Remnants of a stone structure near the ocean along Slea Head Drive. (Chloe Coleman/ The Washington Post)

Ireland, we decided: the west coast of Ireland. Offseason, when accommodations would be inexpensive. That’s how our party of three childhood friends found ourselves tooling along the Dingle Peninsula’s breathtaking Slea Head Drive on a (mostly) sunny day in February as the occasional squall came and went.

Our 10-day ad­ven­ture was minimally planned; choose the dates, buy the tickets, book a place to sleep in Dublin, rent a car and go. Each night, we would hover over our phones when we came across WiFi to debate our next destination.

Following a loosely sketched route along the country’s west coast, we traveled on easy highways until we got to Connemara, slowing as its country roads became narrow and winding. We headed to Clifden, then continued south, stopping in Galway and on to sightseeing at the Cliffs of Moher. After that, the roads became comically treacherous.

We spent two nights in Dingle. In the evenings, we had pints in local pubs and scribbled sightseeing suggestions from the other patrons on our coasters. Driving back to Dublin, we agreed that we need to see more of the west coast when we return to Ireland. It’s not a place you can only visit once.


In Clifden, the Lavelle Art Gallery — housed in a 200-year-old building that has remained in the Lavelle family for six generations — specializes in work by artists who live in the west of Ireland. (Chloe Coleman/ The Washington Post)

A rainbow spans the landscape along the Dingle Peninsula’s Slea Head Drive, a circular route beginning and ending in Dingle. (Chloe Coleman/ The Washington Post)

Near the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, visitors watch their footing on a precarious walkway. (Chloe Coleman/ The Washington Post)