Although I’ve visited them 6 or 7 times now, the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee never fail to knock me a little.
Arguably one of the best things to do in Kerry, they stand at over 1,000 feet above the icy Atlantic below and are a staggering 400 million years old.
Those that visit will be treated to views of the Skellig Islands along with magnificent coastal scenery that rivals the best County Kerry has to offer.
Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the Kerry Cliffs, from how they were formed to ticket prices, parking and more.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee
Although a visit to the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee is pretty straight-forward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit all the more enjoyable.
You’ll find the Kerry Cliffs along the Skellig Ring, not far from the little village of Portmagee, which is arguably best known as being the main departure point for those looking to visit Skellig Michael.
The Kerry Cliffs are accessed via private land. A large car park has been built on-site and there’s plenty of room.
2. Ticket prices
Admission to the Kerry Cliffs costs €5/6 (prices may change) and you can buy tickets at a little booth inside the car park. There’s a credit card machine.
3. Opening hours dependant on the weather
We previously displayed opening hours for the Kerry Cliffs but, after an email from someone from their office, removed them. The cliffs are closed during poor weather conditions, so keep that in mind before visiting.
4. The cafe
There is a cafe at the Kerry Cliffs (note: may only be open during the summer months – we haven’t been able to confirm) where you can grab a coffee, a sandwich and/or some sweet treats.
5. Expect a steep climb
When you leave the car park, there’s a relatively steep incline up to the various viewpoints. This should prove no trouble to those with moderate fitness, but keep in mind if you/someone in your party has limited mobility.
What to expect from a visit to the Kerry Cliffs
A visit to the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee is something you’ll remember long after you leave. The cliffs are ancient and the views are outstanding.
The viewing area takes you up to a nice height and you almost feel like your standing at the Bow of a boat.
How they formed
As their size and beauty suggest, the Kerry Cliffs are many millions of years old. In fact, they were formed in a desert environment 400 million years ago.
When you visit the area, the layers in the rock that have built up over such an incomprehensibly long period are clear to see.
The colour of the rock at the Kerry Cliffs is in itself unique, changing with the light and the seasons.
The viewing areas
There are several different viewing areas at the Kerry Cliffs and, when you walk up from the car park, you need to choose right or left (you can go to both, of course!).
After many visits, I’ve settled on the viewpoints on the left as being the best-bang-for-your-buck (or for the effort you put in walking up the steep hill!).
From the left side, you get the view of the Kerry Cliffs that’s visible in the photos above.
Less crowds than you’d expect
On the 6/7 occasions that I visited the Kerry Cliffs, I’ve never met more than a handful of people. This has been during both peak and off-peak seasons.
There are many famous cliffs in Ireland, like the Cliffs of Moher, that draw millions of visitors a year, yet the Kerry Cliffs fall under the radar of many.
Things to do near the Portmagee Cliffs
One of the beauties of the Kerry Cliffs is that they’re a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Portmagee Cliffs (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Coomanaspig Pass (2-minute drive)
Coomanaspig Pass is located to the right when you leave the Kerry Cliffs (yep, up that big hill!). This is one of the highest accessible points in Ireland that’s reachable by car and it’s a key discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way.
2. Food in Portmagee (5-minute drive)
If you fancy a post-walk feed after visiting the Kerry Cliffs, take the short spin to Portmagee Village and head into the Moorings. You’ll find seafood chowders and hearty pub grub served here.
3. Valentia Island (12-minute drive)
The mighty Valentia Island is a short, 12-minute drive from the cliffs. There are heaps of things to do on Valentia Island, from walks and hikes to mighty views and much more.
4. The Skellig Ring
FAQs about visiting the Kerry Cliffs
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park to whether or not they’re worth visiting.
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.
Are the Kerry Cliffs worth it?
The Kerry Cliffs are 100% worth a visit. You’ll pay a small fee of €5/6 and you’ll then be treated to some of the finest cliffs along the Wild Atlantic Way. Just keep in mind that there is a steep walk up to the viewing areas.
Where is the best place to see the cliffs of Kerry?
The best viewpoint is the one on the left after you leave the parking at the Kerry Cliffs. From here, you have the Skellig Islands in front of you and then the cliffs just to your right.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.