Instead of the Ring of Kerry, take the scenic driving route around the less busy Beara Peninsula, following the road from Glengarriff to Dursey Sound in County Cork,and then back to Kenmare in County Kerry. Don’t miss the ancient stone circles and standing stones, including the 17-foot-high Ballycrovane Ogham Stone, as well as cairns and burial grounds. There are plenty of beaches, harbors, and coves, plus forests and mountain trails to stop off and visit; you can also take a ferry over to Bere Island (from Castletownbere) or take the quirky cable car to the treeless Dursey Island, for walking trails and amazing Atlantic views.

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Ring of Beara

If the Ring of Kerry is the beaten path of many visitors to Ireland, the Ring of Beara is the road less traveled, but no less majestic. Wrapping around the Beara Peninsula through County Cork and a bit of County Kerry, the scenic route is filled with wild sea views, rugged mountain passes and lively traditional pubs. Picturesque Kenmare is the gateway for many visitors to the southwest, and Glengarriff calls itself the “natural meeting place” thanks to its ancient oak woodland and the garden island of Garinish just offshore. Both towns are also on the Beara Way walking trail. The village of Eyeries is known for its colorful houses that have earned it several “Tidy Towns” awards, as well as Milleens, an artisanal farmhouse cheese made by a family dairy for the past 40 years.

Tranquil and crystal clear waters Beara Peninsula

North bay on the Beara Peninsula in the magical west of Ireland. We stayed in a very unusual house (6 buildings in total) designed by Irish architect Robin Walker. This part of Ireland is wild and untouched. Wonderful walks and great for kayaking in many of its tranquil coves.

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