In keeping with our “quiet stops on the Ring of Kerry” posts, here we bring you Ballycarbery Castle!
The Ring of Kerry is an amazing drive in South Western Ireland, full of breath-taking scenery and historical sites. Ballycarbery Castle is a stone throw from the main highway, but still seems to be under the radar of most Ring-goers. When we were visiting, we were there for about an hour and in that time only two other couples shared the property. This is another place I found by zooming in and scanning Google Earth for more hours than what was healthy. Ballycarbery Castle was easily one of our favourite stops during our Ring of Kerry explorations.
An abandoned 15th century castle, Ballycarbery is located on private land and open to visitors. The castle itself has fallen into disrepair. The high wall surrounding it has long since fallen, leaving only about one quarter to see. Large parts of the castle have also collapsed and moss and ivy grow up the sides.
All of that may sound grim, but I think you will find Ballycarbery Castle to be enchanting. Driving up to the castle you park at the edge of a small bay which encircles half of the property, and the grounds are used as a cow pasture. Seeing the castle itself in such a simple, non-commercial setting is refreshing and adds to the magic and feeling of history on the property. Going in the main archway, you see on your left what remains of a staircase leading towards the tower. To the right is a large section of the castle with high ceilings. Portions of the back wall are gone and you will find an old fireplace built into the side wall. Looking at the walls and roof in this section, it is incredible to see how every stone was carefully selected and laid.
Careful climbers are welcome to explore at their own risk but as mentioned, the building has not been maintained, so there is no guarantee of its stability. If visiting with children, we recommend viewing from outside the structure.
Finding Ballycarbery Castle
If you’re driving the Ring of Kerry, Ballycarbery Castle is easy to find without taking you far from the main highway. The Ring of Kerry follows the N70. Once you reach the town of Cahersiveen you will be looking for Bridge Street.
- Turn Left onto Bridge Street (if driving the Ring of Kerry in a clockwise direction)
- Bridge Street turns into Castlequin. You will follow this road for approx 1km.
- Turn LEFT to stay on Castlequin – You will see brown “Points of Interest” signs here, including one blue sign for a seafood shop
- After approx 1.5km turn left onto an unnamed road – There will be a brown sign on the opposite side of the intersection showing Ballycarbery
- Follow this road for 1km and you will arrive at the castle. You will be able to see it in the distance from this road.
Other Great Attractions Nearby
- Cahergall Stone Fort: Leaving Ballycarbery Castle, turn left at the T-intersection heading back onto Castlequin. After 500m the road curves left and you will see a small parking area to your right. Park there and follow the foot path through the metal gates to reach the fort.
2. Leacanabuaile Stone Fort: Follow the road to the right of the car park with the “No Cars, On Foot Only” sign. The fort is an easy 450m walk from there.
Thinking about travelling to Ireland? Consider hiking the Gap of Dunloe or Mount Brandon
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