In most places, if it was grey and rainy, I would be less than impressed. But somehow Ireland gets away with dodgy weather. It’s almost a requirement that it’s cloudy in Ireland, and the landscape still looks beautiful and poetic.
For the Slea Head drive, however, the sunshine decided to make a brief appearance.
The Dingle Peninsula in the South West of Ireland is beautiful and the Slea Head Drive is an incredibly scenic route. Our Paddywagon tour bus drove along the Irish coastline past green fields full of sheep, deserted sandy beaches and staggering cliffs.
Here’s what made the Dingle Peninsula drive so great:
The Blasket Islands
The Blasket Islands, known as Next Parish America, were inhabited until the 1950s, when the people living there were evacuated to the mainland. Most former residents now live either in Springfield Massachusetts, or on the Dingle Peninsula.
The Sleeping Giant
The northernmost Blasket Island is Inishtooskert (try and pronounce that one!) als known as “The Dead Man” or “The Sleeping Giant”. It gets its nickname because it looks exactly like a giant lying on his back.
The Old Lady from Far and Away
We all know I like my movies, and the highlight of the day for me was visiting this elderly lady who was an extra in the movie Far and Away, starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. It’s one of my favourite movies of all time and it was shot in this area!
Tom Cruise used to visit her house between filming and drink tea, and she has a wonderful black and white photo with the man himself. The lady kindly let our Paddywagon tour group into her home and showed us a photo album full of pictures from the filming of the movie.
The Beehive Huts on the Dingle Peninsula, known as Clochans, could have been around since the Bronze Age according to archaeologists. The huts get their name because they are shaped just like beehives, although they are actually made of stone and communities of people used to live in them. We walked up a hill to see these huts and take a look inside- they are very small so it just shows how much shorter people were back in those days!
Coming into spring, there were also lots of adorable lambs bouncing around the fields too.
Slea Head is the most westernmost point of the Dingle Peninsula and offers great views of the Blasket Islands. We hit Coumeenole Beach where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed and two of our tour members braved the chilly Atlantic ocean to take a swim! We also had a bit of fun writing messages in the sand before hopping back on the bus for Dingle Town.