You’ve heard of the Ring of Kerry, and you’d have to be hiding under the rock itself not to have heard of the Skellig, but have you heard of the Skellig Ring? A little-known looped route on the Iveragh Peninsula, the Skellig Ring is about an hour’s drive from your holiday home at Killarney’s Holiday Village and well worth the trip.
What is the Skellig Ring?
Take a detour from the celebrated Ring of Kerry just north of Cahirciveen (if you are travelling anti-clockwise) and follow the R567 (it also includes sections of the R566 and R565). The delightful 32km route connecting Portmagee, Valentia Island, and Waterville passes through some stunning coastal scenery centred on Ballinskelligs (Baile an Sceilg). The ring is marked by ruggedly beautiful scenery, with the craggy outline of Skellig Michael an ever-watchful presence.
You may have heard of this dramatic outcrop because of its appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it was remarkable long before J.J. Abrams came along. The island that gives this route its name is home to a 6th-century monastery and significant populations of puffins, guillemots, and other sea birds. Weather permitting, you may book a trip to Skellig Michael from Portmagee (on the Skellig Ring).
Note: Trips to Skellig Michael are seasonal and weather dependent. The island itself is traversed by a series of more than 600 very steep steps, which those with a fear of heights may find unnerving.
Skellig Ring Highlights
- One of your first stops is Ballinskelligs, with its Blue Flag beach and castle ruins, followed by the idyllic surfer’s beach at St. Finian’s Bay and the delectable chocolate factory (Skellig Chocolates).
- After the steep climb to Coomanaspig, stop to admire stunning views of Valentia Island, the Skelligs, and the Dingle Peninsula.
- You must also take time to enjoy the delights of Valentia Island, which is connected to the mainland via a bridge at Portmagee as well as a seasonal ferry from Renard, outside Cahirciveen. Home to a spectacular slate mine, stunning cliff walks, and the site of the first transatlantic telegraph, Valentia Island is also the site of an ancient set of fossilised tetrapod footprints.