Best Places to Stay Along the Ring of Kerry in Ireland

ring of kerry road
by Anisa // 4 Comments

The Ring of Kerry is hands down one of the most stunning road trips I’ve ever taken. It’s just 111 miles long, but trust me, you’ll want to take your time with it. When we went, we stayed for two days, but even then, we couldn’t see everything we wanted to. I’m itching to go back to Kerry soon; it’s such a gorgeous part of Ireland with tons to offer.

You won’t find your typical chain hotels in Kerry, which is actually pretty cool, but it can be a bit tricky to decide on your accommodations. That’s where we come in! My fellow travel bloggers and I have put together a list of the absolute best places to stay along the Ring of Kerry to help you plan your trip.

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Where to Stay when driving the ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is a scenic road trip filled with history too.

How to Get to Kerry Ireland

​Kerry is a county in southwest Ireland and it does have it’s own airport – Kerry (KIR) Airport.  It is small but British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Ryanair all fly there.  

You can get a bus from the Kerry Airport to Killarney for around €5 per person each way.  Tickets can be purchased on the bus or online here.  They also have rental car facilities.

When we visited Kerry, we flew into Dublin and rented a car to do the three-hour drive to Killarney.  Dublin has more flight options and plenty of attractions of its own (Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, etc).  We would need the car for the Ring of Kerry. There is also the option to take a bus or train from Dublin for those that prefer not to drive.

So many stunning views along the Ring of Kerry! - "Why You Must Do the Ring of Kerry at Least Once in Your Lifetime" - Two Traveling Texans
So many stunning views along the Ring of Kerry!

How Long to Spend in Kerry

I think most people underestimate how much there is to do in County Kerry.  There are many attractions and places to see along the Ring of Kerry, including Killarney National Park and the Gap of Dunloe.  

The Dingle Peninsula is another scenic drive that doesn’t get as much press as the Ring of Kerry but is supposed to be as impressive but less crowded.  Additionally, you will want to allow time to explore the charming town of Killarney.

While it is possible to drive the Ring of Kerry in a day that doesn’t do it justice!  It’s easy to spend a full day visiting Killarney National Park. If you want to visit Skellig Michael that could take up a significant portion of another day.  Also, don’t forget about gorgeous hiking in the Gap of Dunloe. I could go on and I haven’t even mentioned things to do on the Dingle Peninsula.

If it were me, I would try to spend a week exploring Kerry.  Don’t worry, you won’t get bored. More than likely, you won’t be ready to leave!

I was pretty impressed with the Kerry Cliffs!- "Why You Must Do the Ring of Kerry at Least Once in Your Lifetime" - Two Traveling Texans
I was pretty impressed with the Kerry Cliffs!

What is the Best Time to Do the Ring of Kerry

Summer is the most popular time to visit Kerry Ireland.  During the winter, some restaurants and other attractions may be closed.  

We went at the beginning of October. The weather was ideal, crowds were non-existent, but some places like the ice cream shop on Valencia Island were already closed for the season.



Best Areas to Stay in Kerry

Kerry is full of picturesque small towns and spectacular natural scenery.  Most visitors choose to stay in Killarney. It’s the largest town in the area and the place most people start of the Ring of Kerry drive.  There is a larger selection of restaurants and bars compared to other towns in the area. Not too far away, there is Killarney National Park.  If you don’t have a car, Killarney is the best option because most tours will pick up there.

From Killarney, it’s only an hour drive to the Dingle Peninsula.  If time allows, head there while you are in the area. It is also feasible to stay in Dingle and visit the Ring of Kerry.

The town of Killarney is a popular base to do the Ring of Kerry. - Best Places to Stay along the Ring of Kerry
The town of Killarney is a popular base to do the Ring of Kerry.

There are several Ring of Kerry accommodation options just outside Killarney close to the National Park.  For those that are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path place to stay consider smaller towns like Kenmare, Portmagee, or Tralee.

Where to Stay in Killarney

Ross Hotel

Recommended by Shaun from This Life in Trips

The Ross Hotel is easily one of the best places to stay in Killarney for its comfort, stylish design, and location. This boutique hotel features 29 rooms that are modern and fun. Although small in stature, it boasts unique features that help it stand out as the best boutique hotel in the area. Upstairs you will find a cheerful terrace. In the basement, a hip restaurant and bar.

The Ross Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of Killarney.
The Ross Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of Killarney.

Situated steps from the Killarney’s shops and restaurants, the Ross Hotel is ideally located to explore the town or tour the Ring of Kerry.  Lastly, although The Ross Hotel itself is not the oldest hotel in town, it is owned and operated by the same family that opened The Park Hotel.

Read more reviews for the Ross Hotel.

Check price and availability for the Ross Hotel.

Old Killarney Cottages

Recommended by Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels

One of the most memorable places we stayed in Ireland was the Old Killarney Cottages. Located just a few minutes outside of Killarney town, these charming thatched-roof cottages are fully equipped homes with multiple bedrooms and amenities.  

