The Slea Head Drive - Slí Cheann Sléibhe
Slea Head Drive, one of Ireland’s most scenic routes, takes you on a journey through historic sites, Irish speaking villages, famous Hollywood film locations with close up views of the world renowned Blasket Islands and distant views of the Skellig Islands on the south western horizon.
The Slea Head Drive (Slí Cheann Sléibhe) is a circular route, forming part of the Wild Atlantic Way, beginning and ending in Dingle, that takes in a large number of attractions and stunning views on the western end of the Dingle Peninsula. The route is clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length. The Slea Head Route is most enjoyable when done slowly over a number of hours or days allowing time for the many interesting stops and detours along the way. A minimum of a half-day should be set aside for the journey.
Travellers are strongly advised to travel clockwise in order to avoid meeting the large tour buses that frequent the route during the summer. Part of the Slea Head cliff road is very narrow and single lane only. The route is suitable for motorists, but is also enjoyed by cyclists - bicycles can be hired at a number of locations in Dingle.
On leaving Dingle follow the signs for Slea Head Drive R559 in the direction of Ceann Trá - Ventry. The Drive passes over Milltown Bridge, past the woodlands at Burnham to the seaside village of Ventry - Ceann Trá. The long, curved strand is a blue flag beach and offers a safe venue for bathing and water sports.
On leaving Ventry the Drive continues westward, past the remains of Dunbeg Fort, and the Fahan group of Clocháns or Beehive huts. there ar a number of small parking areas where you can stop to enjoy the view and visit some of these historic sites. On a clear day you can see the island of Skellig Michael as a silhouette on the southern horizon. The drive continues with a sheer cliff on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. At Fahan hairpin bend the road crosses a ford.
The Drive now reaches Slea Head itself, marked by a stone crucifixion scene, with dramatic views to South Kerry and the Blasket Islands.
The Drive now follows the coast north, past Coumenoole Strand, where some of the filming of Ryan's Daughter took place, to Dún Chaoin. A passenger ferry to the Great Blasket / An Blascaod Mór runs from Dún Chaoin pier between April and October.
The Drive continues north and east from Dún Chaoin through wild open countryside, passing Clogher Head and a great viewing point for Ceann Sibéal (both film locations) From here the road moves inland to the village of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh / Ballyferriter. The village has a number of bars, a shop and is the site of the Corca Dhuibhne Regional Museum.
The Drive now moves eastward, passing close to a number of ancient monuments, such as the excavated early Christian site at Reasc, and Gallarus Oratory.
The traveller will next arrive at the fishing village of Baile na nGall/Ballydavid. On leaving the village the drive again follows a cliff-top route, with a dramatic seascape of crashing waves, rocks and seabirds below.
At An Fheothanach/Feohanagh a bridge is crossed and the route brings you to Cuas an Bhodaigh or Brandon Creek. This inlet was the legendary starting point of the voyage of St Brendan to America, centuries before Columbus.
The Drive now turns south and runs along the base of Mount Brandon, the second highest mountain in Ireland. A pilgrimage route to the mountain's summit begins near here.
The Drive now rejoins the main road south to Dingle, passing over a hill's crest at Ballinlochaigh and arriving back at the entrance to the town.
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We are very happy to help guide you to your idyllic holiday or short break on the Dingle Peninsula. Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance, a marketing co-operative owned and managed by its members across the peninsula, have produced this website to provide you, our visitors with the most up to date information you need to plan and enjoy your visit.
If you cannot find the information you need, or have a question you would like answered, please feel free to contact us.
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Comhaontas Turasóireachta Chorca Dhuibhne
Aonad 4, Páirc Gnó na Coille, Daingean Uí Chúis, Contae Chiarraí, Éire