Slea Head Drive 2 1
Slea Head Drive 2 1

The Slea Head Drive: Best Places to Stop for Great Views

If you’re touring around County Kerry in a rental car you simply must include the Slea Head Drive in your plans.

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While every view in Kerry is a fabulous one, this part of the county — and this drive in particular — will provide you with some of the best views of your Wild Atlantic Way trip.

Give yourself at least 3 hours to complete it, and that’s with minimal stops. It could take longer, but don’t rush it either. Take your time and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way.

A Few Pointers Before You Go

  • According to the folks at Dingle’s tourism office, it is best to travel clockwise so that you avoid the many large tourist buses that frequent this well-traveled route.
  • After leaving the town of Dingle, turn left, at which point you’ll see the brown tourist sign that says Slea Head Drive, with the WAW logo underneath. In fact, you should continue to follow the road signs instead of relying on your phone’s navigation as that may send you off in the wrong direction.
  • Another tip from the locals is to set off on your journey in the late afternoon/evening when it is quiet (obviously this will only work during the summer months when you have plenty of daylight).

Dingle to Dunbeg Fort

Dingle is where you will start the 30-mile (48 km) Slea Head Drive loop and where you will end up when you’re finished.

The town is a popular tourist destination.

colorful buildings in a town choosing accommodation in Ireland
Dingle in County Kerry. Photo: espiegle, Getty Images Signature.

Located in the Kerry Gaeltacht (one of Ireland’s Irish-speaking regions), it has become quite bohemian in recent years, attracting a fair number of artists and other creatives.

As a result, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied while in the town, which is known for its excellent restaurants, interesting shops, and cool galleries.

Before you head out, I suggest you get lunch in Dingle. The Fish Box is a popular spot, although there are tons of restaurants in the town that are all very good.
Dún Beag Fort is situated along Slea Head Drive. Photo: Rob Philips,

You should get to the Dún Beag Fort in about 20 minutes. There is some debate as to when the fort was built but researchers believe it could have been during The Iron Age.

Its spectacular setting makes it a popular stop on the drive, and many say that it is one of County Kerry’s most spectacular archaeological sites.

Be sure to stop at the visitor center first to learn more about the site and what to look for.

You’ll find lots of souvenirs to bring home, including authentic sheep skin rugs, as well as local art and jewelry.

There is also a café onsite. You should book online before visiting.

Tickets for adults are a very reasonable €3.50, with €2.50 for students and seniors. Admission for children is €1.50.

Read More: Exploring the Dingle Peninsula Without the Fun-Loving Dolphin Fungie

Fahan Beehive Huts

A 2-minute drive from the fort will take you to the legendary Fahan Beehive Huts, believed to be the oldest of their type in Ireland.

What’s most fascinating about these structures (known locally as clocháns) is that there was no mortar used in their construction.
The unusual bee hive huts in Fahan, Co. Kerry. Photo: Barb Mayer,

Dating from the 8th century, the stones appear to be stacked one on top of the other, with each stone positioned gradually inward so that the entire structure formed a pointed roof.

This method of construction is hard to date, but experts believe that the huts could have been constructed any time between the 8th and the 12th centuries.

Step inside and imagine the work that went into these curious landmarks and what life might have been like for their inhabitants. And if you get the chance, hold a baby lamb while you’re there!

Enjoy a Sheepdog Demonstration on the Slea Head Drive

The Cross at Slea Head

While there’s no formal name to this stop, the white cross along the side of the road with accompanying statues is worth pulling over for just to savor the views from this vantage point.
The cross at Slea Head. Photo: xtian1960 for Getty Images Signature.

On a clear day, you can easily see the Blasket Islands.

Dunmore Head Viewpoint

Considered the westernmost point along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Dunmore Head is a favorite stop along the drive.
Dunmore Head on the Slea Head Drive, the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry. Photo: Tom Archer for Tourism Ireland.

You can park your car and enjoy the view.

If you want to experience this section of the drive a little more thoroughly, I’d recommend that you first go to Slea Head Beach (more popularly known as Coumeenole Beach) and look for the trailhead that will bring you along the coast.
Coumeenole Beach along the Kerry coast. Photo: Sile Ní Mhurchu, Failte Ireland.

