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A Guide To Getting The Valentia Island Ferry

A Guide To Getting The Valentia Island Ferry

Remote Valentia Island lies just off the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest County Kerry.

The island is accessible by a road bridge from Portmagee or by the Valentia Island Ferry from Reenard Point near Cahersiveen.

In the guide below, you’ll find info on when and where it leaves from as well as what to do when you arrive on the island.

Some quick need-to-knows about the Valentia Island Ferry

Although the ferry to Valentia Island is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Departure points      

The Valentia Island car ferry departs from Reenard Point which is just west of Cahersiveen and from Knight’s Town on the island.

2. April to October service

The Valentia Island Ferry runs from April to October. If you’re visiting the area outside of these months, you’ll need to walk, drive or cycle to the island via the bridge at Portmagee.

3. Timetable

The ferry runs frequently from April to October (note: times may change):

  • First sailing from Knight’s Town: Monday to Saturday: 07:30. Sunday: 09:00.
  • Last sailing from Knight’s Town: April, May and June: 20:55. July and August: 21:55. September and October: 19:55

4. How much it costs      

The ferry to Valentia Island is very reasonable. Here are the prices (note: these prices may change so check in advance!):

  • Car with Passengers Single: €11
  • Car with Passengers Return: €15
  • Foot Passenger Single: €2
  • Foot Passenger Return: €3

5. How long it takes

The trip takes just 5 minutes for the short crossing. This is compared to the 25-minute drive time if you were to drive from Renard Point to the island via Portmagee.

About the Valentia Island Ferry

ferry to Valentia Island

Photo via Shutterstock

Valentia Island Ferries are licensed by the Department of the Marine. The ferry is a vital service to the island.

From Cahersiveen, it cuts the road trip by a good 30 minutes if you were driving from Renard Point to Knightstown. 

The Valentia Island car ferry carries just 15 vehicles plus passengers across the Portmagee Channel on the 850m trip. 

It usually operates from early April to late October but stormy seas mean that the ferry service is occasionally suspended, even in summer.

Despite its age and remote location, the ferry carried 250,000 passengers and 100,000 cars in 2016.

Things to do when you arrive on the island

There’s heaps of things to do on Valentia Island, regardless of when you visit.

Below, you’ll find everything from walks and beaches to historical sites and more.

1. The Bray Head Walk

bray head valentia

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re getting the ferry to Valentia Island in search of a walk, look no further than the Bray Head Walk – a 4km route that offers stunning seascapes as it skirts around the clifftops of Valentia Island. The trail offers extensive views of the Skellig Islands.

Start from Bray Head car park and follow the stony path uphill on a moderate incline. From there, the incredible views are non-stop.

Follow the route along ancient stone walls and fences as you explore the island before heading back the way you came.

2. Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs

Geokaun Mountain

Photos via Shutterstock

Geokaun Mountain is the highest point on Valentia Island and overlooks the northeast coast near Valentia Island Lighthouse.

Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs offer breathtaking 360-degree views across the restless Atlantic Ocean to Dingle Bay, the Skellig Islands and the Kerry Mountains.

The views are magnificent. You can walk to the summit or drive most of the way and use one of the four car parks. The Cliff viewing deck is the best place for spectacular photos.

There is an admission fee of €6 per vehicle and €3 for pedestrians or cyclists. It’s open 8:00 to 20:00 daily. It’s a 15-minute spin from where you get off the ferry to Valentia Island to the cliffs.

3. Valentia Lighthouse

Valentia Lighthouse

Photos via Shutterstock

Valentia Island Lighthouse is one of the main landmarks on the island and is still a working lighthouse. It was built in 1939 on the site of a military fort built by Oliver Cromwell in the 16th century.

Fleetwood Fort had bastions and barracks but was partially destroyed. Visitors are welcome to visit the lighthouse Visitor Centre in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage which was inhabited until 1947 after the light was automated.

Admission to the lighthouse for a 45-minute tour is €7.50 for adults and €4 for children.  

4. Valentia Island Beach

Glanleam Beach

Photo left: Viv Egan. Bottom right: Tom Archer (via Tourism Ireland’s Content Pool)

One of the island’s best-kept secrets is Glamleam Beach. It is hidden on the coastline below Glanleam House on the northeast side of the island.

The tiny sandy cove is idyllic and is located in a sheltered north-facing cove overlooking Beginish Island. The clear waters may be tempting for a swim, but they are icy cold!

If you fancy staying in the area while you explore, take a look at our Valentia Island accommodation guide for some solid recommendations.

FAQs about the Valentia Island Ferry

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘When does it leave?’ to ‘Where does it stop?’.

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.

How much is the Valentia Island ferry?

The prices for the Valentia Island Ferry are: cars: €5 single / €8 return. Pedestrians: €1.50 single / €2 return. Cyclists: €2 single / €3 return (prices may change).

How long does the ferry to Valentia Island take?

Getting to Valentia Island via the car ferry takes just 5 minutes and the shuttle leaves every 10 minutes from April to October.

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Tom Roche

Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Can foot passengers travel on the DSP Free Teavel Pass

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

Hey Tom - I can't see any mention of this online. It would be worth getting in touch with the folks running the ferry!

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