The Famine Cottages were built in the mid-nineteenth century and originally housed the Long and then the Kavanagh family in Fán, Ventry County Kerry. The cottages were located on the lands of the Earl of Cork who was a landlord of some of the lands in the area. The family lived in this house during one of the worst famines to strike Western Europe – The Great Irish Famine. Due to its remoteness and poverty, West Kerry was one of the regions that suffered greatly during the Great Famine.
Now located in the Slea Head famine cottages are working sheepdog performances. Visitors can view a local sheep farmer skilfully working his sheepdogs in gathering and controlling sheep movement.
The Famine Cottages and Sheep Dog Trials are adjacent to the Dun Beag Fort Visitor Centre.
Just a few minutes past Dunbeg Fort and the Famine cottages it is possible to visit a small collection of beehive huts, similar to those found on Skellig Michael. The Fahan Beehive huts is a collection of 19 souterrain and 18 beehive huts (known as standing clochans).
The huts are a short walk up the hill from the parking lot along the Slea Head Drive and are worth taking the time to visit. The views from the huts are spectacular.
One of the most fun and heartwarming things to do in Dingle is located on the Slea Head Drive. Visitors can hold and pet baby lambs. Everyone, from kids to adults, will enjoy this one and it’s worth a quick stop.
The farm is located just across from the next pull-in after the beehive huts at a viewpoint known as ‘Ceann Sleibhe’. There are also some beehive huts at this stop if you don’t have time for the previous ones.
Just a short distance along the coast road from Dún Beag Fort is the cross at Slea Head. This viewpoint offers some of the most impressive views of the Blasket Islands.
The Blasket Islands are a group of uninhabited islands just off the coast of the Slea Head Drive. The Blasket Islands are accessible only by local ferry from Dunquin Pier.
Head out on this 9.2-km loop trail near Dún Chaoin, County Kerry. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 52 min to complete. This trail is great for birding, hiking, and trail running, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. You can park at the Dún Beag Fort Visitor Centre and within 300m is the access to this walk way. Afterwards, enjoy a well-deserved meal on return at the Stonehouse Restaurant.
Dunquin Pier is, without doubt, our favourite place on the Slea Head Drive. This beautiful pier provides ferry access to the Blasket Islands and is famous for the winding path that leads down to the pier.
There is a small parking lot on the ocean side of the road at Dunquin Pier where all visitors should park. From here it is a short walk down to the pier. The best view of the pier is from the grassy cliff located directly above the pier and to the left of the access road to the pier.
It is possible to visit the beautiful Blasket Islands that are visible for most of the Slea Head Drive. There are daily ferry crossings from Dunquin Pier to Great Blasket Island from April through September. There are only two ferries which allow visitors to walk around the island itself. Visiting Great Blasket island is like stepping back in time and visitors will feel truly serene out here!
Ventry is a very popular tourist destination due to the beautiful blue flag beach that curves along the coast from the Village. Ventry Beach, also called Ceann Trá Beach, is a really popular beach and can geadt very busy at peak times.
One of the popular things to do in Ventry is a horse ride along the beach. It’s a bucket list activity for lots of visitors to Ireland and Ventry Beach is one of the most beautiful places do experience it! Longs Riding Centre offers treks to all levels of experience, with their beach and mountain ride being one of the most popular. Horse treks can include a beach ride or a mountain trek.
While many people won’t have the time to visit the Blasket Islands it is still possible to visit the Great Blasket Centre. The centre is located a short drive along the Slea Head Drive loop from Dunquin Pier.
The Blasket Islands hold a rich heritage in Ireland as it was once home to many families. Sadly the island was abandoned in 1953 after a sharp decline in its population. The Blasket Centre is a perfect stop for anyone interested in learning about the experience of people who lived there and their culture and customs. One of Ireland’s most famous storytellers, Peig Sayers, spent most of her life on Great Blasket Island and vividly documented island life in her eponymous book, ‘Peig’.
This small beach is visible from Clogher Head and is a perfect spot for a swim to cool off on hot summer days. The views from here are spectacular and has some of the best views of Inishtooskert Island or “Dead Mans” island. Known in Gaelic as “An Fear Marbh” it only takes one looks at Inishtooskert island to see why it’s called the dead man and the sleeping giant.