What time would you recommend us leaving Dingle town to drive Slea Head Drive to beat the tour buses? I've heard it's not much fun being stuck behind one (or 2)! And typically how long does that drive take - assuming we'll stop a the usual places for short times? What's the average?
We stayed at a B&B at the beginning of Slea Head Drive (Milestone House) and I left right after breakfast. Probably around 9:00ish. I was back at the B&B by early afternoon. I might have taken a bit longer, but I had left my hubby at the B&B nursing a Guinness hangover. I did make a number of stops, including at the museum. I didn't experience any tour buses, but I did get stuck behind some bicycles.
Greetings from Dingle!
Anytime before say 10 am is always best to go and see Slea Head. The hordes of tours buses beginning arriving on the drive around 11ish. I can watch them drive by in convoy from the comfort of my B&B! :)
But it's not that big of a deal if you have to leave later. It's not as bad as the Ring of Kerry and there's plenty of options or overtake or pull in. And you'll be stopping every 5 minutes for photos and wow moments anyway!
I tell my guests to average 2.5 hours on Slea Head. But I have guided it in an hour with family members , guests and friends who need an express version... and on our rick steves tours we go out at 10am and back in Dingle around 3 after having an in depth look at the scenery, culture and history.
Le meas/with respect
Rick Steves Ireland tour-guide
Dingle, Derry & Dublin
Thank you both for the info. We leave in 37 days!
We left out B&B around 9:15 and had complete open road and this was in July! Beautiful drive. So glad we did it!
We left Milestone House a little later than Andrea, close to 11 or so, and I don't remember tour buses being an issue, though it was late September so traffic was probably much lighter than in summer. We spent most of the afternoon, til about 4:00, doing the drive. We stopped at the stone cottages, the beehive huts, the Great Blasket Center and Gallarus Oratory. We also stopped at a little cafe and sat on the patio with coffee and scones admiring the view. It was a lovely day and well worth taking your time with!
Thanks PJ and Sharon. I have another question.... Where did you stop for lunch/coffee? Any other suggestions?
We drove it on our way to Galway and stopped at Bunratty Castle and Folk park. That is where we had our lunch. There are tons of little pubs that you could stop at along the way. We had so much fun during our trip just hitting local pubs and meeting some locals. The Irish are the friendliest people you will ever meet!
Sharon... are you sure we talking about the same thing? I didn't think Slea Head was on the way to Galway.
We stopped for coffee and a snack at Ceann Sleith (at least that's what I have in my notes--everything in this area is in Gaelic so who knows if that was the actual name of the establishment? ). I'm sorry but I don't remember the exact location but it was after the beehive huts and before Gallarus Oratory. We were traveling clockwise around the peninsula and the shop was on the right side of the road--I think that it overlooked what is referred to as the "Ryan's Daughter" beach, but again, I'm not 100% certain. It was a combination gift and coffee shop. I don't remember if there were sandwiches available, but the scones were delicious (with clotted cream--lovely)! This was back in 2012 though so no guarantees that it is still there.
I stopped for afternoon tea at Tig Aine, at the recommendation of Barbara at Milestone House, and had a lovely break. This was in 2007, though, so YMMV.
If you decide to drive as far as the Blasket Island Centre on your Dingle Peninsula tour they have a cafeteria at the Centre. At least they did in 2013. I believe they offered lunch choices and tea and scones.
@dofandude1.... sorry, had my dos mixed up! We stopped for lunch at the Blasket Island visitor centre when driving the Slea head.
We were on the road by 9 ish and it was perfect. We didn't have any issues and saw very few buses. It took us about 3.5 hours for the drive, which included a stop at a cute little cafe just past the Blasket Centre, for lunch. We just loved the drive and seeing the " wild Atlantic way".