands Tours or Skellig Rock Tours.
- A looped cycle option from Cahersiveen to Valentia Island and to the Kerry Cliffs is included in your route notes. The day starts with a boat trip on the car ferry to Valentia Island from Cahersiveen. This route will take you around the island, visiting the first Tetrapod Tracks, Valentia Lighthouse, Trans-Atlantic Cable Station and more before arriving at the bridge to Portmagee. Cross the bridge to visit the stunning Kerry Cliffs before returning to the ferry and back to Cahersiveen.
Cahersiveen to Glencar Route
For safety reasons we now divert off the main Ring of Kerry Route. There is no option to avoid the main N70 from Cahersiveen to Waterville and on to Caherdaniel, which is an extremely busy stretch.
Instead, we take you on an extremely scenic cycle, inland to Glencar travelling through the Inny Valley. You will wind your way through this wonderful landscape and over the legendary Ballaghisheen pass the views that meet you are as majestic as the valley that sweeps away below you.
You will spend the night, just north of Glencar, at Blackstones Bridge. Here your host will provide you with a lovely, homecooked, dinner as you enjoy the the sounds of the babbling water in the river outside.
Glencar to Kenmare Cycle
Continuing through the Heartland of Kerry you will enjoy the views across the Brida Valley as you meander your way along the quite country roads to the spectacular Ballaghbeama Gap. Cycle through Irish peatland following the Blackwater River and enjoying the vista across Kenmare bay. Your day’s adventure finishes in the beautiful town of Kenmare where you can enjoy one of the many top class restaurants or cosy pubs this town has to offer.
Return to Killarney
The final cycle is potentially one of the most stunning.
You will travel back to Killarney through more of the National Park. Starting with a climb out of Kenmare to meet the R568 (Killarney to Sneem Road). You will follow this road for 2km, towards Molls Gap, before turning off to descend in to the Black Valley. Take the time at the top of this road to admire the wonderful views of the valley and the road meandering ahead of you.
Cycling through the valley you have the option to visit Lord Brandon’s Cottage, a great option for refreshments along the way.
You will start to climb again, out of the valley, towards the Gap of Dunloe. Its a 200m climb over 3km but it really is worth it once you reach the top! You will be greeted by stunning views of the glacial valley with lakes scattered either side of the road. Again, be sure to stop and take it all in before you follow the road downhill as it twists and turns along the valley floor.
At the end of the “Gap” you will arrive at the famous Kate Kearney’s Cottage – a great place for a bite to eat, a pint or and Irish Coffee!
After you leave Kate Kearney’s you will reach the N72 again at Fossa, where you retrace your steps – back through the National Park – to Killarney.
Depart the Ring of Kerry
After a wonderful week of cycling you start your journey home. As mentioned for your arrival, there is an abundance of public options to get you to the airport to depart.