Slea Head drive is probably the highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way and one of the best drives in Western Europe. It is hard to describe how beautiful a drive this is, and all in the space of 30 miles (50km). Some of the phrases we read when looking for a description are ‘the most beautiful spot in the world’, ‘the drive of a lifetime’, ‘ wow- at every turn’, ‘a must see’, ‘spectacular”, and ‘it took us 3 days to explore the 50km’s’.
The drive has spectacular views with wild Atlantic waves lapping the most westerly tip of Europe, long golden beaches, the Blaskets Islands, high cliffs, rolling mountains, Beehive huts, promontory forts, museums, Gallarus Oratory, and Brandon Creek. There is just so much to see and do. You cannot come to Dingle without visiting Slea Head. It is also a great bike ride. No better way to spend a day
Guided tours are available. Some are straight forward trips taking in all the highlights. Others cover all the famous archaeological sites.
Sciuird Archaeological Tours [email protected] +353 (0)66 9151606
Begley’s Slea Head Tour www.dingleshuttlebus.com +353 (0)87 2504707
Coastline Tours www.coastline-tours.com +353 (0)87 9982230
For those that can travel to Dingle in the summer months (Easter to October), regular boat trips run from Dingle, Ventry and Dunquin to the Blasket islands. Obviously the length of trips vary from the departure destinations.
This is probably our favourite way to pass a day. We think it is an amazing way to see this beautiful part of the world, and it should definitely be seriously considered for your itinerary
The Great Blasket Islands are a walker’s paradise and the perfect day trip while visiting County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.
Walk the unique system of unfenced green roads – grassy tracks previously used by the Blasket islanders and these days kept trimmed by the island’s sheep, rabbits and hares.
Take a stroll down to An Trá Bán (White Strand), the pristine island beach, and take a dip in the refreshing Atlantic waves.
Visit Seal Cove and spend some time watching the large colony of Grey Seals fishing or relaxing on the rocks.
Take a longer hike around the back of the island, where you can enjoy amazing views over the other islands of the archipelago, amongst them Inis Tuascairt and remote, cone-shaped Tearacht.
Hike up to the ‘Cró’, the island’s highest point at 292m – the perfect spot for a picnic.
Sit down at the southern end of the island and take out your binoculars for some dolphin and whale watching. Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, Porpoises and Minke Whales are all regular visitors to these waters, as well as gigantic Basking Sharks filter-feeding around the rocks here.
Don’t forget to look out for the amazing amount of birdlife surrounding the island, including diving Gannets and playful Choughs. You might even catch a glimpse of a White-tailed Eagle – they have recently been reintroduced to the Kerry Mountains.
For some less strenuous activity, join an adventure trip aboard the Eco Marine Adventure Tour around the Blasket Islands twice daily.
Blaskets Islands and Eco Marine Tours, www.marinetours.ie +353 (0)86 3353805
Dingle Bay Charters www.dinglebaycharters.com +353 (87) 6726100
Blasket Island Ferries www.blasketisland.com +353(0)66 9151344
This is a far quieter and undiscovered drive that offers complete contrasts to the Slea Head drive but is a real adventure. This drive will probably take most of your day, without ever leaving the peninsula, and will be packed with amazing experiences.
You start the drive by actually heading east out of town to the town land of Minard, then taking a little road over the back hills which affords spectacular views of Dingle Bay, down to Minard Castle (Cromwell’s army used four gunpowder charges to finally end Irish resistance here in 1649), from here take the old road across Acres into Annascaul, where a trip to Tom Creans birthplace and grave can be organised with a walk up along the beautiful Annascaul lake. From here, head east again to Camp, turning west and heading for Caslegregory and the Maharees, which is a great spot for a beach walk, swim or surf.
From here you then skirt along the base of the peninsula into Cloghane and Brandon Point for a ramble up the base of Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest mountain, while looking back over the views of the boats bobbing along Tralee Bay. The final leg brings you back over the spectacular Conor Pass, where a ramble up to Peddler’s Lake and a final picture on the view park on top, and then a gentle roll back into Dingle. You will feel like you have had a real adventure and will want to finish the day with a cool pint of Guinness in one of the many great pubs in Dingle
We will go though the drive and provide you with maps of all the highlights along the way. If you would like to order a packed lunch for a picnic along the way please let us know in advance.
