Day #8 – Exploring Kerry 😮😮😮
Today we’re going to explore one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland.
Fuel up with breakfast in Pax and get ready for another eventful day.
Here’s everything you need to know about day 8!
- One of the most enjoyable driving routes in Ireland – the Slea Head Drive
- Fooooooooood and ice cream in Dingle
- The narrow road out of Kerry (not one for nervous drivers)
- The long road to Clare
- Rain gear
- Some snacks for the hike
Day 8 Stop #1 – The Slea Head Drive
This Drive takes roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes – we’re going to allow 4 hours. Start the drive at 9:00)
I’m excited for any of you that are doing this drive for the first time.
The Slea Head Drive is a circular route that begins and ends in Dingle. It takes in an abundance of attractions and fabulous views on the western end of the peninsula.
My only piece of advice for this drive is to stop and wander wherever and whenever the feeling takes you.
The best parts of this drive aren’t the stops, they’re the ever-changing landscape that engulfs it.
Slea Head Stop #1 – The magnificent Coumeenoole Beach
Our first stop is at Coumeenoole Beach, a place I’ve been to many times before.
This is a fantastic little beach that’s surrounded by jagged cliffs and spectacular coastal scenery.
For any fans of the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, you may recognise Coumeenoole Beach as it was one of the locations used in the film.
This place really is wild.
What you won’t get from the images above and below is the power of the wind that was gushing over me constantly, rocking me from side-to-side when I was taking the photos above and below.
Park the car and explore the area. The beach is to the left, down the little winding hill, and then to the right you have a path that, if you take it, will offer spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Slea Head Stop #2 – Admiring the view of Dunmore Head
You’ll find the lookout point for Dunmore Head a short distance from Coumeenoole Beach, so make sure you keep an eye out for it.
This is another one of those places that tends to rock you a little bit (the best places to visit in Ireland generally do).
When you step out of your car and gaze out, the sound of wind and wave combined with the view that you’ll be treated to is immensely special.
Spend time here. Who cares how long. Soak up the sights and sounds. Put down the phone and the camera and focusing on capturing this little chunk of bliss in your mind forever.
Slea Head Stop #3 – Dun Chaoin Pier
Dun Chaoin Pier is the 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.
You can take a stroll down the pier itself or admire the view from above (be careful – the cliff is unguarded).
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.
The quirky road combined with the gorgeous rocky peaks that jut out from the water in front of the pier make for a wonderfully unique scene on County Kerry’s dramatic coastline.
Slea Head Stop #4 – the stop that isn’t a stop
I tried to emphasise this earlier, but I really believe that you need to go with your gut on this drive.
Take your time and just enjoy the scenery that envelopes you from start to finish.
Here are some other things you can do along the drive, if you’d like a bit more guidance.
Day 8 Stop #2 – Dingle for Lunch and Ice Cream
The Slea Head Loop will get you back to Dingle for around 13:00 if you take 4 hours to drive it.
We’re going to fuel up in Dingle for a long afternoon and evening on the road.
Head to Ashe’s Bar for a bite to eat and then tip on over to Murphy’s Ice Cream for a bit of a #TreatYoSelf buzz.
The Caramelised Brown Bread and the Dingle Sea Salt are both ammmmmmmmmmmazing!
Day 8 Stop #3 – The absolutely mental road at Conor Pass
Dingle to Conor Pass – 8-minute drive (leave Dingle at 14:00, arrive for 14:08)
It’s rare that a road bothers me in any way.
I love the narrow country roads that you encounter across Ireland, and I’m never (normally) in any way apprehensive about driving along them.
Until I drove Conor Pass for the first time recently, that is.
Conor Pass runs from Dingle out towards Brandon Bay and Castlegregory, and is one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, standing a whopping 410 m above the sea level.
The tight, narrow road snakes alongside the mountain and weaves its way along sharp cliff faces on one side and an enormous drop to the other.
Driving the Conor Pass was one of my highlights from my last trip to Kerry.
Yes, had a semi oh-shit moment when I met a van coming towards me with no intention of stopping and I had to reverse back around the mountain on a road barely wider than the car, but it was amazing.
You can pull in at the side of the road before the pass and admire the views around you.
On a busy day, this’ll be a nervous drivers nightmare, but just take your time and drive carefully.
Day 8 Stop #4 – Taking the long road to Clare
Conor Pass to Kilbaha – 3-hour drive (leave at 14:25 and arrive for 17:25)
Our 4th stop of the day takes us out of Kerry, and on to the next coastal county that we’ll be diving into – Clare.
Our first stop is to Kilbaha to check out the cliffs at Loop Head Lighthouse.
I’ve visited here a handful of times in the past and am always blown away by the sheer lack of people that you meet.
Park the car at the lighthouse and walk along the grass to the right of the wall that surrounds it.
You’ll find a gorgeous sea stack and a wonderful view of the surrounding cliffs.
Warning: the cliffs are unguarded, so please be careful.
This is another place where you’ll feel the full force of Mother nature. The wind crashes against you from every angle and the thunder of the waves smashing against jagged cliff is like music to the ears.
Day 8 Stop #5 – Lahinch for the night
Kilbaha to Lahinch – 1 hour and 5-minute drive (leave at 18:10, arrive to Lahinch for 19:05)
That was a pretty long day, so we’re going to head to our base for the night and then out for food.
I’m going to recommend you stay at Castleview Golf Course B&B. Check-in and then take a stroll to Danny Mac’s for dinner.
Get an early night, tonight, as we’ve another busy day tomorrow (we’ll factor in a lie-in, of sorts, for the morning of day 10… promise)
Where the road trip will take us on day #9 (cliff walks, caves and Guinness stew)
It’s crazy to think we’re only on our 9th day.
We’ve stopped by what feels like a tonne of the best places to visit in Ireland, and still have only scratched the surface.
Move onto page 10 below to check it out!