Best route from Dublin to Killarney?

Jan 27th, 2006, 02:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Best route from Dublin to Killarney?

OK, so we are biting the bullet and renting a "minivan" at the Dublin airport, after flying all night. I have never driven on the left, could be really interesting. Will traffic be that horrible on a Sunday morning around Dublin? Will 5 of us and luggage fit in a minivan? How long will it take to drive to Killarney? Oh, we are going next weekend!
irishdancemom is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,916
According to, the minimum driving time from Dublin to Killarney is four hours. Since the airport is north of the city and since the Web site's time estimates tend to be a bit optimistic, I'd say you should allow five hours--or even more. Traffic on the fringes of Dublin on a Sunday morning shouldn't be much of a problem. If you're packing relatively lightly, five people and their luggage should fit in a minivan. (I recommend that you pack as lightly as is practical for you.) Detailed maps are essential for driving in Ireland. I recommend the Michelin Ireland map. If you can't find it locally, it's available from
TimS is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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Interesting was not the word that sprang to my mind, but irresponsible did.

For route planning go to
wasleys is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 04:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Irresponsible? Maybe. But we couldn't come up with a better and cheaper way to get from Dublin to Killarney. The train station is a 30 euro ride and an hour away by taxi according to my friend who was just there, the train is 4 hours+, then we would need a 20 euro? taxi to the hotel in Killarney, overall for the 5 of us, it was cheaper to get a car. Besides, I'm not driving!!!!!Does anyone have any other thoughts? We would rather not have the adventure of driving on the left, but other choices seem expensive and long, and leave us stranded in Killarney.
irishdancemom is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,101
You may do OK if you promise NOT to yell at each other and realize that getting out of Dublin is confusing (after an overnight flight, omygosh) and that you will/may get lost but that is part of the travel experience. Try to keep a VERY easy attitude. Drive VERY carefully.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,647
From the website:

(miles) and
then to
take total
0.00 Start out at Dublin Airport,Dublin Unclassified 0.00
0.40 At roundabout take the 2nd exit Unclassified 0.40
0.35 At Airport Roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the M1 (signposted M1 Dublin) M1 0.74
0.49 At roundabout take the 2nd exit, then join the M1 motorway (signposted Dublin) M1 1.23
1.12 Leave the M1 at junction 3, then at roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the M50 (signposted M50 Southbound) M50 2.35
8.05 West Link Bridge (Toll) M50 10.40
2.98 Leave the M50 at junction 9 (signposted N7 City Centre), then at Red Cow Roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the N7 (signposted The South (N8, N9) Entering Dublin N7 13.38
1.51 At Newlands Cross traffic signals continue forward on the N7 N7 14.90
11.62 Continue forward to join Motorway M7 (signposted Limerick, Cork) M7 26.51
7.41 At Junction 9 take right hand lanes to continue forward on the M7 (signposted Cork, Limerick) M7 33.92
11.99 End of motorway, continue forward onto the N7 N7 45.91
6.00 Continue forward onto the N7. Entering Ballybrittas N7 51.90
3.79 Continue forward onto the M7 (signposted Cork, Limerick, Port Laoise) M7 55.69
5.52 Leave the M7 motorway (signposted Cork, Tullamore, Port Laiose), then at roundabout take the 1st exit onto the N8 (signposted Cork) N8 61.22
8.35 Continue forward onto the N8 (signposted Cork) Entering Abbeyleix N8 69.56
4.53 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Durrow N8 74.09
4.28 Continue forward onto the N8 (signposted Cork) Entering Cullahill N8 78.37
5.97 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Johnstown N8 84.34
1.82 Continue forward onto the N8 (signposted Cork) Entering Urlingford N8 86.16
9.29 Continue forward onto the N8 (signposted Cork) Entering Littleton N8 95.45
0.65 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Ballymoreen N8 96.10
9.91 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Cashel N8 106.01
5.82 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering New Inn N8 111.83
4.87 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the N8 (signposted Cork) N8 116.69
13.13 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Kilbeheny N8 129.82
3.27 Continue forward onto the N8. Entering Mitchelstown N8 133.09
1.11 Turn right onto the N73 (signposted Killarney) N73 134.20
6.45 Continue forward onto the N73. Entering Kildorrery N73 140.65
0.47 At crossroads continue forward onto the N73 (signposted Mallow) N73 141.13
11.57 Turn right onto the N72 N72 152.69
1.60 Continue forward onto the N72. Entering Mallow N72 154.30
1.14 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the N72 (signposted Killarney) N72 155.44
11.68 At Banteer Crossroads continue forward onto the N72 (signposted Killarney) N72 167.12
14.54 Bear left onto the N72. Entering Rathmore N72 181.65
6.24 Continue forward onto the N72. Entering Barraduff N72 187.90
5.45 Turn right onto the N22 N22 193.35
0.81 Continue forward onto the N22. Entering Killarney N22 194.15
0.53 At Park Road Roundabout take the 1st exit onto Park Road - R876 (signposted Town Centre, Kenmare) R876 194.68
0.42 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Fair Hill - R876 R876 195.11
0.50 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto College Street - N71 N71 195.61
0.07 At roundabout take the 1st exit onto College Street College Street 195.68
0.11 Continue forward onto Plunkett Street Plunkett Street 195.79
0.06 Turn right onto Main Street - N71 N71 195.85
0.02 Arrive at Killarney,Kerry N71 195.88
- Section time 4:26, Total time 4:26

Truth is, it is probably closer to 6.5 hours. MORE, if you stop along the way (ROCK OF CASHEL). Factoring in exhaustion from an overnight flight. But, since MOST of the small towns on the N8 are now bypassed, it MIGHT be fairly quick. Good luck!

