A Guide To The Kerry Cliffs In Portmagee (History, Tickets, Parking + More)

the kerry cliffs portmagee
Photo left: VTaggio. Right: Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

The Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee are arguably the most overlooked of the many mighty places to visit in Kerry.

Standing at over 1,000 feet above the icy Atlantic below, the Kerry Cliffs are a staggering 400 million years old.

Those that visit will be treated to views of the Skellig Islands, coastal scenery that rivals the best in Ireland and much more.

In the guide below, we’ll take a closer look at visiting the Kerry Cliffs, providing a comprehensive guide including some history, how to get there and more.

Some quick need-to-knows about the Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee 

the kerry cliffs
Photo by Mark Heighes/shutterstock.com

The Kerry Cliffs are a remote and rugged group of rock formations rising high out of the waters of the Atlantic. Many visitors come here for the stunning views, which stretch for over thirty miles out to sea.

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.

1. Location

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.

2. Parking, tickets and opening hours

Admission to the Kerry Cliffs costs €4. They are open between 09:00 and 19:00 Monday to Sunday during the winter and until 21:00 during the summer months.

There’s also a decent bit of parking at the cliffs, so you shouldn’t have any issue (note: prices may change).

3. Their height

The Kerry Cliffs in Portmagee soar at over 300 metres (1,000 feet) above the Atlantic and are a true sight to behold. 

4. Views, views and more views

On clear days, the soaring form of Skellig Michael is visible from the cliffs, making for a special photo opportunity. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Skellig Islands are accessible via boat trip from Portmagee.

About the Kerry Cliffs

the kerry cliffs
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

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.

You may have them all to yourself

Many of the Irish Road Trip team have visited the Portmagee Cliffs a handful of times over the years, and many of our visits had one thing in common: a lack of people.

If you visit during the off season (spring, autumn or winter), the chances are you’ll have these cliffs all to yourself, with the exception of a handful of others.

How they formed

As their size and complex beauty suggest, the Kerry Cliffs are many millions of years old. In fact, they were formed in a desert environment 400 million years ago.

Yes, Ireland was once a desert! When you visit this stunning 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 itself unique, changing with the light and the seasons. The Atlantic Ocean has bashed away on the rock for many millions of years and this has lent the Kerry Cliffs a special character that is tied intrinsically to the adjacent sea.

The cafe

When visiting the Kerry Cliffs, it is possible to grab a tasty snack or warm beverage, the importance of which should not be underestimated on a freezing day (it gets wild here!).

There is a cafe serving locally made sandwiches, sweet treats and more in addition to coffee, tea and comforting hot chocolate. On top of this, the views from the cliffs are truly something, stretching out all the way to Skellig Michael.

Camping

For those who love the outdoors, it is possible to camp at the Kerry Cliffs. Whether caravan, mobile home or a humble tent, guests can pay kick-back here for a night or three.

There is a washroom on site for camping guests to enjoy as and when they need, whilst the town of Portmagee is nearby for every imaginable supply.

Things to do near the Portmagee Cliffs

the kerry cliffs tour
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

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. Valentia Island (12-minute drive)

valentia island in kerry
Photo left by mikemike10. Photo right: MNStudio (Shutterstock)

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.

2. The Skellig Ring

Waterville in kerry
Photo left by Nenad Basic on Shutterstock. Photo right via Brookhaven House

The Skellig Ring drive (not to be confused with the Ring of Kerry) is a beautiful drive that takes in Waterville, Ballinskelligs and Portmagee along with plenty of gorgeous scenery en route.

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 in Portmagee worth visiting?

Yes! The views from here are absolutely magnificent and the chances are you’ll have the whole place to yourself!

Do you have to pay to visit them?

Yes – you need to park and pay at a little ticket booth. This was €4 when we visited last but it may have changed since.

What is there to see nearby?

You can drive the Skellig Ring and see the towns of Waterville and Ballinskelligs or you can visit Skellig Michael and/or explore Valentia Island.

James Connolly is a professional writer based in London. Having lived in cities across the world including Mumbai, Medellin and Barcelona, he uses his expertise to write articles showcasing the best of global travel.

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