The infamous Instagram pictures of the sheep making their way up this meandering pier are recognised across the Emerald Isle. Here is everything you need to know about Dunquin Pier.
Dunquin Pier, known locally as Dún Chaoin, is a famous stop on the spectacular Slea Head Drive. Nestled on the most westerly point of the Dingle Peninsula, this pier is an essential part of any road trip along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
Located in the quaint Kerry village of Dunquin, this pier is part of Ireland’s most westerly settlement. This is an Irish speaking Gaeltacht village that prides itself on its rich culture and heritage.
Photos of this iconic location have been used on calendars, brochures, and postcards. These mesmerising photos cause hundreds of people to make the journey to this isolated, yet beautiful location every year. Dunquin Pier is just one of the many reasons why people flock to the area.
When to visit – for spectacular views
The pier is not restricted by opening hours; however, it is always preferable to visit Dunquin Pier when there is lots of visibility. Good visibility ensures that you will get to enjoy all the magnificent sights from the pier, and will be able to admire the pier from a distance as well.
The summer months are the height of the tourism season in County Kerry; therefore, they are usually the busiest times for visitors to the area. During the summer months, local amenities and facilities will have longer opening hours than those held during the quieter season, making your trip to Dunquin all the more enjoyable.
If you have the time, we suggest heading here for the sunset. This is unfortunately widely overlooked by visitors to the area.
As this is the most westerly point in Ireland, the views of the setting sun over the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean are truly magical. Combine this with the incredible location, and you will be the envy of everyone.
What to see – experience the magic
There are so many ways to enjoy the views of this narrow and winding pier, so we suggest taking the time to explore it from various angles. Dunquin Pier is situated in a quiet and secluded bay that is surrounded by rugged cliffs. The location in itself is one worth staring at for some time.
To capture the best view of this jaw-dropping pier, we suggest heading to the edge of the cliff nestled directly behind their pier. From here, you will be treated to the magical view of the meandering pier that is set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
Be aware that the cliff’s edge is not fenced, nor is it extremely stable, so caution is needed.
From the clifftops above, you will notice the dark islands in the distance – the beautiful Blasket Islands. They lie about 6 km (3.7 mi) from the mainland and are uninhabited. The pier acts as the departure point to these stunning islands during the summer months.
Keep your eyes peeled for boats coming into the pier that are transporting sheep. Dunquin Pier is often referred to as Ireland’s Sheep Highway because of how the pier looks as sheep are herded up it. This is a rare occurrence, so if you happen to be there for this, then you should count yourself to be extremely lucky.
Things to know – important things to note
This pier was only built with pedestrians in mind, so no matter how tempting it is, we urge you not to attempt driving down it. Some unfortunate visitors had to be rescued in the past as they got stuck going down this narrow pathway.
The best place to park is at the Blasket Ferry and Blasket Centre. From here, it is just a short stroll down to the pier. However, you should be aware that the road is extremely steep, and some people find it difficult to climb back up.
Address: Ballyickeen Commons, Dunquin, Co. Kerry
Directions – how to get there
Dunquin Pier is mostly commonly accessed by those with a car if you’re exploring the Ring of Kerry.
Be sure to drive the Slea Head Drive in a clockwise direction; this is the most common direction that people on this road drive, meaning you won’t have to navigate any oncoming traffic on these narrow roads. Driving clockwise also means that you get to experience the best views of the area.
As you drive along the road, keep your eyes peeled for signs that indicate ferries to the Blasket Islands. Follow these signs, as they will lead you to the visitor centre for ample parking.