Kinsale to Kenmare Route

Jul 15th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 155
Kinsale to Kenmare Route

Hi all,

During our trip to Ireland in late August, we'll be driving from Kinsale to Kenmare. We're thinking about following the coast so we can see Mizen Head and Beara peninsulas. Is this doable or advisable in one day? Are we missing something better if we take the coast instead of the more direct route?

Any insight on this would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Kelly1212 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Last year my family flew to Cork, arriving in the afternoon, and still easily drove the N71 to Kenmare where we spent the night. From Clonakilty on was lovely. According my Michelin Ireland map, the secondary route from Kinsale to Clonakilty, which you would likely take,is a scenic stretch.

By all means, drive the coastal route. If you get a good start in the morning, you should have time to see some of Mizen Head and drive around the Beara Peninsula. If you stop too often to take walks--which you'll be tempted to do--and run short on time, you can always cut straight across from Glengarriff to Kenmare.
TimS is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Join Date: May 2006
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The coastal route is very nice, but slow.
If you leave Kinsale early you should not have a problem getting into Kenmare at a reasonable time. The Mizen Head is a long drive, and very slow for a limited result. Beara is a much more rewarding trip of great scenary, more to see, and many more possibilities. I would try to spend more time around Beara, and skip Mizen. The Cork and Kerry coast is some of the best in Ireland, do not take the fast highway to Kenmare(N22).
sullivan1212 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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Last month I made the drive from Kinsale to Kenmare along the coast including the ring of Beara trip. The Beara peninsula trip was very beautiful and I am glad I did it but the roads are unbelievable. Most roads in Ireland are very narrow with very sharp curves and extreme profile changes but these roads are in a league of their own. Make the trip as it is well worth it but be very careful on the roads always expecting oncoming traffic. Watch for bicycles also.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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So many thanks for the great insights. Definitely sounds like we should take the coastal route. Perhaps we will skip Mizen Head and spend more time on Beara -- we unfortunately only have one night in Kenmare, so we don't want to get there so late that we can't see anything!
During our next day in and around Kenmare we're thinking of skipping RoK and instead hitting up Gap of Dunloe or Killarney National Park.. Does that sound like a good plan?
That night we'll be staying in Dingle.
Kelly1212 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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If you're going to see some of the Beara Peninsula and then the Dingle Peninsula, you can easily skip the ROK without having a guilty conscience <g>. And you won't have tour buses to contend with either. Besides, the drive from Kenmare to Killarney is very scenic--and will take you right to the Gap of Dunloe and Killarney National Park.
TimS is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would not skip Mizen Head It's a must, in my opinion. Leave Kinsale in the morning, do Mizen Head, take the Healy Pass on the Beara Peninsula, then on to Kenmare Forget RoK if you don't have the time, and you will enjoy Dingle/Slea Head.

Budman is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Kelly

I spent an entire day driveing the Beara Peninsula in May, but I presume if you just drove from Kinsale and just drove the whole time you could easily make it to Kenmare ... but you will probably want to stop a lot. The roads around the Beara Peninsula once you pass Castletown Bearhaven get just as slow as those on Mizen. I have to disagree with sullivan on the qualities of the Mizen Penisula. I think it's beautiful and can more easily be accomplished on the road from Kinsale. Of course, Beara is Sullivan country. If you want to get to Kenmare in time to enjoy it a bit, I think Beara is way too much to do in a day. Mizen is possible. Play it by ear and see where you are. As Budman points out, Healy Pass is quite impressive. Then again, the drive over Caha Pass is beautiful on the N71.

It all sort of depends on how many places you want to stop. I'm a slow traveler and get out of the car a lot. Some people drive more and stop much less. For me, the drive along the coast from Kinsale to Mizen has lots of nice stops along the way. Clonakilty is a neat little town with some great music pubs (you won't get that midday though), Drombeg Stone circle is mystical, Glandore is a lovely small village with a wonder bay .... and the list goes on. I could (and have) spent a day doing that. In other words, check the time when you get to Ballydehob. If it's noon or later, you don't have a chance to see Beara (IMHO) and you can probably get get some time on Mizen. Stop at O'Sullivan's in Crookhaven for a pint. Or you could see the Sheepshead Peninsula ....

wojazz3 is offline  

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