The Slea Head Drive is a 46 km loop beginning and ending in Dingle. It is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and one of the most spectacular routes you will drive in Ireland. For those of you with a bit more time, it is also very popular to bike or walk The Slea Head Drive over multiple days. There are numerous historic sites along the way and you can stop into shops, pottery studios, and cafes.
To complete this drive and really enjoy all of the stops, you will want to budget a full day. The safest way to travel is clockwise around this loop in order to avoid coming face to face with the large tour buses that frequent the route during the summer. The road is narrow and there are many spots where the road is directly beside a cliff drop off into the ocean. For information on travel, weather, transportation, accommodation, currency, and more visit our page on Traveling Ireland.
This unique little town is the perfect place to kick off The Slea Head Drive. The charming atmosphere and quirky attractions make Dingle one of a kind. Spend time exploring the local shops or go on a pub crawl through the town. A few day trips can also be taken from Dingle:
Meet Fungie the Dolphin
Fungie is a wild Bottle-nose Dolphin living in the bay around the dingle peninsula. He has become a celebrity over the past 32 years as he interacts with the boats and people in the bay. You can take a tour to go see Fungie in his natural habitat with Dingle Dolphin Tours.
Visit the Blasket Islands
The Blasket Islands are made up of vastly unspoiled mountainous terrain stretching over 1,100 acres. The ocean around the islands are home to an abundance of wildlife including grey seals, dolphins, and a variety of whales. These islands are uninhabited by people, however, you can take day trip tours out to explore with Blasket Island Ferries.
From Dingle you want to drive west along the coast enjoying gorgeous views and scenic cliffs.
Fahan Beehive Huts (Clochain)
These rustic, rocky igloos are the first attraction you will come across on The Slea Head Drive. For a couple of euros (make sure to bring cash!) it`s worth stopping in for a few minutes to experience. These homes were built in the 13th century; now offering a look back in time and gorgeous coastline views.
At the base of Clochain, you are able to hold and pet the baby lambs! They are adorable (obviously!) and if you luck out with timing you can help feed them!
Dunmore Head is an unmistakable promontory situated on the western edge of the Dingle Peninsula. The best place to park is in the village of Coumeenole which has direct access to the headland. It is an ideal place for hiking, photos, and enjoying a picnic lunch! The natural trails will bring you to to the edge of Dunmore Head allowing you to peer down the cliff.
Slea Head Beach
Also known as Coumeenole Beach, this area is described by National Geographic as “one of the most beautiful places on earth.” The nearby cliffs shelter the cove and the remarkable white sand beach. Famous for its exposed shipwreck and as a filming location for the movie Ryan`s Daughter; Slea Head Beach does not disappoint.
The Blasket Island Centre
A heritage and culture center with stunning views of the coast and of the Blasket Islands. This museum honors the unique community of people who lived on the Islands until their evacuation in 1953. Visit the Blasket Island Centre daily from 10 am to 6 pm for a €5 euro entrance fee.
Dunquin Peir offers seasonal ferry services to the Blasket Islands and a scenic viewpoint off the coast. The only entrance is down a narrow meandering walkway which has become a famous postcard image of Ireland. The parking is limited and the pier is not visible from the road so make sure to have it pulled up on your map!
Louis Mulcahy Pottery
This wonderful little pottery shop is such a fun stop on The Slea Head Drive! The pottery is beautiful and the staff are very friendly. If you come between 9 and 4 you can create your own pottery in the studio and they offer worldwide shipping for 10 euros!
The Gallarus Oratory
Thought to be an early Christian church; this structure is built entirely of native cut stone. There is a fee of a few euros to enter the small building which is estimated to have been build between the 6th and 9th centuries.
This inlet was the legendary starting point for the voyage of St Brendan to America in 535 A.D. It is a pretty spot to stop for a quick photo op and a leg stretch before returning to Dingle.