Day Tours Kerry
Explore the many different types of tours on offer in Kerry and links to the accredited tourism operators who provide them. Choose your favourites based on your interest, ability and time available. Further detailed information on the above tours can be provided by the tour operators:
Below are just some of the most popular day tours to enjoy in Kerry:
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is by far the most famous Day Tour in Ireland, if destinations received Oscars then this tour would be nominated each year. Throughout its 216 kilometres, you will travel around the magnificent MacGillicuddy Reeks Mountain Range and the Iveragh Peninsula, along the breath-taking Atlantic Coast, Dingle Bay and Kenmare Bay, returning to Killarney through the famed Molls Gap, Ladies View and Killarney National Park. En route, are the lovely coastal villages of Glenbeigh, Waterville and Sneem and the thriving market towns of Killorglin and Cahersiveen. The beautiful town of Kenmare is a must for the independent traveller.
The Ring embraces many historical, cultural and archaeological points such as the Heritage Centre, Stone Circles, the Old Barrocks and Castle ruins in Caherciveen; The Skellig Experience (Valentia Island), Derrynane House, prehistoric Staigue Fort and Kenmare Heritage Centre. You will definitely need to allow time for photo stops, shop visits and lunch on this tour.
Dingle, Blasket Islands & Slea Head
Slea Head is Europe’s most westerly point and its outlying historic Blasket Islands are known locally as the ‘next parish to America’. The beauty of its rugged coastline and landscape inspired the famous film director David Lean, to shoot his epic film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ on location in the Dingle Peninsula. The area is packed with ancient historic sites and early Christian dwellings such as, Gallarus Oratory [9th century Christian Oratory], Beehive Huts (early Christian Monks dwellings) and the Blasket Islands Interpretative Centre.
The Blasket Islands are only a 15km drive from the Dingle village of Dun Chaoin and from there you can relax and enjoy a 20-minute ferry ride to the magical Islands. Although the islands are only 20 minutes from mainland, the isolation and sheer uniqueness of the culture that remains gives a feeling of a completely different world. The islands were inhabited until 1953 and the strong cultural linkage derives from the Gealtacht and Irish speaking natives.
Departing Killarney, the route passes through Milltown and Castlemaine before arriving at the beautiful fishing harbour town of Dingle, home of Dingle Oceanworld and Fungie; Ireland’s favourite bottle nose dolphin who has been busy entertaining visitors off the coast of Dingle since 1983. You can take a boat tour around the coast and who knows, you just might be lucky enough to see the famous Fungi for yourself!
If you are a sea food lover, then you will most definitely want to stop for lunch in Dingle town.
Then onwards and around the ever scenic Slea Head and back via Dingle to Killarney. Allow c. 6 hours for a leisurely tour.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 and home to one of Ireland’s earliest monastic settlements, Skellig Michael (Sceilig Michíl) offers an unforgettable experience. The Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael at 218 meters and Small Skellig, appear dominantly off the Atlantic coast in South Kerry, near a quaint village called Portmagee; on the Ring of Kerry route.
Famously and most recently, Skellig Michael made an Oscar worthy performance appearing in the latest of the Star Wars franchise.
The history of Skellig Michael dates back to 600AD and holds stories of suppressed Catholics who sought refuge on the island. Today it houses the remains of an impressive Christian Monastery, which derives from the 6th-8th century and remained occupied by the St. Fionan’s monks until at least the 12th century. The fantastic stone beehive huts, as seen on the island today, were home to the monks who settled there all those years ago. A little more than in most households today, the monks only had to descend 670 steps each time they wanted to catch food, as their diet mainly consisted of fish and seabirds. The monks fled sometime around the 13th century and the island soon became a very popular pilgrimage destination.
The Small Skellig is home to the second largest colony of gannets in the world, providing a home for over 27,000 of these seabirds.
The Beara Peninsula
Forming the coastal boundary between Kerry and Cork, the Ring of Beara Peninsula at 137km is in a world of its own with unique rugged landscape and glorious coastal views while taking in many quirky villages along the route. The Healy Pass, the road which passes the Caha Mountains between Kerry and Cork, is akin to a dramatic scene in a movie; winding around the coastal edges with panoramic views of inspiring landscape. This route leads you through many fishing villages, most notably, Glengarrif. If you have enough time, a boat trip out to the Garnish Islands & Italian Gardens will really add to your day. The peaceful air around the island as well as magnificent views is sure to make lifelong memories in your holiday collections.
