Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula

Slea Head Drive Dingle Peninsula Ireland
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.

map of Slea Head route

Route Guide 

Dingle to Ventry - Ceann Trá

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.

view over Ventry harbour Dingle Peninsula Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Ventry - Ceann Trá to Fahan

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.

stream crossing the road at glenfahan slea head drive Dingle Peninsula Ireland

Fahan to Slea Head

The Drive now reaches Slea Head itself, marked by a stone crucifixion scene, with dramatic views to South Kerry and the Blasket Islands.

sea and cliffs at coumeenole Dingle Peninsula Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Slea Head to Dún Chaoin - Dunquin

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.

path down to Dunquin pier with sea and Blasket islands in background Dingle Peninsula Ireland

Dún Chaoin / Dunquin to Baile an Fheirtéaraigh / Ballyferriter

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.

front of museum chorca dhuibhne regional museum dingle peninsula wild atlantic way ireland
historic dry stone building Gallarus Dingle Peninsula Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Baile an Fheirtéaraigh to Baile na nGall / Ballydavid

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.

ballydavid harbour front Dingle Peninsula Wild Atlantic Way Ireland
beach with birds in foreground Feohanagh and mount brandon in background dingle peninsula ireland

Baile na nGall / Ballydavid to Dingle

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.

small boat at sea in Brandon Creek grass rocks and monbretia in foreground Dingle Peninsula
slea head drive near Dunquin Dingle Peninsula Wild Atlantic Way ireland

Driving Slea Head - Tips & Advice

  • Drive on the left side of the road.
  • Enjoy the Slea Head Drive by following the signs for ‘Slea Head Drive’ and ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and travel in a clockwise direction.
  • Follow road signage first instead of being guided by your Sat. Nav. when using the Slea Head Drive and the Conor Pass. The local signs are to ensure free flow of traffic.
  • Walkers and Cyclists use our roads too. Please respect walkers and cyclists and pass with care giving them the safety of a 1.5 metre clearance.
  • Our road network on the Dingle Peninsula is full of charm but can be busy during the summer season. The roads are often narrow at points, so allow for longer journey times.
  • There are lay-bys where you are asked to pull in to let traffic through should a tailback have developed.
  • Other road users include farmers with cows and sheep on the roads. Please take due care and allow them to herd their stock safely. In the event of sheep on the road, please slow down and allow them to find their way back on to the hills or into fields.
  • Equestrian activities occur across the peninsula. Please slow down, give safe clearance and allow them to carry on in safety.
  • There are a number of schools located along the route so please be mindful for the safety of school children.
  • Dispose or recycle your litter - “If You Bring It In, Take It Out” please.

Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula


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