A car is the ideal way to explore this region, packed as it is with scenic routes, attractive but remote towns, and a host of out-of-the-way restaurants and hotels that deserve a detour. Road upgrades have not kept up with the increased usage; as a result, prepare for peak-hour traffic jams.
The main driving route from Dublin is N7, which goes 192 km (120 miles) directly to Limerick City. If you land at Shannon Airport, access to the Southwest is also via Limerick City; from there, pick up the N21 to Killarney. From Limerick it is about two hours to Killarney (111 km [69 miles]), and another half hour to Kenmare. An alternate, more scenic, route from Dublin leaves the N7 at Naas to join the N8 at Portlaoise, turning off the main Dublin–Cork road at Mitchelstown and following the N72 to Killarney. Both journeys from Dublin take about four hours; many people prefer to fly from Dublin to Kerry Airport (40 minutes) and pick up a rental car there.