The Wild Atlantic Way Kerry
Arguably the most breath-taking coastal driving route in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way spans an awesome 2,500km taking in the North, West Donegal, Galway, Cork and fortunately one of the five winding sections is a glorious road leading to Killarney, Co. Kerry in Southern Ireland. The route can be driven from either end of the Country and you can choose the sections you wish to take, as you may not have the time to complete it all.
The Kerry stage of the Wild Atlantic Way is 350km; setting out from Killarney and on to Killorglin, you will eventually reach Dingle Bay and the ‘road to America’. Taking the Slea Head route around the coast, you will be greeted with fantastic view of the Skelligs & powerful coastline and Blasket Islands. Take your time to enjoy this stunning wonder of Mother Nature.
The Gap of Dunloe Bus and Boat Tour
The Gap of Dunloe day tour is a journey which encompasses Killarney’s entire National Park. During the tour, passengers will see such sights as the Kate Kearney’s Cottage, the Gap of Dunloe, the Old Weir Bridge and Ross Castle.
The trip departs daily from Killarney Town Centre. Guests can also collect clients from their accommodation in the Killarney area.
Your journey begins with a bus trip to Kate Kearney's Cottage or Ross Castle (recommended starting point for walkers as it allows more time). For those who may chose not to walk Jaunting carts are available at Kate Kearney's Cottage & Lord Brandon's Cottage, to be paid in to the jarvey on the day. The Jaunting cart's take approximately 1.5 hours to travel the 7-mile journey through the Gap.
Boat transport through the National Park with one of our experienced Boat Drivers. The boat tour brings you through the 3 lakes and 2 rivers of the National Park. A guided tour by the driver full of folklore and legends will ensure a memorable day for all ages.
The tour described above is open to variation depending in which tour company you chose to go with.
Ross Castle to the Gap of Dunloe - Bike on Boat
Departing from Reen Pier, Ross Castle every morning.
With hundreds of great cycling routes around the Killarney region it is a shame to miss out on the experience of this tour. You cycle to Ross Castle and join the tour there and take in the breath-taking Lakes of Killarney, Old Weir Bridge and the long range. Booking is essential.
Killarney – Reen Pier Boat Trips – Inisfallen Abbey
Inisfallen Abbey, located on Loch Léin in Killarney National Park, was founded in the 6th century by Saint Fionán. For a time, the island was a leper colony but in the Middle Ages became an important centre of learning. The famous Annals of Inisfallen were written here between the 12th and 15th centuries. The monastery suffered many raids from Vikings and local clans. The buildings you see on the island today date mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries. Of particular interest is the Romanesque doorway of the little oratory. The island can be visited by boat with Gap of Dunloe Adventure Tours.
Killarney Boat Trips
A boat trip on the Killarney lakes is recommended. There are a number of options available.
Two waterbuses operate from Ross Castle and they’ll bring you on a tour of Lough Léin, accompanied by a guided commentary on the history, folklore, flora and fauna of the Killarney lakes.
If you prefer to travel by open boat you could take a short trip to Inisfallen Island, also from Ross Castle. Inisfallen has the remains of a medieval monastery and it’s also where one of the most important books on Irish history was written, The Annals of Inisfallen. During the middle ages the island was a great centre of learning and among its students was said to be Brian Boru, High King of Ireland.
As mentioned on a previous show you can also cycle to Ross Castle and have yourself and your bike taken to Lord Brandon’s cottage on the Upper Lake. Beautiful journey that takes about an hour.
There are also trips to and from Dinis Cottage from Dundag Bay, just below Muckross House. They will also take your bicycle at no extra cost.
Dingle Bay Charters
Located at the Yacht Marina in Dingle, Co. Kerry, Dingle Bay Charters provides a wide range of boat trips for visitors to enjoy our beautiful coastline and islands. These include: Sea Angling, Dingle Harbour Tours, Blasket Island Eco tours, Blasket Island ferries, Fungie trips and Private Charters.
Harbour Cruise – Relish the delights of a short boat cruise of Dingle Bay with an enlightening commentary on local history and look out for Fungie the local celebrity dolphin. The Harbour Cruise is a guided tour, takes about 1 hour and it operates with 70 passenger covered boats. Cruises depart regularly from the Yacht Marina from April to September.
