Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way stretches to 2500 kilometres. Impressive coastal cliffs, lush green landscapes, deep blue or turquoise bays. Pretty peninsulas to drive around. Like Dingle Peninsula that’s just north of the famous Ring of Kerry. Less famous, but just as beautiful.
Dingle Peninsula is just the right size for a full day scenic drive. Whether you like coastal hikes, walking on long, sandy beaches or exploring colorful seaside villages, Dingle Peninsula won’t disappoint. We especially liked how remote and unspoilt it feels, and we were amazed by the dramatic cliffs and views at the end of the peninsula.
Since our accommodation was in Killarney, we started the drive from there. Our first stop was Inch Beach, then we drove towards Dingle. After a short detour to Eask Tower, we did the Slea Head Drive. It’s a small circle around the end of the peninsula that starts and ends in Dingle.
We drove back to Killarney through Connor Pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland. You can see our full route on a map here:
Our favorite stops on Dingle Peninsula
Inch Beach is a long, sandy, misty beach that we liked very much. It’s one of those places where we didn’t do anything special, we just walked, holding hands, talking or listening to the waves. It caressed our souls.
On the other hand, if you want to do something more active at Inch Beach, you totally can: it’s a surfing beach, as well. And a popular stargazing spot.
Similarly to the Ring of Kerry, the end of the peninsula offered the best views. The circular scenic route called Slea Head Drive led us to spectacular viewpoints, like Slea Head, Dunmore Head or Clogher Head.
There were less and more distant ocean views on our way back through Connor Pass. We got countless lake views and mountain scenery instead. The narrow, twisting road was challenging though.
We did two short hikes during our drive around Dingle Peninsula, and both rewarded us with stunning coastal views. The first one, our hike to the viewpoint at Eask Tower took about 45 minutes. It offered views of Dingle, the lush green coastline and the Skellig Islands in the distance. There’s a small entrance fee to this trail since it crosses private land. The owners were very kind and helpful, they even provided short brochures about the history of this ruined tower.
Our second hike was at Dunmore Head. It’s the westernmost point of Ireland, and also a filming location of the recent Star Wars movies. The scenery, the large, dark coastal cliffs are breathtaking! And what do you think you can expect when hiking to a westernmost point on the ocean coast? Wind. Strong wind. Just to give you a true Irish experience.
Where we stayed
We stayed in Killarney International Hostel while we explored Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. Killarney turned out to be a great base, and this hostel exceeded our expectations. It was an old manor house once, located in the middle of a huge park. The building is renovated today, it offers several private rooms to couples and families, as well. We also liked its large and well-equipped common kitchen. And the peaceful, historical atmosphere of the place.
Do you like coastal drives? Do you have any favorite one?
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