slea head drive along the wild atlantic way ireland
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Slea Head Drive | Ireland's Great Drives

As a part of Wild Atlantic Way, enjoy 47km of lush green hills, around craggy mountains, and along gorgeous stretches of shoreline on the Slea head Drive.

Slea Head Drive

Located on Ireland’s western-most edge, Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula treats visitors to a cluster of ancient sites, cozy villages, and breathtaking scenery. This quintessential Irish circular driving route starts and ends in the town of Dingle, where pubs, music, shopping, and a dolphin named Fungie have charmed generations of visitors. On Tripadvisor, the tourists have rated Slea Head Drive as number 1 thing to do in Dingle peninsula with an excellent visitor rating, read the endorsements here. The route is supported with road signage throughout the road trip.

Road Trip Highlights

Slea Head Drive Map

Slea Head Drive Stop Points

Dingle Peninsula view
View of Dingle Peninsula by Steve Ford Elliot

Dingle Town

This energetic fishing port is one of Ireland’s largest Irish-speaking towns. Pubs, restaurants, and shops dot the town centre and family-run B&Bs radiate outward. The Oceanworld aquarium lets visitors explore marine life indoors; while a human-loving dolphin named Fungie entertains crowds in the bay as he has since the 1980s. Visit Dingle Peninsula Guide here


West of Dingle along the R559, Ventry Bay harbors a lovely beach. From here, views of the arrowhead-shaped islands of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig can be seen in the distance.

Dunbeg Fort

This dramatic cliff top promontory hangs over the bay below. In use from the 800 BC to 900 AD, today its ruins still hold a bit of mystery. Looking back from the fort offers views of the Dingle coastline and Mount Eagle which was the first sight of land for Charles Lindbergh when he made his famous transatlantic flight.

Beehive Huts

Built like stone igloos, these shelters were built into the hillside by early religious settlements. A short uphill walk is required, and visitors are advised to watch their head if they enter the low doorways.

The Upside-Down-Bridge

Although it looks like the stream that flows over the road is at risk of a deluge of water, it is actually built into the road and affectionately called the “upside-down-bridge.”

More Beehive Huts

A second grouping of beehive huts can be visited, and from this spot one can look down the hill to view a scene captured on film with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s in Far and Away.

Slea Head

The headland that gives this route its name is marked with a large white crucifix against the rocks and an oceanside scenic pull-off. Several pull-offs in this area offer views of the Blasket Islands and Dunmore Head.

Great Blasket Centre

This interpretive centre was created to document the unique community that lived on the Great Blasket Island. The fishermen and farmers here maintained many of Ireland’s traditional ways of life until the island was abandoned in 1953.

Reasc Monastic Site

Overlooking Smerwick Harbour, this site includes several ruins and is highlighted with a particularly beautiful carved stone pillar dating to the 7th Century.

Gallarus Oratory

This tiny church has been around for over 1,000 years, but it’s stone roof and walls have withstood the test of time. A privately owned visitor centre offers a video about the site, or visitors can access the oratory from the narrow road to right of the centre.

Kilmalkedar Church

The remains of this Irish Romanesque church are surrounded by an old cemetery filled with ancient carved stones and a striking view.

Other driving routes in Ireland:

  • The Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
  • The Ring of Kerry - 179km stretch with spectacular landscape, County Kerry
  • Healy Pass - The Healy Pass is a winding mountain road between Adrigole in Co. Cork and Lauragh in Co. Kerry
  • The Ring of Beara - Located in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
  • Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
  • Lough Inagh Drive - 165 km of the Galway coast
  • The Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.

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