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A Guide To The Village Of Portmagee In Kerry: Things To Do, Accommodation, Food + More

A Guide To The Village Of Portmagee In Kerry: Things To Do, Accommodation, Food + More

I’ve spent many nights in Portmagee in Kerry over the years, and I plan on spending many more there before my days are done!

Although the village of Portmagee is tiny, it packs a mighty punch, and it’s for that reason that it’s a great spot to spend a night along the Skellig Ring.

Home to a handful of restaurants and places to stay, the village received worldwide attention when the nearby Skellig Islands were used during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Portmagee to where to stay and where to grab a bite to eat.  

Some quick need to knows about Portmagee in Kerry

Although a visit to Portmagee in Ireland is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

The beautiful County Kerry village of Portmagee, located in the far southwest of Ireland, is a historic spot with a thriving tourism industry. The village is situated on the Iveragh peninsula south of Valentia Island

2. The departure point for the Skelligs

One of the reasons many people stay in Portmagee is that it’s the departure point for several of the Skellig Islands tours. The tours leave early, which is why a night spent in the village appeals to many.

3. The Star Wars link

Portmagee was used as a base for many of the actors and team filming ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’! It was in one of the pubs in the village (The Moorings) that Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) was pictured pouring a pint of Guinness.

Things to do in Portmagee (and nearby)


Photos via Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Portmagee is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions that you can add to your Kerry road trip.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Portmagee (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Take a boat to the Skellig Islands

beehive huts on great skellig

Photos via Shutterstock

The Skellig Islands (Skellig Michael and Little Skellig) are two small, rocky islands about 13 km west of Bolus Head off the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry.

You can visit Skellig Michael, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, on one of the ‘Landing tours’ – these are tours where you physically visit the island.

There are also ‘Eco tours’ which are more frequent and cheaper. On the Eco tours, you’ll sail around both islands, seeing the birds and the island’s jagged cliffs.

2. Visit the Kerry Cliffs

Kerry Cliffs

The 1,000-foot-tall Kerry Cliffs are a must if you’re visiting Portmagee. A short drive from the village, they’re set on private land (it’s around €5/6 entry and there’s a big car park).

You’ll take a very steep 10-15-minute-walk up to one of several viewpoints. And from there, you’ll be blown away (literally… it gets insanely windy here!).

Rugged, raw and breathtakingly beautiful, the Kerry Cliffs tend to be considerably quieter than the likes of the Cliffs of Moher, which only adds to the experience.

3. Explore Valentia Island

Valentia Island

Photos via Shutterstock

Valentia Island is reachable via a bridge from Portmagee. The journey takes just a few minutes and makes exploring this beautiful corner of Kerry easy.

Valentia Island is steeped in history. It was here that the world’s first transatlantic telegraph cable was built over 150 years ago. It’s also here where you’ll discover endless scenery.

There are two highlights on the island – the first is the Bray Head Walk a tough, steep climb that takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes (a great pre-dinner ramble).

The second is the outstanding Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs. Now, you have to pay to get up to them as the road has been built on private land, but you’ll get one of the finest views in Ireland from the viewpoint (you can drive right up to it!).

4. Do the Skellig Ring Drive


Photos by The Irish Road Trip

Although it’s the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula that get much of the attention when it comes to scenic drives in this county the Skellig Ring Drive goes toe-to-toe with both!

You can start it from Portmagee (or from Cahersiveen or Waterville) and it takes in cliffs, viewpoints, castles and some of the best beaches in Kerry!

It’s a much less travelled route than the Ring, but this only means less traffic and less crowds.

Portmagee pubs and restaurants

the Moorings Portmagee

Photos via the Moorings

If you fancy a post-adventure pint or a bite before hitting the nest after a long day exploring, you’re in luck.

While Portmagee is small, it packs a punch pub-wise. Below, you’ll find our favourite places to eat and drink. 

1. The Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant

A hotspot for traditional music with decent pub grub in the heart of Portmagee, this popular pub is well worth dropping into.

Popular amongst locals and tourists alike, the Moorings offers a real taste of authentic village life. The music here is as traditional as the decor.

2. Fisherman’s Bar & Skellig Restaurant

Offering tasty dishes in a warm environment, there’s a lot to like about the Fisherman’s Bar & Skellig Restaurant.

The seafood platter here is worth a bash, boasting muscles, crab, prawns and a fried fish fillet as well as salad, chips and a little smoked salmon to boot!

Portmagee Accommodation

Moorings Hotel

Photos via

Although there are no hotels in the village, there’s several places to stay in Portmagee that boast excellent reviews.

Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we’ll make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. The Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant

Overlooking Portmagee harbour, The Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant is a lovely little spot with finely appointed rooms.

While the rooms are clean and comfortable, the best part of this place is the location – it’s right in the centre of the village. There’s a pub/restaurant on-site and you’re right across from the little harbour.

Check prices + see photos here

2. The Ferry Boat

Located in the centre of Portmagee, this lovely family-run guesthouse is a small but comfortable spot to enjoy a homely atmosphere.

Guests here will experience some real Irish hospitality along with a cooked breakfast. The best part? You’re a few minutes walk from the centre of the village.

Check prices + see photos here

3. Skellig Port accommodation

This two-bedroom apartment is located a short drive from Portmagee and offers self-catering accommodation.

This apartment boasts 2 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchenette with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 2 bathrooms with a hot tub.

Check prices + see photos here

4. John Morgan’s House

With an enviable beachfront location, John Morgan’s House offers some of the more popular accommodation in Portmagee.

Situated in the centre of the village, visitors to this holiday are a short stroll from pubs, restaurants and Valentia Island.

Check prices + see photos here

FAQs about visiting Portmagee in Ireland

Since mentioning the town in a guide to Kerry that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Portmagee in Kerry.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best things to do in Portmagee?

Take a boat tour to the Skelligs, explore Valentia Island, visit the Kerry Cliffs or drive or cycle the Skellig Ring.

Where are the best places to eat in Portmagee?

The Moorings Guesthouse & Seafood Restaurant, Smuggler’s Cafe and Fisherman’s Bar & Skellig Restaurant are all great options.

What are the best places to stay in Portmagee?

Seagull Cottage, John Morgan’s House, The Ferry Boat, Skellig Port accommodation and The Moorings Guesthouse are worth checking out.

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