A Guide To Dun Chaoin / Dunquin Pier In Dingle (Parking, Views + A Warning)

One for the next time you're in Kerry

dunquin pier dingle
Photos via Shutterstock

A visit to the mighty Dun Chaoin / Dunquin Pier is one of the most popular things to do in Dingle.

Located along the Slea Head Drive, Dunquin Harbour is well worth a visit and it’s a stone’s throw from loads of other things to see and do (more on this below).

When gawked at from above, the narrow, winding road that leads down towards the pier can only be described as a charming little slice of architectural madness.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about visiting Dunquin Pier this summer!

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Dun Chaoin / Dunquin Pier in Dingle

dun chaoin pier county kerry
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

So, although a visit to Dun Chaoin / Dunquin Pier in Dingle is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows.

In particular, please pay careful attention to point 3 about safety – the cliff edge here is unguarded and the ground is uneven, so proper care is needed.

1. Location

You’ll find Dunquin Harbour on the Dingle Peninsula just outside of the little village of Dun Chaoin. It’s part of the Slea Head drive (not to be confused with the Ring of Kerry) so there’s plenty to see and do close by.

2. Parking

You’ll find parking near the ticket booth where you buy tickets for the Blasket Islands. There’s no car park and space can be limited during the busy summer months (a visit here is one of the most popular things to do in Kerry).

3. Safety

To get the view in the photo above, you need to walk across some very spongy and uneven grass near the edge of the cliff – pllllllease be careful here. It get’s windy here and there’s a massive drop below – mind yourself and don’t get too close to the edge!

About Dunquin Harbour

You’ll find the little parish of Dun Chaoin finely placed at the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, not far from Dingle Town.

Dun Chaoin (pronounced ‘Dunquin’) translates to ‘Caon’s Stronghold’ and the village is a Gaeltacht (an Irish speaking area).

The famous pier

The village is arguably best-known for its very unique pier which serves as a departure point for the Blasket Island ferry.

Situated at the northern end of a secluded bay surrounded by craggy cliffs, Dun Chaoin Pier is as mesmerising in real life as it is in pictures.

Why it draws so many visitors

You could argue that many people who visit Dunquin Harbour do so without intending to ever board a ferry – it’s the appearance of the pier that draws the crowds.

The quirky road combined with the gorgeous rocky peaks that jut out from the water in front of the pier makes for a wonderfully unique scene on Kerry’s dramatic coastline.

What to do when you arrive at Dun Chaoin Pier in Kerry

 
dunquin pier kerry
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

When you arrive at the pier and hop out of the car/off the bike, it’s time to decide whether you fancy a bit of exercise of whether you want to admire the pier from above.

You can do both, of course, if you like, or you can take a ferry over to the Blaskets (more info on this here – you need to book in advance).

1. The walk down to the pier

The walk down to the pier (you stroll down the winding path seen above) is tough on the knees.

It’s even tougher on the quads as you make your way back up. From here, you’ve a perfect spot to stop off and just soak up the miles of raw beauty all around you.

2. The view from the cliffs

You’ll get the best view of Dun Chaoin Pier from the cliff directly above it. However – please be careful!

It’s a handy walk over from the car park but keep in mind that the edge is unmarked, unfenced and extremely dangerous. Don’t get too near and keep a close eye on kids.

Things to do near Dunquin Pier

One of the beauties of Dunquin Pier 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 fromDunquin (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Coumeenoole Beach (5 minutes away)

slea head drive dingle
Photo left: Adam Machowiak. Photo right: Irish Drone Photography (Shutterstock)

The beautiful Coumeenoole Beach is a short, 5-minute drive from Dunquin Pier. You can park right next to it and the views of the cliffs and the waves crashing below will knock you sideways.

2. Mannnny other Slea Head attractions

Slea head road
Photo by Lukasz Pajor (Shutterstock)

As you’ll discover in our Slea Head guide, Dunquin Pier is a stone’s throw from lots of places to visit, many of which don’t have a name (viewing points). Hop into this guide to find a map with everything closeby.

FAQs about visiting Dunquin Pier in Kerry

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Dunquin Harbour to what to see 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 there parking at Dun Chaoin Pier?

Yes, although there isn’t a car park – you have to park along the grassy banks near the ticket booth – NEVER drive down the pier itself.

What is there to see at Dunquin?

The view out over the pier itself is worth a visit alone – but don’t get too close to the edge, as it gets VERY windy here. You can also take the ferry from Dunquin Harbour to the Blaskets.

Is there much to see near Dunquin Pier?

Yes! Loads! If you hop into our Slea Head guide mentioned above, you’ll find endless things to see and do nearby.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

2 COMMENTS

  1. My husband and I and a friend had the greatest week exploring the Dingle peninsula. We were determined to find the Sheep’s Head Highway and drove down a road to the Blasket Visitors center. Along the way we stopped to ask two local road workers where it was and they said “never heard of it”. So then we said Dunquin pier and they said ” oh just down the next road”. When we told them it was a famous place as we walked away one of them said ” you learn something every day”. We laughed about that many times!!

  2. When I was there last October, I saw a gravestone up on the walk from the car park overlooking the Dunquin Pier. It was upside down facing the water. It read Jane Heather Bell 1960-2008. Do you have any information on this?

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