We were on an Ireland road trip around the country and made a stop in Killarney to meet up with family.   Staying with a small group is what made these cottages an even better choice.

They are moderately priced, but with a few people, it made our stay quite affordable.  Plus, having a fully equipped kitchen was nice so we could go grocery shopping (always a fun activity in another country) and cook for ourselves a bit – which saves some money and is enjoyable with a group of people.

Old Killarney Cottages
Old Killarney Cottages is a self-catering property, ideally located by the Ring of Kerry.

The Old Killarney Cottages were not only convenient for sightseeing in the area, but there was also a local pub within walking distance if we didn’t want to take the car into town.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, with comfortable furnishings and a homey atmosphere. A perfect place to stay with a group of people for a wonderful holiday.

Read more reviews for the Old Killarney Cottages.

Check price and availability for the Old Killarney Cottages.

Katie Daly’s Farm Cottage 

Recommended by Kaitlyn from Adventures of Kaitlyn and Nick

Located in the small town of Beaufort just outside Killarney this cottage Airbnb is located on a working sheep farm.  (If you haven’t used Airbnb before, read this explanation of how Airbnb works.)

We saw countless sheep and a sheepdog during our two-night stay. There are two nice bedrooms and bathrooms which was perfect for two couples traveling together. There is also a small kitchen, washer, dryer, and living room with a fireplace and enough wood and turf for a fire.

This charming Airbnb is located on a sheep farm just outside Killarney
This charming Airbnb is located on a sheep farm!

The location of this home is perfect. It is isolated along a tree-lined road but just minutes drive from Killarney town, the National Park, Kate Kearney’s Cottage restaurant, Ogham stones, and the Gap of Dunloe.

If you are looking for a spot off the beaten path that is quiet, affordable, but still near all the best attractions this is it. The host was also very helpful with great recommendations of places to eat and things to do in the area. And if you’re there in the right season you will even get the chance to hold baby sheep! What more could you want?!

Read more reviews, check price and availability for Katie Daly’s Farm Cottage Airbnb

Other Places to Stay Along the Ring of Kerry

The 5-star Park Hotel Kenmare

Recommended by Carol from Wandering Carol

Kenmare is the less crowded Killarney. A scenic town on the Ring of Kerry, it has the added attraction of being home to the mysterious Kenmare Stone Circle and a renowned 5-star hotel that has been lauded by both Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure – the Park Hotel Kenmare.

A Victorian landmark that dates back to 1897, the Park Hotel Kenmare excels in old-world service and charm. Think antiques – including a suit of armor in the hallway – manicured gardens and a fine-dining tasting menu that focuses on local cuisine. There is a cozy Irish bar and views of Kenmare Bay.

The infinity pool at the Park Hotel Kenmare looks dreamy!
The infinity pool at the Park Hotel Kenmare looks dreamy!

One of the property’s biggest draws is its award-winning spa, the Spa SÁMAS. A contemporary destination spa, it offers three-hour wellness journeys that include a visit to their thermal suite complete with sauna, steam, tropical shower and indoor pool. The highlight? The infinity-edge vitality pool sleekly tucked into a lush forest setting.  It’s definitely one of the most luxurious hotels near the Ring of Kerry.

Read more reviews for the Park Hotel Kenmare.

Check price and availability for the Park Hotel Kenmare.

The Moorings Guesthouse

Recommended by Roxanna from Gypsy With a Day Job

The Mooring is a moderately-priced guesthouse in the village of Portmagee, Ireland.  Portmagee is in the southwest of County Kerry, on a loop off of the Ring of Kerry, referred to as the Skellig Ring.  While somewhat remote, it is the perfect location for those seeking to explore Valencia Island or visit Skellig Michael.  In fact, the staff will help you arrange your trip to the world heritage site.

The Moorings is located on the main street in Portmagee.
The Moorings is located on the main street in Portmagee.

The Moorings has 16 deluxe and sea view rooms.  Deluxe rooms include 2 beds, telephones, wifi, satellite television, coffee makers, ironing boards, hair dryers, and complimentary toiletries, while sea view rooms feature a king size bed, a DVD player and jacuzzi bath.  Rooms are spacious and bright, with contemporary furnishings, in ivory and deep red color. We were quite comfortable in our deluxe room.

The Bridge Bar, the in-house pub, features traditional music and set dancing weekends, and on summer Tuesdays, an all things Irish night.  The pub has friendly bartenders and draws a lively crowd most evenings. The Moorings Restaurant, serves locally sourced fare, including breakfasts for guests, and dinner which is open to the public.  My birthday dinner at the Moorings was sumptuous. I recommend the seafood chowder!

Read more reviews for the Moorings.

Check price and availability for the Moorings.

Where to Stay Close to the Dingle Peninsula

Ballyseede Castle Tralee

Recommended by Nicola from All About Rosa Lilla

Ballyseede Castle, in Tralee, is truly one of the nicest and most luxurious places to stay in County Kerry. I should know, I chose to get married here.