This is the beach made famous by Hollywood director David Lean who filmed Ryan’s Daughter in this very spot.

You’ll notice a commemoration stone close to the beach car park, which was erected in 1999 to mark the movie’s 30th anniversary.

Dunquin Pier

Also known by its Gaelic name, “Dun Chaoin Pier,” this stop is yet another way to gaze at the Blaskets Islands and beyond.

a long winding road down a hill The Slea Head Drive
The winding road leading to the Dunquin Pier on the Slea Head Drive. Photo: Seth Cribby for Getty Images.

The road to the pier itself is rather treacherous looking and tourists are not encouraged to drive on it. Instead, park at the small booth at the top that sells tickets for the ferry to The Great Blasket Island.

The Blasket Island Centre

This wonderful museum is a natural next stop after visiting the pier.

The museum chronicles the lives of the Great Blasket islanders who were evacuated from the island in 1953.

a boat inside a museum The Slea Head Drive
The Blasket Island Centre, Dingle, Co. Kerry. Photo: Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland.

Several exhibitions, interactive displays, artifacts, audio-visual presentations, and various artwork all tell the unique story of this special place and its people.

Tickets for the museum are an affordable €5 for adults, €4 for seniors, and €3 for children and students. A family ticket will cost you €13.

You can get in for free on the first Wednesday of the month.

Ditch the Car and Take a Dingle and Slea Head Group Tour 

Ceann Sibeal Viewing Point

If you’re a Star Wars fan, be sure to stop here (otherwise known as Sybil Head). This is where Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed.

The Slea Head Drive veers inland a bit at this point where you’ll find yourself in the village of Ballyferriter.

rocks and cliffs near the ocean The Slea Head Drive
Ceann Sibeal at sunset. This was the filming location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi (also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan for Tourism Ireland.

This might be a good time to stop for a coffee, which you can conveniently get at the Chorca Dhuibhne Museum (The West Kerry Museum).

The museum, which is in an 1875 schoolhouse, gives visitors the chance to learn about the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Dingle Peninsula.

The museum is free to visit, but donations are certainly welcome. There is also a bookstore onsite.

The Gallarus Oratory

This is the last official stop on the Slea Head Drive. An oddly shaped structure (looking somewhat like a boat turned upside down).

a cone-shaped stone building The Slea Head Drive
The Gallarus Oratory is an attraction that you'll find along The Slea Head Drive. Photo: Jupiter Images.

This early Christian church is believed to have been built between the 7th and 8th centuries although experts are not 100 percent sure of that either, with some believing that its construction is similar to Newgrange.

Nevertheless, it’s a site worth exploring. A visitor center nearby provides more insight into the structure and the history of the area.

Cool Stuff to Buy Along the Route

  • The Louis Mulcahy Pottery Store – located in Ballyferriter, this popular pottery is known for its use of vibrant reds, yellows, cobalt, and turquoise blues. Popular motifs include birds, fish, and naomhogs (pronounced “naveogs” that are similar to a currach boat, which is native to the West of Ireland).
  • Dingle Crystal – while Waterford Crystal is the most famous of the Irish crystal brands, Dingle Crystal, located on Dingle’s Green Street, is a much smaller operation, with each piece designed and handcrafted by the owner Sean Daly.
  • Sinead Lough Ceramics – located also in Ballyferriter, this talented young designer churns out a variety of functional and colorful decorative pieces.
  • An Gealairi Beag (meaning Small Gallery) – this delightful store located on Main Street in Dingle features the work of 13 local artists who are all members of the West Kerry Craft Guild. You'll find everything from handmade wooden gifts, to ceramics, photography, art, woven goods, and more.
  • Lisbeth Mulcahy – local weaver and tapestry artist Lisbeth Mulcahy operates a store in Dingle where you can find her own woven goods, including beautiful tapestries, scarves, throws, and wall hangings.

Are you planning on exploring The Slea Head Drive in County Kerry? If so, let me know in the comments below.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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