What Day/Date/Time are you travelling? Reason I ask is that road travel here is completely different depending on what I listed. For example travelling on the road at 9am on a Sunday morning is a very different experience to that on a Monday Morninng. However if the Monday happens to be a bank holiday then different again. See what I mean ?
For me, I'd just travel, Kenmare,Killarney, Newcastlewest direction, bypassing Limerick and onwards to Clare from there. There is an option of taking the short ferry trip over the Shannon at Tarbert, but I don't like that route, as I don't find it particularly scenic and in any case it doesn't really make the journey any shorter. (depending on date/day/time)
No matter which route you take after Killarney the scenery will not be outstanding unless you do a little detour..
if you take the Killarney Newcastlewest limerick bypass route you will not see a lot.
It is a main artery. It does pass through Adare and that is a picturesque village although part of the main attraction, thatched houses on the main street, has sadly been dented by a fire that destroyed two of the houses.
they are an eyesore now.
If you are not in a hurry and assuming that you have already driven over Molls gap from Killarney why not head out towards Sneem. take the right for Killorglin and drive over the beautiful Ballaghbeama mountain pass.
Beautiful rugged scenery there.
It is only 15 mls to the pass and 60 miles to Tarbert. Killimer to Ennistymon is just 31 miles.
Total mileage via Ballaghbeama pass is 106 miles plus 20 minute ferry crossing running every half hour.
Total mileage via Killarney and Limerick is 123 miles.
Via Ballaghbeama pass will be somewhat slower but great scenery.
After ballaghbeama drive into Killorglin, turn right, go over the bridge and take a left towards Milltown (opposite direction to Killarney.)
In Milltown keep around to the left at the sharp junction then the sharp right hand bend.
After two miles take a left at the junction, squiggle through Castlemaine village.
As you approach Tralee at the bypass roundabout take the exit for Listowel.
After Listowel it is straight to Tarbert.
Hang a left at theT junction in Tarbert and at the end of the hill, 200 yards, take a right for the ferry.
In Tarbert you can get the 20 min ferry to Killimer and you are in Clare.
In Clare keep along by the coast via kilrush, Doonbeg, Quilty, Spanish point; lahinch and Ennistymon.
Hope this gives you food for thought
Oh and there are some nice places in Killorglin for Lunch.
As you come into the town right at the junction you will see the Bianconi inn.
Just up the hill you have Nicks award winning restaurant and just past that you have a tappas bar.Edited: 18 May 2016, 15:54
Thanks very much. I will be traveling on July 9th, leaving Kenmare at 9 or so in the morning. Is there any traffic that could be avoided going that day and that time?
As to which route, I am driving on the left side for the first time in my life, and I am nervous about it. I prefer roads where I can avoid hurried drivers, and get take a slower pace.
Also, would the mountain passes be difficult for a new driver?
Also, how long a drive is it? Under 4 hours driving would be ideal for our family of four.
I wouldn't send anyone who is even slightly worried about driving over the single track Ballaghbeama pass Yes it's scenic but there are few passing places https:/…GC3NG05_ballaghbeama-gap-drive the main road from Kenmare to Killarney is one of the scenic bits of the ring of Kerry anyway.
Getting the other side of the Shannon estuary is more scenic but more expensive by ferry. Gives you the chance to see Loop Head and sights in South West Clare. Taking the Shannon Tunnel gives the option of Bunratty Folk Park and Castle, Quin Abbey. Just across from Quin Abbey is the Abbey Tavern for some decent food http://www.theabbeytavernquin.com/ then its under Ennis to Ennistymon.
Lots of options and the end choice is yours as always.
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