Once you pass through the gates of Ballyseede castle you are entering into a magical world steeped in history and splendor. A long winding carriage drive, through ancient woodlands and manicured gardens, leads to an elegant castle that looks as if it were built to outlive the vices and follies of man through the ages. It has been fought over, lived in and loved, and carries forward its ancient grandeur to this day.

The character and charm of Ballyseede Castle makes for the perfect romantic getaway. Meander through elegant hallways and relax in beautifully furnished drawing rooms. Have the best pint of Guinness in Pappy’s Bar before exploring the woods of Ballyseedy. From the newly built Orangery, four-poster beds to the most delicious food you could ever imagine.

Ballyseede Castle in County Kerry Ireland
You can see why Nicola chose to get married at Ballyseede Castle!

I am in love with fairytale places and have stayed in my fair share of hotels in Ireland. Ballyseede Castle will have you falling in love with this part of Ireland. Did I mention that there is a resident Irish Wolfhound? Plus, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how affordable it is to stay at this castle. If that doesn’t have you booking a night here I don’t know what will.

Read more reviews for the Ballyseede Castle.

Check price and availability for Ballyseede Castle.

Meadowlands Hotel in Tralee

Recommended by Ciara from A View Outside

The Meadowlands Hotel is an oasis of calm and relaxation in the small town of Tralee. This rustic, traditional hotel offers so much to tourists visiting the region. The rooms are spacious and offer all of the modern conveniences (i.e complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel) that you can expect from a 4 star hotel in Ireland.

Meadowlands hotel in Tralee in County Kerry in Ireland
The Meadowlands Hotel is family-run and conveniently located to be your home base to explore County Kerry.

The hotel is about a five minute walk away from the centre of Tralee where you will find Irish bars, lots of restaurants and plenty of places to shop. There are also plenty of activities available close to the hotel; golf, rock climbing, fishing and surfing.  As it’s best to explore the area by car, it’s nice they offer complimentary parking.

On site, there are stunningly beautiful gardens to wander around, there is also the infamous Johnny Logan’s bar which is full of Irish ‘craic agus ceol’ every night and of course, delicious fresh food is served in the restaurant, An Móinéar each day. We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful, the rooms were bright and clean and I would highly recommend staying here if you are looking for peace but want to be close to local tourist attractions.

Read more reviews for the Meadowlands Hotel.

Check price and availability for the Meadowlands Hotel.

Where We Stayed in County Kerry Ireland

Carriglea House

Recommended by Anisa

When we drove the Ring of Kerry, we decided to stay at the Carriglea House. If you are wondering where to stay near Killarney National Park, this family-run B&B is about as close as you can get.  It’s right across the street. We took advantage of the convenient location and went for early morning walks by the lake, then came back for the delicious two-course breakfast complete with white pudding.

Anisa relaxing in her room at the Carriglea House by Killarney National Park.
Anisa relaxing in her room at the Carriglea House by Killarney National Park.

The house looks grand from the outside, and this continues indoors, with beautiful period furniture throughout that gives the B&B a very classy feel.  The room we had was spacious and the bed was comfortable.

The view of the National Park from our window was about as perfect as you could ask for. Drawing back the curtains in the morning and looking across the park with the hills in the background was a wonderful way to start a day.

Keep in mind there are limited food options within walking distance, but that was fine for us since we had a car.  It’s only a short drive to the Killarney town center.

Book early, it’s a quaint place and tends to sell out especially during the peak months.

Read more reviews for the Carriglea House.

Check price and availability for the Carriglea House.

Cheap Places to Stay in Kerry Ireland

The accommodation options that we have covered so far in this post are mid-range to high-end, but don’t worry if they don’t fit in your budget, there are more options. 

The Heights Hotel Killarney is actually located a 20-minute walk from the Killarney town center with breathtaking countryside views.  Guests rave about the customers service, breakfast, and the cleanliness.

You can read more reviews on Tripadvisor here or check prices and availability here.

Alternatively, if have a very tight budget, you might want to look into other vacation rental options or consider ones of these hostels in Killarney.

Where to Stay When Driving the Ring of Kerry

Whether you are looking for budget or luxury, self-catering or B&B, in Killarney or a more rural area, there are many options along the Ring of Kerry.  There may not be brand name hotels in Kerry but rest assured the Irish hospitality is excellent.

Have you visited Kerry?  Are there other hotels in Kerry Ireland that I should add to this list?


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sheep on the road with text

Expert Tips for Booking Accommodations in Kerry Ireland

  • Many places to stay near the Ring of Kerry are small and will book up quickly.  Book early especially for trips during the summer months.
  • Sign up for a Wayaway Plus membership to get cashback on your hotel booking.  Click here to learn more and get 10% of a one-year membership.
  • Without a car, it’s best to stay in the town of Killarney.
  • If possible, try to spend a week in Kerry, there is so much to see!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you.  Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit.  The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.

Last Updated on September 23, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.