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Conor Pass: A Strong Contender For The Scariest Road To Drive On In Ireland

Conor Pass: A Strong Contender For The Scariest Road To Drive On In Ireland

Ah, Conor Pass. A stretch of road that many nervous drivers try to avoid.

Why would they do that?! Well, for some nervous drivers, spinning along the bendy road at Conor Pass in Dingle can be like something whipped from a nightmare.

If you’ve never seen it before, Conor Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland and the road here becomes very narrow and bendy at a certain point.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Conor Pass in Dingle, from where to grab a mighty view to a couple of safety notices.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Conor Pass

conor pass dingle

Photo by MNStudio/shutterstock.com

Before we dive into this, I just want to clarify something – although I refer to Conor Pass as ‘Crazy’ or a ‘little bit mental’, it’s still one of my favourite places to visit in Kerry.

It’s roads like this that make Ireland an absolute joy to explore. It’s unique, the scenery that surrounds it is sensational and it’s an experience and a half.

1. Location

You’ll find Conor Pass a short, 8-minute or so drive from Dingle Town in County Kerry. The Pass sits between Dingle on the south and Kilmore Cross on the North. 

2. Length

The ‘main’ section (i.e. the narrow stretch of road you see above) only takes 40 seconds or so to pass through on a quiet day. However, if there’s traffic, it can take a good bit longer.

3. Inexperienced drivers

Conor Pass can terrify inexperienced drives as, it’s pretty damn narrow and there isn’t much room to maneuver if you meet another vehicle. If you’re a nervous driver, don’t worry – just take the road slowly and pull in if you see another vehicle approaching in the distance.

4. “Is it dangerous”

No. Conor Pass is not dangerous. I know a number of people who travel from the town of Brandon to Dingle every day to work, and I’ve often heard them say that they’ve never seen an accident at Conor Pass.

5. You don’t have to drive it to admire it

If you’d like to see Conor Pass but you don’t fancy driving it, you can pull in at a little viewing point on the Dingle side before reaching the pass itself. More info on this below.

About the mighty Conor Pass in Dingle

conor pass in dingle

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Now, if you’re not familiar with it, Conor Pass runs from the buzzy town of Dingle out towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory. 

It’s one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, standing at an impressive 410m above sea level. 

The tight, narrow road here snakes along the mountain and weaves its way along a sharp cliff face on one side and an enormous drop to the other.

Those that visit can expect spectacular mountain views, gorgeous corrie lakes and a big, sharp cliff face on one side and a massive valley on the other.

Things to see at Conor Pass (and where to park and grab a view)

The map above shows the area around Conor Pass. There are several things to see/keep an eye out for here.

1. Parking at Conor Pass

The purple arrow in the map above shows the Conor Pass parking area on the Dingle side. There are plenty of spaces here so you’ll have no hassle getting one.

There are incredible views from here. The pink arrow is where you’ll find another, smaller pull-in area on the Brandon side. 

2. Where to get a fine view

If you walk down to where the yellow arrow is on the map above, you’ll be treated to a magnificent view out over the valley.

It’s from near here that you can watch the cars negotiate the narrow bends (be careful walking on the road).

3. Lough Doon and the ‘waterfall’

The blue arrow is where you’ll find a very small waterfall. It’s also from this point that you can get up to Lough Doon (aka Pedlar’s Lake).

You have to scramble up a very rocky path right above the pull in area to get to Lough Doon. You’ll get some great views of the valley from here along with the lake (be careful!).

Some tips for driving Conor Pass safely

conor pass dingle

Photo via Shutterstock

Although Conor Pass isn’t dangerous, bad driving is, so care is needed here to avoid creating dangerous situations.

1. Speed

You need to take your time when driving Conor Pass. Go slow and steady and expect the unexpected. The road here tends to be wet a lot of the time, so care is needed.

2. Dealing with oncoming traffic

It’ll be tempting to keep glancing out at the views as you drive Conor Pass, but proper care and attention is needed at all times.

Keep on the lookout for oncoming vehicles. If you see one approaching, pull into one of the little pull-in areas that are dotted along the pass.

3. Vehicle size (warning!)

Vehicles like campers, caravans trucks, tour buses and commercial coaches cannot drive Conor Pass, as it isn’t large enough. 

Hit play on the video below to see what it’s like to drive along Conor Pass

 

So, you can probably see why some drivers are a little bit wary about driving Conor Pass from the video above.

It can be tricky on a clear day, but it’s a different ball game altogether when there’s mist or fog reducing visibility.

Things to do near Conor Pass

One of the beauties of Conor Pass in Dingle is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Conor Pass (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Slea Head drive

Slea head road

Photo by Lukasz Pajor (Shutterstock)

The Slea Head drive is one of the most popular things to do on the Dingle Peninsula, and it’s a short drive from Conor Pass. 

Slea Head is home to Coumeenoole Beach, Dun Chaoin Pier, Gallarus Oratory the departure point for the Blasket Islands and much more.

2. Food and lively pubs in Dingle

Pax House terrace area

Photo used with the Permission of Pax House Dingle

Dingle Town is just down the road from Conor Pass. Here’s some guides to drop into:

FAQs about Conor Pass

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘is Conor Pass dangerous’ to what to do nearby.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Conor Pass dangerous?

No. Bad driving is, however. In the guide above, you’ll find tips to driving Conor Pass safely. 

How long does it take to drive Conor Pass?

The main bit of the pass (i.e. the narrow bit that you see in the photos above) takes around 40 seconds to drive without traffic.

Do you have to drive it to see it?

No. You can pull in at the parking area (see out map above) and soak up the views from there without actually driving Conor Pass itself.

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Beth Austin

Sunday 4th of April 2021

I never heard of Conor Pass. I was taking a solo trip of Ireland and it was my first time driving on the left side. I was driving to Dingle at night! I had no idea on what road I was driving. All I knew was that it was narrow, twisty, dark and had a waterfall come splashing down on me. It wasn’t till the morning when I researched this road, what I had endured in the dark. I was disappointed that I didn’t see the views during the day.

Brendan Glynn

Friday 20th of March 2020

I remember driving up it in a borrowed Morris Minor in 1970 on my 1st holiday with my now wife - we looked up and saw cars way up in the distance and said 'are we going up there' and we did - a great memory

David Stapleton

Tuesday 17th of March 2020

the road along the coast outside Glenbeigh towards cahirsiveen- now thats scary !

Rachel

Friday 13th of March 2020

We live local and as such drive this often. Lots of people keep their eyes on the scenery and not on the road.. and then of course on occasion.. you get the odd bus who decides to ignore all the extra warning signs and still attempt to tackle it..but it's a decide road as long as you treat it with the respect it deserves. Going up from Castlegregory has right of way as you just cant see much.. coming down you can see most if not all the road. Do not overtake.. even if someone has stopped... there are so many tight corners that often people are stopped to wait for traffic. Watch for falling sheep or rocks. But it is magnificent and on a good day you can see as far North as Co Clare and as far south as Valentia and Skelligs.

Friedhelm Weckbach

Saturday 15th of February 2020

Cince the Slea Head Drive is open for Busses, Conar Pass is my favourit way to Dingle. There are few drives like this left in Ireland.

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