If you do not feel like the drive and would prefer your own guide, please let us know and we can organise it for you.
The famous Ring of Kerry and Killarney Park is a great way to spend a day, heading east out of Dingle you join the Ring of Kerry at the Town of Killorglin. From here, rather than taking the traditional route, head to Glencar across the spine of the Iveragh peninsula. Come out at Waterville, back tracking slightly here through Ballinskelligs and Portmagee and onto the fantastic Valentia Island and its famous slate quarry. Back onto the main road again heading to Waterville, Caherdaniel, Sneem and through to Killarney down Moll’s Gap to Ladies View with its fantastic view over Killarney Valley and Lakes. Then drive past Torc Waterfall and Muckross House and Gardens. From here it is just an hour back to Dingle. This is a big drive and will take most of the day.
Please ask us to mark your route in advance and show you the highlights and the best locations for photos, eats and treats along the way.
The Dingle Peninsula has over 6000 years of history: ‘There is no other landscape in Western Europe with the density and variety of Archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula; there is a remarkable preservation of over 2000 monuments.”
Covering the Mesolithic Period, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the early Christian period, the Viking and Medieval period and from the 1600’s to modern times, the Dingle Peninsula is a historical and cultural paradise. If this is your interest, we strongly recommend you to take a fabulous trip with Tim and Michael Collins. Contact details below:
Sciuird Archaeological Tours [email protected] +353 (0)66 9151606
Corca Dhuibhne Heritage Trail.
Covering the An Diseart, The Blasket Centre and Museaem Corca Dhuibhne
Museum Corca Dhuibhne: [email protected] +353 (0)66 9156333.
The museum is situated in Ballyferriter, 8 miles west of Dingle on the Slea Head drive. The museum contains exhibitions, interpreting many aspects of the rich archaeological resource of the peninsula, and also of the exciting historical events and personages that have coloured the area’s past. Aspects of the natural heritage are also covered. The exhibition covers the Geology of the area, a selection of locally-found Seashells, Prehistory (from Mesolithic to Iron Age), the Early Christian period, and the Medieval Period and Modern times.
Blasket Centre: [email protected] +353 (0)66 915644.
The Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dún Chaoin, on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is a fascinating heritage centre/museum, honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953. The Blasket Centre tells the story of Island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing and entertainment.
The Centre details the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind- classics such as ‘The Islandman’, ‘Twenty Years A-Growing’ and ‘Peig’. Their story is told using a variety of means – exhibitions, interactive displays, artefacts, audio visual presentations and artworks.
An Diseart: www.diseart.ie +353 (0)66 9152476
Visit the Harry Clarke Windows at Díseart
Over the past few years, Díseart have been delighted to open this beautiful chapel and its very special set of six two-light stained glass windows to the public. With plans to develop the building and its facilities further, it is expected that this “national treasure” will become a popular attraction for all visitors to Dingle and West Kerry.
Gaeltacht is the Irish language word for an Irish/Gaelic speaking region. The Gaeltacht areas are small rural pockets of Ireland where the Irish language (Gaeilge) is the first language of those that live here and is widely used.
Many of the Gaeltacht regions are located on the western seaboard of Ireland where Irish culture and traditions are kept very strong. Our local Gaeltacht region is called Corca Dhuibhne and covers the majority of the Ding le Peninsula.
|Gaeilge||English||How to pronounce it|
|Dia Dhuit||Good Day||Deea gwich|
|Conas atá tú?||How are you?||Co-ness a taw too|
|Tá mé go maith||I am well||Taw may guh mah|
|Ceart go leor||Alright||Kart guh lore|
|Cad is ainm duit?||What’s your name?||Cod iss annim dit?|
|____ is ainm dom||My name is ____||____ iss annim dum|
|Le do Thoil||Please||Le doh hull|
|Caife le do thoil||Coffee please||Coffey le doh hull|
|Go raibh maith agat||Thank you||Coffey le doh hull|
|Tóg go bog é||Take it easy||Togue guh bug aye|
|La brea ata ann||It’s a lovely day||Law bra a taw awn|
|Oiche Mhaith||Good night||E Ha Mha|
|Go néirí an bóthar leat||Best of luck||Guh nyri un bohar lat|
|Slán Leat||Good bye||Slawn lat|