From Killarney, the N71 follows a twisting course gently ascending through the sublime scenery.
This year, Kenmare's inaugural festival of Irish music, the Feile Neidin (00 353 ; kenmareirishmusicfestival.com), takes place on 5- 7 April with performances by the likes of the celebrated Kilfenora Ceili Band.
The Ring passes briefly inland through the charming village of Sneem and on to Caherdaniel, overlooking Derrynane Bay.
Visit nearby Derrynane House (00 353 ; heritageireland.ie), the ancestral home of the 19th-century politician and statesman Daniel O'Connell, known as the Liberator, who championed Irish freedom in Parliament.
The Ring of Kerry is one of Ireland's best-known and most scenic circuits, skirting the edge of the Iveragh Peninsula – the middle and largest of three fingers of land reaching out into the Atlantic on the island's south-west extremity.
This 120-mile route takes the N70, N71 and R562 roads and encounters some of Ireland's finest landscapes, a breathtaking mosaic of rugged, storm-bashed coast, steep mountains, velvety green fields, historic sites, slate-coloured glacial lakes and welcoming towns and villages.
Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day, but the celebrations don't stop there because 2013 is the year of The Gathering (thegatheringireland.com), a 365-day initiative to encourage people with Irish heritage to visit.There are hundreds of events taking place all over Kerry and beyond.The predominately coastal Ring actually starts and ends inland at Killarney (killarney.ie), a historic town set in an enchanting spot within Ireland's oldest protected wilderness, the Killarney National Park (killarneynationalpark.ie).The park is a fabulous tableau of heather-flecked mountains, sparkling, island-dotted lakes, monuments such as the 15th-century Ross Castle and Ireland's only herd of wild red deer.At the centre of the park is Muckross Demesne, home to a friary and the 19th-century Muckross House, Gardens and Working Farm (00 353 ; muckross-house.ie), sandwiched between Lough Leane and Muckross Lake.The estate, which hosted a visit from Queen Victoria in 1861, is open to the public; admission costs €7.50.