MARINE TOURS BLASKET ISLAND
Dingle & Blasket Island Visitor Centre
Join a magnificent tour around the historical setting of the Dingle Peninsula. Once described by National Geographic as “the most beautiful place on earth” the peninsula is littered with archaeological and historical sites that are nestled into the breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
Discover a land dotted with majestic views as we take you off the beaten track to explore the dramatic and wild coastline of Slea Head. You will delve into this unique destination as you take a visit to the stunning Blasket Island visitor centre to learn about the extraordinary lives of the talented inhabitants of the island who lived there up until 1953 and their unique Gaelic culture.
You will also visit the vibrant town of Dingle, where you can have lunch and explore its colourful and vibrant streets.
Dingle Sea Safari
Dingle Sea Safaris exhilarating rib experiences are situated in Dingle County Kerry. The Dingle Peninsula, on Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast, is ringed by sandy beaches and craggy cliffs. They operate the biggest open commercial rib in the country. Their tours are the perfect way to experience West Kerry – see the Blasket Islands, Fungie the Dingle Dolphin, the world famous Slea Head scenery along with the many rock formations, seals, caves and puffins.
Experience The Breath-Taking Majestic Coastline of Dingle Bay! Up Close and Personal with Fungie. Meet Fungie, the world famous Dingle Dolphin! Fungie is a wild Bottlenose Dolphin, who has lived in Dingle Bay for the past three decades. Their ‘Up Close and Personal’ Experience with Fungie allows you to get as close as possible to the dolphin. Get your camera ready for this memorable experience!
Cruise on Kenmare Bay
There are two operators that offer cruises in the bay, Star Outdoor who are based at Dauros, just outside Kenmare and Seafari who are based at the pier in Kenmare.
Kenmare Bay is really scenic with lots of islands, castles, manor houses, lots of seabirds such as gannets and cormorants but the main attraction is one of Ireland’s biggest Harbour Seal colonies.
There are guides on board to tell you all the local history and about the marine life. Crayons and paper for the kids. Complimentary tea and coffee. No sea sickness guaranteed.
These boats are all-weather. If it’s raining the trip is good also because the seals love a fresh water shower so they go on to the rocks whenever it’s raining.
Both operators offer a professional, fun-filled and enjoyable tour.
Dingle Star Wars Tour
Check out the set location where Star Wars was filmed on The Dingle Peninsula. Filming centred around a spectacular headland called Ceann Sibéal (Sybil Head) in Ballyferriter, where lots of activity was going on. Visit the area and experience the highlights of Dingle.
You will experience, Eask Tower View – Round Tower built in 1847 overlooking Dingle Bay. Ventry Harbour & Pier – One of Ireland’s deepest harbours. Beehive Huts – Visit the Fahan Beehive Huts. It is like stepping into the real Star Wars Set. Hold a Baby Lamb – Have you ever held a baby lamb?
Magnificent views of The Blasket Islands – Explore the beauty of The Great Basket Islands, steeped in Irish culture and history. Coumeenole Beach – Walk on one of the most iconic beaches on The Dingle Peninsula. Dingle Star Wars Set Location – Check out the set location where Star Wars was filmed on The Dingle Peninsula. Dunmore Head– Check out Ireland’s most westerly point and one of the Star Wars set Locations. Gallarus Oratory– One of the finest examples of an ancient early Christian church. Connor Pass – Travel along Ireland’s Highest mountain pass by road. Not for the faint hearted!
Dingle Dolphin Boat Tour
Wildlife lovers will jump at the chance to see bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat on this guided Dingle Bay dolphin cruise. Besides visiting dolphins, keep your eyes peeled for Fungie, the 13-foot (4-meter) bottlenose who has lived in Dingle Bay since 1983. On this tour, you’re guaranteed a dolphin sighting or you get your money back.
Guaranteed dolphin sightings or your money back. See bottlenose dolphins leaping and playing in their natural habitat. Soak up the Irish scenery as you cruise around Dingle Bay. Learn about Fungie, the dolphin who’s frequented Dingle Bay since 1983.
Choose between open and covered seating, as you board your boat for your fully guided cruise of Dingle Bay. Enjoy views of Dingle Harbour, the Conor Pass, and ruined towers, as you glide along the coast in search of dolphins.
Besides the visiting dolphins who love these waters, look out for Fungie, the bottlenose dolphin who greets most ferries that come into the little town of Dingle.
Information on all day tours and experiences can be found in our Kerry specific Region websites.