When you’re planning a trip to Ireland then I really recommend you to rent a car because it gives you so much freedom. Of course I was super scared during the first day while driving in left-handed traffic but actually you gonna get used to it pretty fast. Second day wasn’t that scary anymore, third day I felt like I’ve been driving in left-handed traffic my whole life, so nothing to be too scared of it. But I definitely recommend to think while driving because else you might easily find yourself driving on the right side of the road.
Car gave us a lot of freedom and we drove almost 1500km in South Ireland in 5-6 days. It was a blast and even driving on those narrow Irish countryside roads was a great experience on its own. Besides highways we also drove on really narrow countryside and hilly roads where the lambs where chilling on the road. It was really cool and of course it’s needless to say that wherever we drove the views were spectacular.
But let’s get to the point. Here are my personal TOP 5 places I enjoyed the most in South Ireland:
TOP 1: Ring of Kerry – breathtaking views
Ring of Kerry is probably one of the most popular places in Ireland to visit and I have to admit that it’s totally worth it. It’s a 179km circuit what starts from Killarney city. We decided to drive it anti-clockwise since I’m a bit afraid of heights but to be honest it wouldn’t have been scary to drive also on the other side.
Ring of Kerry is so beautiful that you just want to stop all the time and enjoy all those amazing views, cliffs, beaches, cute villages, lambs and cows, churches, mountains etc. I totally suggest to spend there 2 days because 1 day is just not enough to see all this beauty.
One of the places I enjoyed the most was Ballycarbery Castle. It stands high on a grass hill and is facing sea. The castle is in ruins but it’s possible to climb into it and there are really beautiful views from the castle to all the surrounding nature.
Another place is definitely Skellig Cliffs. It takes around 2 hours to hike up to see the best views but it’s totally worth it. You can either choose to walk one way there and the same way back or to make a circle. It’s definitely better to make a circle so that you could see more amazing views. When we started to walk in was nice and sunny weather but when arriving in the top it got very windy and while coming down also started to rain. Ireland’s weather is changing all the time so I really recommend you to also take some waterproof and warm cloths with you. My lovely white shoes got super muddy so I wouldn’t recommend wearing white shoes there.
TOP 2: Mizen Head – amazing views, cliffs
Mizen Head is the the most Southwesterly Point in Ireland and it’s cliff scenery is breathtaking! To be honest even the ride to Mizen Head is a great adventure on it’s own with super narrow roads.
It takes around 1h or 1,5h to see everything in Mizen Head. There’s a great walk to the bridge where you can see an amazing views, some viewpoints and a little museum in the lighthouse. We were lucky since there were not too many tourists and the weather was nice and sunny but it could be very windy up there.
TOP 3: Killernay National park – hiking, lakes, waterfall
Killarney National park is actually also on ring of Kerry but it’s totally worth to spend there another whole day to hike and explore the national park. It has everything – mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes etc. There are different hikes to choose from and also possibilities for canoeing.
We decided to hike around Muckross lake what’s 3-4h hike. The easiest way to start the hike is to park your car next to Muckross House and Gardens and start walking from there. The hike is quite easy and there’re also some small natural beaches on the way where to swim or have a picnic. It’s also possible to walk to the Torc Waterfall from the track what goes around Muckross lake. It’s totally worth going there and the distance from Muckross House is only around 2,5km.
TOP 4: Kilkenny – cute city
This medieval town in southeast Ireland is full of cuteness and history. There are so many architectural places to visit like
•St Mary’s Cathedral
•St Canice’s Cathedral etc.
Besides that this city has cute narrow streets and beautiful river going through the city where swans are swimming.
Kilkenny Castle is situated in the centre of Kilkenny city right next to the river. If you’re willing to spend 7 euros for the entrance fee then you’ll get a great insight to Ireland’s history. Besides that Kilkenny Castle has such a lovely garden and a picnic there is a total must-do.
TOP 5: Inch beach – long sandy heaven for surfers
Inch beach is on a way from Killarney to Dingle and it has amazing view because it’s so long! When you enjoy wind, seaside and long walks then Inch beach is a perfect place for a romantic walk. It also has a nice view of nearby cliffs and shoreline. You can also see Kerry mountains behind the waves in the distance.
We didn’t go surfing but the waves looked amazing and there are few surfing schools where you could learn surfing. And once you feel hungry or want to buy some gifts you can stop at a cafe and souvenirs shop.
Overall I was impressed of Irelands diversity. It really has everything starting from cliffs, long beaches and mountains all the way to cute cities and villages.
Besides my TOP5 there are also many other places worth seeing in South Ireland:
- Cliffs of Mohar
- Galway city
- Kenmare etc.
Let me know what are your favourite places to visit in South Ireland!