The Skellig Ring drive in County Kerry has been named one of the top ten regions in the world to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet. On the southwest tip of the Wild Atlantic Way, The Skellig Ring is a coastal drive that is an extension of the Ring of Kerry, which Lonely Planet describes as “a wild and emerald stretch of coastline.”

The leading travel media company unveiled the accolade in the prestigious Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 – its collection of the world’s hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the coming year.

Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross said “I am delighted that The Skellig Ring is being internationally recognized as a place of rugged and ethereal beauty.”

He continued “The early monks who settled in this area believed they had reached the edge of the world and anyone who has travelled The Skellig Ring can appreciate the co-existing impressions of timelessness and mortality the landscape evokes.

“When George Bernard Shaw visited there in 1910 he wrote; ‘I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in; it is part of our dream world’, and anyone who visits today could not but agree.”

Read more: My day on Skellig Michael, the "Star Wars" mysterious island

Welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said “The inclusion of The Skellig Ring…will surely help to inspire travelers everywhere to put the Wild Atlantic Way on their holiday wish-list for 2017.”

#VIDEO The Skellig Ring is a @LonelyPlanet top 10 region for 2017! (Photo credit: @StoryTravelers)

— Tourism Ireland (@GoToIrelandCA) October 25, 2016

The Kerry route is in very good company. The top ten regions in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 are:

  1. Choquequirao, Peru
  2. Taranaki, New Zealand
  3. The Azores, Portugal
  4. North Wales, UK
  5. South Australia
  6. Aysén, Chile
  7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
  8. Coastal Georgia, USA
  9. Perak, Malaysia
  10.  The Skellig Ring

In their world-famous guide, The Lonley Planet describes Skelling Ring as follows:

“This scenic and little-travelled 18km route links Portmagee, Valentia Island and Waterville via a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area centred on Ballinskelligs (Baile an Sceilg). Many undertake it as a detour from the Ring of Kerry, but it's a wonderful destination, in its own right.

It continues:

“The area is wild and beautiful, with the ragged outline of Skellig Michael never far from view. This dramatic island housed a remote monastery between the 6th and 12th centuries and is now an important site for puffins, gannets and guillemots. Its appearance as a location in Star Wars: The Force Awakens means it hogs the limelight, but elsewhere on the Skellig Ring you'll find historic resorts, colorful houses, walking trails and a history that takes in ancient vertebrates and the transatlantic telegraph.

“There's a good Blue Flag beach at Ballinskelligs, which is also home to the Caifé Cois Trá, a local meeting place that hosts a country market every Sunday (11am to 4pm) from June to August.”

Read more: Mysterious history of Skellig Michael, ancient Irish island in 'Star Wars'