Slea Head Drive

Slea Head Drive, one of Ireland's best coastal routes

Slea Head Drive is a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, in County Kerry, Ireland, with a length of  30 miles (47 km). The road, officially called R559, shows a large number of attractions and stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. The route is clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length. To properly enjoy the Drive, a half-day should be set aside for the journey. It's one of the best coastal drives in the world.

Is Slea Head Drive dangerous?

Don’t forget your camera! Very twist and turn of this extraordinary route presents breathtaking views and stunning vistas, causing it to be one of Ireland’s favourite and most photohraphed attractions. And for good reason too. Slea Head Drive has been etched out of the steep hillside, following every contour of the coastline. It is narrow, and winding, and precarious, and undoubtedly a little frightening in places. The roads are narrow and windy. So drive with caution. The road narrows appreciably and uncovers amazing views over the Atlantic, the nearby Blasket Islands and the rugged coast covered with luscious green.

This road is very exciting. Travellers usually travel clockwise in order to avoid the large tour buses that frequent the route during the summer. The route is suitable for motorists, but is also enjoyed by cyclists: it is possible to hire a bike at a number of locations in Dingle. This is a rugged desolate country, bejeweled here and there with wonderful coves, beaches, and even a fascinating religious shrine. And just offshore are enigmatic silhouettes of the Blasket Islands, the islands where time stood still. Slea Head is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss the Blasket Islands and Dunquin if you are travelling north, and Ventry and Dingle, if you are travelling south. 

How long is Slea Head Drive?

The entire drive is 30 miles (47 km) long. Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth”, the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with a plethora of green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges. The warm Gulf Stream reaches the peninsula, giving has a wonderful mixture of sometimes rare and unusual flora and fauna. Expect the drive to take three or more hours, depending on how many places you stop to visit along the way.



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