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Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

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Swanton, Md
posts: 111
reviews: 30
Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

We are going to be staying in Kenmare for our trip around the Ring of Kerry, and we read in Rick Steves that if we go counter to the tour buses, we can time it so as to miss most of the bus traffic. It makes sense to me, but I have also heard that there are many drawbacks. Any comments or suggestions? Also, I understand that most of the buses start in Killarney. Do they all start at about the same time in the morning? If so, what time would that be? We really don't want to be following bunches of buses if we can avoid it in any way! Tthanks in advance for any advice.

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney, Berny Riviere
posts: 17,855
reviews: 35
1. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

John, in September numbers will have dropped off quite a bit.

Anyone living in Kerry will suggest that unless you have a specific plan i.e. go from Kenmare to Waterville and then Cahersiveen and on to Dingle then you are better off doing the Ring Anti-clockwise. We always do it anti-clock in October and we've never had a problem.

The full ring takes a day so the busses will all start roughly before 11am.

But remember you could just as easily be behind a local Bus Eireann bus as well!! Or a truck or whatever.

For me (and others, I suspect) the best bits are actually OFF the Ring and in places that the busses can't and dont' reach.

For example in Glenbeigh take a right at the end of the village and go down to Rossbeigh Beach.

In Cahersiveen, follow the signs for St. Finian's Bay and Skelligs Chocolate Factory (a lovely place to visit, their chocolate is divine.) http://www.skelligschocolate.com/

After Waterville drive over to Derrynane House and Tropical Gardens and Derrynane Beach. heritageireland.ie/en/…

Valentia Island with its wonderful slate Grotto is also worth a visit.

Allow yourself time to visit these places and you will end up avoiding the busses.

Rick Steves isn't very popular on this forum. Many of us think that he really doesn't know what he is talking about!!

Ventry, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle Peninsula
posts: 6,235
reviews: 88
2. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

Do the sensible thing and go anticlockwise

Reno, Nevada
posts: 826
reviews: 164
3. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

Of course, agree with the DE's comments. Just to add, as an American who can drive on the left, I'd rather be sitting back behind a slow bus on a road that you want to take slowly anyway versus seeing buses coming at you head on the driver's side. Done both, and I'd rather go with the flow counter-clock.

Canada
posts: 891
reviews: 40
4. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

I did it clockwise on a Sunday in September and there was not any problem with encountering buses coming at me. I started early -8:30 and hit a lot of the places that Bean suggests. The only line-up was a 10 minute wait at the Valencia ferry to get back to the mainland.

I even had time to stop in Killarney for a few hours and then headed back to Kenmare.

I got a lot of useful info from the Irish DE's but some of them are completely inflexible when it comes to which way to drive the Ring.

Of course you could skip the RofK completely and do Beara instead!

.

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney, Berny Riviere
posts: 17,855
reviews: 35
5. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

Valentia can be accessed via a bridge at Portmagee. No need to get the ferry if you don't wish to.

And the reason the DEs recommend a certain route is because most of us have driven the Ring of Kerry many many times and at different times of the year.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 7,825
reviews: 25
6. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

>>>I got a lot of useful info from the Irish DE's but some of them are completely inflexible when it comes to which way to drive the Ring.<<<

I find that most opinions are "inflexible". Information and advise is what you make of it . . . take it for what it is worth.

Swanton, Md
posts: 111
reviews: 30
7. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

Thanks for the info. It's always good to hear the pro and cons of any issue. I may end up just doing the Beara and Dingle and skip the Ring!

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
posts: 3,308
reviews: 42
8. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

I suppose I am one of those that is "inflexible" when it comes to the ROK direction. I even went and changed the wikipedia entry on the matter. If one is beginning in Killarney early and does not expect to detour much off the ROK then follow the buses otherwise you will meet most of them around the same time head-on half way through your trip on a possible narrow road with you on the water side of a cliff!. If one expects to detour off the ROK a lot, then either way is fine and so just to be safe, follow the busses.

If however you are staying in Kenmare and get an early start and plan to be back in Kenmare to freshen up before dinner, then either follow the busses or plan for a relatively late dinner in Kenmare. The longest narrow section of the ROK is also the most scenic and are the 15 or so miles between Muckross House and the lead into Kenmare. If you are on this road between 4 and 6 pm you are likely to meet ever single one of the busses head-on around blind corners on sections that are not wide enough for a bus and anything else. If you plan to make a day of it, my advice would be to stay in the Muckross House, Gardens, Farm area until past 6pm and then make the journey back. In September it will still be light out as it would also not be advisable to travel this unlit and poorly marked road in the dark. It is akin to the Road to Hana on after dark.

Rochester NY
posts: 186
reviews: 2
9. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

So in August and I am in Kenmare headed to Dingle, it does not make any sense to go counter clockwise, so any do's, don'ts, times of day I should be aware or plan on

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
posts: 3,308
reviews: 42
10. Re: Ring of Kerry driving against tour bus traffic

Hi CCK42. I am not sure that one has to not go counter-clockwise when going from Kenmare to Dingle. If you have not been to Killarney National Park before your time or during your time in Kenmare then you may wish to do that on your way to Dingle, especially if you will have driven the Beara Peninsula while in Kenmare and plan a drive out on the Dingle Pen when in Dingle. Of the three coastal drives (Beara, ROK and Dingle) ROK comes in 3rd place in most peoples pecking order and so instead of you doing 3 coastal drives you may wish to omit the less favored one and opt for and inland drive via Killarney National Park on your way from Kenmare to Dingle. To me, the most scenic portion of the ROK is the 10 or so miles along the lakes of Killarney.

If someone has convinced you otherwise and you wish to go from Kenmare along the coast to Dingle then most certainly detour off the main road as much as possible and visit the other sites as mentioned in the above posts. Portmagee and Valentia Island would be among my favorites and well as Derrynane House and the beach off to the left as you face the house.

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