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Valentia Island Car Ferry

Crossing Portmagee Channel

Knightstown, Valentia Island to Reenard Point, Cahersiveen (July 2014)

Also be sure to see the Travel/Geography Blog

The Valentia Island Car Ferry

Crossing from Knightstown to Reenard Point

There were two ways to cross between the Irish mainland and Valentia Island, one was a car ferry on the northeast corner of Valentia and the other was a bridge from Portmagee on the southern end. Naturally we took the ferry although most people probably used the bridge as it would be more convenient. We weren't searching for convenience however, it was about enjoying the drive and the scenery, and exploring away from the beaten path. The Valentia Island Car Ferry became more of an enjoyable diversion than a grand shortcut. In the time it took to wait for the ferry to arrive at the dock and then board and cross the channel, one could probably drive down to Portmagee and cross onto Valentia Island using the bridge instead.

The ferry schedule implied that it was intended more to funnel tourists from the Ring of Kerry into the shops, pubs and overnight accommodations in Knightstown, instead of being focused purely on the convenience of local residents. The Valentia Island Car Ferry didn't operate year-round. It crossed the channel from approximately April through September during daylight hours, with exact hours noted on the ferry's facebook page. That was fine with us. We arrived as tourists and probably would not have visited Knightstown otherwise so the ferry fulfilled its purpose.

Valentia Island Car Ferry

The Ferry Arrives

It's not difficult to find the Valentia Island Car Ferry, with one terminal on the northeast side of the island and the other about 2.5 kilometres west of the Ring of Kerry.

It was easy and convenient.

Vehicles Exit the Ferry


The ferry arrived soon enough, disgorged a load of vehicles, and then it was time to board. A helpful deckhand directed each automobile strategically to specific points on the deck to balance the load. Once parked, another deckhand walked amongst the vehicles and collected the fare.

Leaving Valentia Island

Crossing the Channel

The ride didn't go far and it didn't last long, about 850 metres in five minutes. That didn't offer a lot of time to enjoy the view or reflect upon the passage over Portmagee Sound. Nonetheless passengers were free to leave their cars and wander the deck, which I did, although most people remained in their vehicles for the brief crossing. The waters were smooth and the ferry offered a wonderful respite on an overcast summer day.

This was a pleasant little ferry and I'd recommended it for anyone wishing to take a short detour from the traffic on the Ring of Kerry and a scenic drive along the length of Valentia Island.

Readers who have an interest in ferries might also want to check my Ferry Index page.