I'm headed to Ireland in September and have limited time. I could either drive the complete Ring of Kerry, or I could drive the Dingle Peninsula (but hopefully also squeeze in a drive through the Killarney National Park). I've heard from a lot of experienced Ireland traveler's that the Dingle Peninsula has more spectacular views and scenery, but I can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about when it comes to the Ring of Kerry then. Any advice, suggestions or blog posts would be helpful! Thanks in advance.
I think it's important to start with the fact that you won't be disappointed whichever you choose.
The Ring of Kerry is one of the best known drives in Ireland, many of the places are iconic and thinking of my own childhood holidays in this part of Ireland it was always the Ring of Kerry - places such as Sneem, Molls Gap, Kenmare and Killarney that featured.
Both routes take in amazing coastal scenery but the range of landscapes on the Ring of Kerry is more broad. There are lakes, lakes and mountains, lakes in between mountains, waterfalls such as Torc, country houses like Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farm and fine coastal views. Killarney feels a little touristy in a tacky way.
There are fine walks through the national park and you can detour off the official route onto lovely Valentia Island.
Dingle is a peninsula that I have spent a lot of time visiting in recent years. The drive is certainly shorter than the Ring of Kerry but it includes very fine, mostly coastal driving and vistas. There are a few passes, such as Ireland's highest road pass at Conor Pass, Gallarus Oratory is one of Ireland's most simple but well constructed buildings. For a beautiful beach try Coumeenoole, not suitable for swimming though.
The drive itself is shorter but in places more scary with very narrow roads, cliff edges and sharp bends.
Dingle is also touristy but in a more authentic way, it possesses some of Ireland's finest pubs for instance and is a great town for food, recently proclaimed to be Ireland's 'foodie town'. You can try your skills surfing at Inch Beach or elsewhere along the coast.
Both routes can be extremely busy, even in September - especially at weekends.
Either way I think you will enjoy it.
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I agree with Darren, some great suggestions there! Personally I love the Dingle Peninsula and spent a lot of time there over the years. The drive out to Slea Head is really beautiful and very Irish in an authentic way. Dingle town also has a lot of charm and some great seafood restaurants but can be a little touristy, even in September. Take a look at the coastal route called The Wild Atlantic Way and maybe drive part of that route. www.wildatlanticway.com
Have a great trip