I swear, the Dingle Peninsula is Ireland’s best. kept. secret.
I mean it’s not exactly a secret, but it gets a lot less publicity for travelers than say, Dublin or Galway.
Substantially less foot traffic, the most scenic views, so many quaint little towns, and THE NICEST PEOPLE TO EVER EXIST are all things we found while in the Dingle Peninsula back in May.
But the ABSOLUTE GEM of the Dingle Peninsula is hands down the scenic drive that is the Slea Head Drive.
We spent a few days in Dingle during our week in Ireland, and our hosts in the bed and breakfast we stayed at said we MUST make the drive. So, on a particularly crisp but BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY morning, off we went!
Dingle SHOWING OFF on such a beautiful day!
My manz and our little whip for the week, ready to carry us through the drive!
The Slea Head Drive is a scenic loop right along the Dingle Peninsula. We knew it was going to be beautiful, but after driving down the road from our bed and breakfast for about 10 minutes, making yet another tight curve and praying we didn’t hit anyone……
We suddenly found ourselves oceanfront and taking in the most GORGEOUS scenery. And from that point, EVERY inch of the drive was just as astonishing.
There’s plenty of overlook spots to park at so you can get out the car and explore (and you’re going to want to do just that about every 7 minutes)
There’s so many historical sites and landmarks to be seen along the drive, some cost an admission of about 2 euros per person, and it’s totally worth it! We got to check out forts and stone homes built by early Irish people.
Further down the drive, more gorgeous cliffs & ocean. It was SUCH a windy day I have no idea how this little guy could balance!
The roads on the drive are not particularly roomy, but it wasn’t even a thang for our little tiny rental!
And then!!! AND. THEN. As if this entire drive isn’t amazing enough….
Right off the drive, behold, The Blasket Island Center. It’s a BEAUTIFUL museum right near the Blasket Island itself, which is slightly offshore. It’s a celebration of a group of Irish men and woman who inhabited the island. And it was SO. COOL.
In short, these people were hard core. They lived off of fish, livestock, and of course potatoes…and they actually survived the famine slightly easier than the mainlanders as it wasn’t as much of a mainstay in the Islander diet. Islanders from the mainland likely never saw their families again as it was extremely dangerous to travel by boat to the coast in early 20th century. And by 1953, the island was completely deserted and now serves as a beautiful historical landmark and spot for tourism. You can take a ferry out to the islands to explore and/or visit this impressive museum that pays wonderful homage to its people!
The museum also gives a beautiful view of Blasket Island right from its floor to ceiling windows!
Another gorgeous overlook, which I am told was also host to a few scenes from Star Wars and Game of Thrones!
Another incredible find on the drive: this gorgeous 12TH CENTURY church!
Ireland expectation: GREEN. EVERYWHERE. Ireland reality: GREEN. EVERYWHERE.
Biggest piece of advice? We were told that one can do the drive in an hour. Let me go ahead and tell you, this is absolutely unattainable if you’re taking it all in. We spent 4 hours on this drive!! There is SO much to see, learn, and do. We made it the main plan of our day so we could really enjoy ourselves and take in every. little. site. (Which we did!!!!) While the distance is short, it has SO much to offer! You absolutely do NOT want to rush through it! 🙂
If you’re in the Dingle area, this is a MUST see! The drive itself was one of my favorite memories from our trip. Who knew you could see SO much on just one highway?!
And then when you’ve finished the drive and you’re sufficiently FROZEN…it’s time to go hunt down some Irish Coffee 🙂