The Skellig Coast is a driving route just off the famous Ring of Kerry – where you feel like you’re standing on the edge of the world.
The whole Skellig Coast is inspiring and energising. The coastal route can take you off down narrow lanes and through tiny ports and villages. You may find yourself climbing steep cliff roads, wind-swept above crashing seas, or strolling along a wide sandy beach.
There’s heaps to do on the Skellig Coast. See our list of 15 things to do locally while you’re here
There is plenty to charm you on this unique island, whether you’re making a day trip or visiting for a few weeks. It’s a must see of The Skellig Coast.
“This gem of an island is for those who prefer to fill their lungs with pure Kerry air and jaw-dropping views of mountains, sea and sky.” – Irish Independent
We may be biased but we recommend the spectacular views on Geokaun Mountain & Cliffs to start!
2.Trips to The Skelligs (operate April – Sep)
The Skellig Islands rise out of the Atlantic, 9km from the mainland. Skellig Michael is an extraordinary island, where the remains of a 6th century Christian monastery can be seen. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You may recognise Skellig Michael from the movies Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The remains of the monastery appear in the films, representing an ancient Jedi temple. For those of you who have seen the movies and know about Porgs – they were inspired by the puffin birds that live on the Skellig Islands.
From April to September Skellig Michael is open to land on and you can climb to the summit by stone stairs.
Little Skellig is home to one of the largest sea bird colonies in the world, you can see northern gannets and puffins easily from a boat (and sometimes seals lounging on the rocks!)
3.Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
We’re in the middle of one of only 3 ‘Gold Tier’ Dark Sky Reserves in the world. You can star gaze to your hearts content.
4.Ballinskelligs Beach – Blue Flag Beach (open all year)
Ballinskelligs Beach is well known beach for its long golden sand and clear water. It’s listed as a Blue Flag beach which means it has high standards for safety, cleanliness and facilities
The beach is lifeguard patrolled during the summer and more information can be found on the notice board located at the beach.
Surf or kayak with Skellig Seasports during summer months, while you’re there!
5.The Skelligs Chocolate Factory and Cafe, The Glen (open April – Sept)
Here you can see the chocolates being made in their open plan factory, ask questions and taste the freshly made treats!
Their cafe speciality… deliciously rich ‘real chocolate’ hot chocolate.
6.The Old Baracks Heritage Centre, Cahersiveen (open mid March – Oct)
Why not take the time to pay a visit to the newly revamped Old Barracks in Cahersiveen. This iconic building is home to the Daniel O’Connell visitor centre and local history museum.
7.Stone Ring Forts, Cahersiveen (open all year)
There are two ancient Stone Ring Forts located just north of Cahersiveen, Leacanabuaile and Cahergal. The two stone forts are only half a kilometre apart. One of the ring forts dates back to 600AD and excavation of the site revealed Iron and Bronze Age objects.
Also, well worth visiting in this area is the old ruins of Ballycarberry Castle.
8.Cahersiveen Festival of Music & the Arts (August Bank Holiday weekend, annually)
This family friendly festival is ideal for all ages. The main focal point being the stage in the town square where up to five thousand people can enjoy open air concerts. You can also see busking competitions, traditional Irish music, Irish set-dancing, and spectacular fireworks on opening night.
Please note due to COVID-19 the 2020 Festival is cancelled
9.Derrynane House and Gardens (open March – Nov)
Derrynane House and surrounding gardens are beautiful. It was the home of Daniel O’Connell, an important figure in Irish political history. The house itself dates back to the 1700’s. The house displays many relics of O’Connell’s life and career.
Guilded tours of the house are available on request, along with an audio-visual video.
10.Derrynane Beach (open all year)
This is a very beautiful and extensive sandy beach in Derrynane Bay. It is quite close to Derrynane House.
It’s got everything you look for in a beach – dunes, white sand, big rocks, crystal clear turquoise water.
11.Horse riding in Derrynane or Ballinskelligs
Try beach trekking with Eagle Rock Equestrian in Derrynane. The lovely scenery all around is only enhanced by seeing it horseback. Novice and experienced riders catered for.
Ring of Kerry Equestrian is a haven for the horse-riding enthusiast. They offer a wide variety of ride-outs taking in the beautiful local scenery of Ballinskelligs Bay. Experience the different diverse landscapes and terrain.
12.Golf Courses, Waterville (open all year)
There are two challenging championship standard golf courses in Waterville. They are great links courses with unbeatable views, making this picturesque seaside town a must visit for golfers.
Check out Waterville Golf Links and Hogs Head Golf Course websites for more information.
13.Charlie Chaplin Film Comedy Festival, Waterville (3rd weekend in August, annually)
The festival is a celebration of comedy, film and music. It’s inspired by the iconic Charlie Chaplin, who had spent many holidays in scenic Waterville.
There is a hugely entertaining range of events – film screenings, comedy gigs, live music, Chaplin-themed street entertainment and a well-established film competition with winners announced over the weekend.
Please note due to COVID-19 the 2020 Festival is cancelled
14.Kells Gardens (Open Feb-Dec)
Known locally as the ‘Jewel on the Ring,’ the Gardens cover just over 17 hectares. The Gardens overlook the dramatic views of Dingle Bay, and are filled with a variety of rare sub-tropical plants, along with fun wood carvings throughout. Their Skywalk is Ireland’s longest rope-bridge. There is also a conservatory cafe in the gardens.
15.The Kerry Way hiking trail (open all year)
The Kerry Way is Ireland’s longest signposted walking trail. It’s over 200km long and it loops around the Iveragh Peninsula, passing through some of the most isolated and dramatic scenery in the country.