EuropeIrelandRoads

Slea Head Drive, a scenic circular route.

Slea Head Drive
Slea Head Drive

The Slea Head Drive is a circular road in Dingle Peninsula that is situated in the Kerry Region in Ireland. The road and the area are known for their scenic landscapes. This road is often on the list as one the most beautiful in Ireland.

Slea Head Drive is indeed a tourist route that takes you through the Dingle Peninsula. Very famous among tourists, this loop allows you to meander along the Irish coast, in order to admire the cliffs, the reefs, or its white-sand beaches.

Where is the Slea Head Drive?

The Slea Head Drive (or Slí Cheann Sléibhe in Irish) road is located in Kerry County in the southwest of Ireland.

More generally, you can add this route to the Gap of Dunloe if you are looking for a road trip in Ireland.

Slea Head drive is very well known because photogenic spots are listed there every 10km but also some locations from the filming of Star Wars “The Last Jedi”

You can situate the road on the map below:


Enlarge the map

Some details about the road

This is a 50 kilometers (31 miles) circular itinerary in the Dingle area. The road starts in Dingle, then follows the coast and the peninsula.

The loop can be done in 1 hour without stopping but with the photo breaks, we advise you to take a minimum of half a day to do it.

It is a 2 lines asphalted road in good condition. However, you have to be careful of the road, which can sometimes be narrow, and full of holes.

The Dingle Peninsula has been cited by National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place in the world”. This place has a lot of green landscapes, rocky hills, cliffs, and long sandy beaches.

Slea Head Route

Travelers are strongly recommended to travel clockwise to avoid following the tourist buses that use the route during peak season. The loop is suitable for cars but is also enjoyed by motorcycles or cyclists. It is also possible to rent bicycles in Dingle.

Things to see on the Slea Head Drive:

The Slea Head Drive starts in the town of Dingle, in which we advise you to stop for a stroll: the colors of the houses and pubs are very pretty.
It is also in the port of this city that you can find boats that take you out to sea to see dolphins.

Here is a list of photogenic points you can find on the road:

  • Dunbeg Fort: Built on the edge of the cliff, this prehistoric Bronze Age fort is one of Ireland’s finest ruins.
  •  Beehive Huts: Dating back to the Bronze Age, these small stone huts were used as dwellings by ancient peoples and were built for thousands of years across all of Ireland and Scotland.
  • Gallarus Oratory: The 1200-year-old Gallarus Oratory is a stone building that was used for prayer at the time. Here we find all the prowess of ancient peoples to build, by hand, buildings that still stand today:
Gallarus Oratory

  • Blasket Islands: The Blasket Islands are small islands that were inhabited for a time and then evacuated. In high season a boat allows you to cross from Dunquin. Once there, you will have the right to an incredible view of the surroundings and in absolute calm.
  • Sleeping Giant: It is a small island that is part of the Blasket Islands. Its name comes from its shape, which looks a lot like a giant asleep on its back in the ocean.
  • The three Sisters: These are three peaks located in the open sea, which you can see on the western end of the peninsula. There are many legends told about the Three Sisters, don’t hesitate to ask the locals to tell them to you.

Another scenic road trip idea in Ireland is the Causeway Coastal Route road trip in Northern Ireland.

How to get to Slea Head Drive?

If you are coming from Tralee, take the N86 road until you reach the town of Dingle. Then, you have to follow the road signs of Slea Head Drive. The road is marked as road R559 and then R549.

A preview of the drive:

If you want to have a preview of this scenic road, you can watch this youtube video of the drive:

Is the Slea Head Drive open?

It is a public road which is open all year around.

However, the road is very tight and it’s not recommended to drive there during the day on weekends or during high season. There will be a lot of traffic such as buses full of tourists, cyclists, hikers, or even ships!

During the high season, we advise you to drive clockwise in order to avoid being stuck in traffic jams caused by touristic buses.

Don’t forget to drive left on the road!

Inscribed in the route of the famous Wild Atlantic Way, the Slea Head Drive will make you discover the most beautiful treasures of the Dingle Peninsula, a fascinating place that will show you all the beauty of Ireland: reefs, beaches, cliffs, mountains, villages, and many others. The drive is fabulous and if you come during the low season you will be on an empty scenic road.

Pictures credits: Photo by Matthias Hundeloh on Unsplash /  N Chadwick from geograph.ie / By Ingo Mehling – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13293812


Discover other roads in Ireland: click here or see our interactive road trip map!