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 09:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 201
Irishdancemom, I don't know what you are used to but I did not find the drivers in Ireland to be especially aggressive - it is not like driving in Italy or France for instance. Many country roads are narrow, which might slow your trip down if you want to avoid major roads. Given that it is mid winter and therefore low season, the roads should not be too bad.

It is a pity you cannot overnight in Dublin but you probably have some reason you must go straight to Killarney (and I found Dublin hotels to be very expensive). Definitely have a stop along the way and Bob's suggestion of Cashel Castle sounds a good one.

I have stayed in Killarney twice (once in early January, once in early June) so I hope you don't mind if I make some suggestions. It really is a beautiful area. People sneer that it is a tourist trap but it is a great place to stay in winter, with lots cafes and restaurants and nice little pubs which are open in winter, unlike some less touristy areas. The locals are always friendly but even more so in winter when your tourist business is especially appreciated.

If you like authentic Irish folk music, they had free music nights in Buckley's Bar in the Arbutus Hotel (where we stayed on one occasion). It is in College St, in the town centre, which I think is the unnamed street to the right off High St, that becomes Park Road, on the map in the link I give below. If you like "Whiskey in the Jar" type music, the Danny Man in New Street has a touristy singalong feel. It is a bar (with food) in a hotel that was a Best Western when I was last there.

If you are taking your children and they are under 18, I am pretty sure you are able to take them into most pubs. There was/is a rule that the pub had to sell food and that children under 18 had to leave by 9pm but I am not sure if that has changed, nor whether it is strictly enforced, particularly now pubs are smoke free. It is probably best to get advice from your hotel about whether and where underage children are allowed to stay to listen to the music after 9pm.

If you want a decent cup of coffee, get an expresso (or a double) not the weak "regular" at Robertino's Italian restaurant on High Street, which was open for coffee in the afternoons. Most coffee in Ireland was too weak for my tastes, although the food was much better when I went back about 5 years ago and has probably improved even more since. Robertino's is a nice restaurant with decent Italian food, if you get sick of stews.

If you get to Killarney and have 2 or 3 daylight hours, there is a nice walk through the Knockreer estate to Ross Castle on the closest lake. The main gates are opposite the cathedral along New St. This is the best map I could find

You enter the main gates and soon find a walking path that leads off to the left across and then alongside a genuine "babbling brook" and then alongside the lake to Ross Castle, from where you can return to town by the road. The view as you walk along the lake is stunning, even if it is misty or drizzling (do take raincoats).

You will often pass locals walking their dogs, who will be likely to say hello. If you feel too tired to walk, be a real tourist and take one of the horse drawn carts (called jarvey carts or somesuch name) along the same route. You will be much better off with your own car to get around, so you are not stuck with tour coaches of the Ring of Kerry, which can be hard to arrange in mid-winter. We had to arrange a trip in a minivan and it was quite expensive.

Personally, I found the Muckross Estate (Muckross House is a large manor house) to be overrated and boring and would skip it. I liked Muckross Abbey on the Island of Innisfallen on the lake near Ross Castle but we went there on our June trip and I am not sure if the boat trips are running in winter. If they are, make sure you wear warm windproof clothes, especially if you go further out on the lakes to Lord Brandon's Cottage etc.

Take a day trip to Dingle and have lunch in a pub. It's a bit artsy craftsy but nicer in Winter without the tourist hoards. There was a funny little "Gaeltacht" (sp?) place nearby where they speak Irish and I have been kicking myself ever since for not buying myself one of the cream cable knit Aran (Arran?) sweaters, even though they were quite expensive.

Go to Dingle via the Inch Road along the coast on the way there and come back via the Connor Pass, which has spectacular views across the bay but you must drive very carefully. From here you return to Killarny via Tralee, which I felt I had to see but in fact found disappointing.

You can continue from Dingle to Slee Head (I am pretty sure that is "the Western-most point of Europe") and on the way see the beehive huts and the Blasket Islands. Be warned that the roads are often one car wide and you might get stuck behind tractors or sheep but that is part of the charm.

I am sure you will love Killarney and the lakes in winter, when you can see why it became such a tourist attraction without seeing too many tourists.
Faux is offline  
Jan 28th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the info from everyone. We are going to Killarney for an Irish dance competition,so we do need to be there sooner than later, otherwise we would have stayed in Dublin for the first night. (and why we didn't go to Shannon is a long story....). I'm hoping the driving will be OK, and I really appreciate all the great suggestions for things to see!
irishdancemom is offline  

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