With a combination of majestic mountains and rugged unspoilt coastline, Kerry is perfect for a self-drive tour. At just under 200km, one of the most famous drives in Ireland is located in this region - The Ring of Kerry. It is worth making the time to stop at a number of the sites along the way, and a minimum of two days. Commence the route at Killarney and drive south towards Kenmare. On the way, you can stop at the famous panoramic lookout of Ladies View and the picturesque lake of Lough Leane.
Near the town of Kenmare, an ancient site holds a special place in the heart of locals. A stone circle thought to be up to 3000 years old lies just outside the town and is regarded as a place of worship built by Celts who once lived in the area. Another attraction not to be missed is Staigue Fort near Sneem. Drive further along the Ring, visiting the massive circular stone fort built over 1500 years ago. Other towns and villages you will come across include Caherdaniel, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Kells - all blessed with a unique character of their own.
You can pick up your rental car at Kerry Airport, which is near the town of Killarney. Although County Kerry is the 5th largest county in Ireland, it is still largely rural. When driving around the region, remember that it is not unusual to share the road with slow-moving farm machinery, livestock and wildlife. The county is also the most mountainous in Ireland, and roads can become quite winded. As with the UK and Northern Ireland, in the Republic of Ireland, you will drive on the left-hand side of the road. Ensure you familiarise yourself with the legal driving requirements, road symbols and stick to the legal speed limit, which can change during poor weather.
It is a requirement that visiting motorists carry their valid Australian State or Territory driving licence. It is recommended that you also carry with you an International Driving Permit, which must be obtained before you leave Australia. Some suppliers require this document to hire a car. The minimum age to rent a car in Ireland is 23 years, though most suppliers may have a minimum age between 25 and 30 years. Most suppliers charge a fee for young drivers (25 and under) usually for insurance purposes.
There are a number of toll roads, bridges and tunnels which connect the larger towns and cities in Ireland. If you are driving between towns, the fastest route is usually the motorways, and sections of the larger motorways operate toll charges. Generally, you will pay at the barrier to the toll zone. The toll charges vary anywhere from €2 to €10, depending on the time of day, the type of vehicle, and the particular road, bridge or tunnel used.
Some suppliers allow rental cars to be driven in Ireland and Northern Ireland without restrictions. Some cars are permitted to travel to the United Kingdom for an additional fee, though you will need to confirm at the time of booking that the car is permitted to be transported on ferries. Both international and domestic one-way rentals are on a request basis with the suppliers and include minimum duration conditions.
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