Day 11 (Kerry) – Beaches, the Slea Head Drive and some of the best pubs in Ireland
Day 11 is a little bit more relaxed than day 10.
We’re going to make our way from Cahersiveen up along the coast towards Dingle (with several stop-offs on the way), before tipping on to conquer the Slea Head Drive.
Get a bit of a lie in and get on the road for 10:00.
1 – The long aul drive to Dingle
// Cahersiveen to Dingle – 1 hour and 30-minute drive (aim to arrive for 13:00 with stops) //
We’ve a decent drive to get us to Dingle, but we’ll be breaking it up with a couple of stops.
Stop 1: Rossbeigh Beach
Our first stop, Rossbeigh Strand, is around a 30-minute drive from Cahersiveen, so you’ll escape the car before cabin fever starts to sink in.
If you fancy doing a hike that’ll treat you to a spectacular view out over Rossbeigh, check out our 48 hours in Kerry guide.
Stop 2: Coffee and a stroll on Inch Beach
// Rossbeigh to Inch – 51-minute drive //
Our next stop takes us to Inch Beach.
We’re going to hop out here and grab a cup of coffee while the waves crash away in the distance.
If you visit here at lunch time, get the burger – it’s one of the best that I’ve eaten in years!
2 – The Slea Head Drive
// This Drive takes roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes – we’re going to allow for 5 hours. Start the drive at 14:00) //
Resist the temptation to stop in Dingle – there’s plenty of time to check it out later in the evening.
We’re going to kick off The Slea Head Drive while the day is still young.
The Slea Head Drive is a circular route that starts and finishes in Dingle.
My only piece of advice for this drive is to stop and wander wherever and whenever the feeling takes you.
The best part of this chunk of our Ireland road trip isn’t the many different ‘official’ stop off points. it’s the constant, ever-changing landscape that engulfs them.
Slea Head Stop 1: Coumeenoole Beach
Our first stop is at Coumeenoole Beach, a place that fans of the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ may recognise, as it was one of the locations used in the film.
This is a fantastic little beach that’s surrounded by jagged cliffs and spectacular coastal scenery.
Park the car, explore the area and let the wild Atlantic air gush over you.
A place where cobwebs will be banished.
Slea Head Stop 2: Dunmore Head
You’ll find the lookout point for Dunmore Head a short distance from Coumeenoole Beach, so keep an eye out for it.
When you step out of your car and gaze out, expect to be greeted by the crash of waves combined with a powerful, salty breeze.
Slea Head Stop 3: Dun Chaoin Pier
Dun Chaoin Pier is the wonderfully unique departure point for the Blasket Island Ferry, and you’ll find it at the northern end of a small secluded bay enveloped by rocky cliffs.
When gawked at from above, the narrow, winding road that leads up to the pier can only be described as a charming little slice of architectural madness.
Slea Head Stop 4: the stop that isn’t a stop
In many of our Irish road trip guides where Slea Head features, I try to emphasise that you need to just take your time and enjoy the scenery that envelopes you from start to finish.
Don’t rush it.
Here are some other things you can do along the drive, if you’d like a bit more guidance.
- Beehive Huts
- The Upside-Down-Bridge
- Gallarus Oratory
- Kilmalkedar Church
- Great Blasket Centre
- Reasc Monastic Site
- Dunbeg Fort
3 – Dingle for food and pints
// The Slea Head Loop will get you back to Dingle for around 19:00. //
It’s been a long aul day. So it’s time to eat, drink and be merry, and what better place to do all 3 than Dingle.
Where to eat in Dingle
Here’s a handful of suggestions:
- Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant
- Out of the Blue
- The Boatyard
- Sheehy’s Anchor Down Restaurant
- Paul Geaney’s
Central places to stay in Dingle
€50 to €100
€100 to €150
Once you’ve checked into your accommodation, dropped off your bags and had a bite to eat, it’s time to sample some of the local pubs.
My two favourites in Dingle are Dick Mack’s and Foxy John’s, but there are plenty to choose from.
Monday 13th of March 2023
Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you
Thursday 9th of March 2023
the link to the mailing list sign up isnt working...can I have you send me the document by email? it sounds amazing through quick page hopping! thought this morning that we might go this late Sept/early October for 3ish weeks.
Monday 6th of March 2023
Hi Keith, we’re looking at visiting Ireland September 2023, for four weeks, coming from Canada. Thankfully I found your guide, it is fantastic, you put in a great deal of work organizing this. Thank you. I have a couple tours books to cipher through as well, but it is painstaking slow. I need to get an itinerary put together fast, I see accommodations are filling up quickly for September. One question I have is, is it possible or wise to do your road trip in reverse? We’re not used to driving on the left side, haha, will it be safer doing the trip in reverse?
Saturday 18th of February 2023
Do you have a PDF of the whole list that we could buy/download with links? We were planning to do the reverse of this in October 2023 (34 days)---but, rethinking after seeing yours!
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
This itinerary will be the basis of our upcoming trip this year. We prefer to base ourselves in a place for maybe a week and explore the surrounding areas. We will be picking up a car in Belfast on 26 May and have it for almost 6 weeks. We are unsure of our direction of travel, but leaning towards anti-clockwise. Excluding Dublin, can you suggest 5 or 6 "bases" for exploration. Small towns with a bit of character ideally.
Keep up the good work.