Slea Head Drive is one of Ireland's best coastal routes
Slea Head Drive is the name of a very scenic loop route, beginning and ending at Dingle, in the westernmost part of the Dingle Peninsula, in southwest County Kerry, Ireland. It shows a large number of attractions and stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. It's one of the best coastal drives in the world.
How long is Slea Head Drive?
The circular road (R559) is 47km (30 miles) long, starting and ending in the unique little town of Dingle. It’s totally paved in good condition. However, you have to be careful because some parts are full of holes. Travellers usually travel clockwise in order to avoid the large tour buses that frequent the route during the summer. It’s clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length. However, there are sections of it where you’ll need to detour off the main route, which can be easily missed.
Is Slea Head Drive challenging?
Tucked away on Ireland’s western-most edge, the drive is very curvy and twisty, so caution is required. It is narrow, winding, precarious, and undoubtedly a little frightening in places. There are many spots where the road is directly beside a cliff drop off into the ocean. However, the road offers uncovers amazing views over the Atlantic, the nearby Blasket Islands and the rugged coast covered with luscious green. Slea Head Drive (Slí Cheann Sléibhe) is suitable for motorists, but is also enjoyed by cyclists: it is possible to hire a bike at a number of locations in Dingle.
How long does Dingle loop take?
The drive, forming part of the Wild Atlantic Way, is very scenic and features stunning views. Expect the drive to take three or more hours, depending on how many places you stop to visit along the way. This is a rugged desolate country with wonderful coves, beaches, and even a fascinating religious shrine. And just offshore are enigmatic silhouettes of the Blasket Islands, the islands where time stood still. Slea Head is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss the Blasket Islands and Dunquin if you are travelling north, and Ventry and Dingle, if you are travelling south. Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth”, the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with a plethora of green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges. It’s one of Ireland’s favourite and most photographed attractions. It’s highly recommended exploring Slea Head Drive early in the morning or in the late afternoon/evening. Weekdays are usually much quieter on the route. Even Hollywood couldn´t resist the magic of Slea Head and so the area became the setting of films like “Ryans´s Daughter”, “Far and Away” and Star Wars “The Last Jedi”.