Dunshean Head/Dún Séanna
Location: Situated about 4 miles from Dingle, Co. Kerry. Sheet 70 (Kerry) Ordinance Survey 1:50,000 grid ref. V 478 986.
Approach: From Dingle town, take the N86 to Tralee for about 2-3 miles, until you see a signpost for the Dingle racecourse. Take this road, and about 1/2 mile down, take a left. Follow this to the end, where the road meets the beach. The back of the headland can be seen from here, but not the cliffs. Walk to the headland (about 15 mins). Once you have reached on the headland (the highest point), you'll need to drop to your left (east side of the cliffs). It's quite a sheer drop and it's not for the faint hearted. Finally abseil to the ledges below.
Description: Rock quality is excellent. Routes range from V. Diff to E4. Some routes seem vegetated but are actually very clean, e.g. Uncle Alister and Giraffe.
People on the top of 'ACS E1'(?) watching a climber on 'Giraffe VS'
Access: Access is reasonable. Groups of 6 or more should check with the farmer first. No camping on the headland or the beach.
Note: Apparently the farmer who owns the land running up to Dunshean head, one of the best climbing spots in Kerry, has complained recently about gates left open by walkers/climbers. Please make sure the gate is closed to ensure that access continues to be straightforward to the headland.
Routes are described Right to Left as you face the crag.
About 20m E of the rampline of Peter Pan there is a small alcove with an obvious rockfall scar. Three routes are recorded here, although only one is really worth doing.
Don't Bother J. Healy (solo) 10m Severe 03/2014 Climb the rockfall scar, exiting rightwards at the top to avoid loose rock. Added to the topo more as a warning than a recommendation!
Belaid J. Healy, K. Sloan 10m V. Diff 03/2014 Climb the corner to the left of the rockfall. Scrappy, best avoided.
EASTERN ARETE J. Healy, K. Sloan 13m HS 4c 03/2014 A worthwhile little route. Climb the left hand side of the arête that forms the left side of the alcove. Tricky to start
Ó BUN GO BARR 12m V. Diff R. Creagh (solo), 22/06/11 Start around the corner from Peter Pan. This route takes the obvious line of right facing flakes with a large ledge at half height.
CRONINS CORNER 14m S Ger Cronin, Daragh Fitzgerald 11/03/2014 Start right of Peter Pan, climb the slab to the quartz line and ledge, and straight up from here to the flat area on the top. Protection is poor.
Previously climbed by others. J Healy
PETER PAN 16m V.Diff P. Kelliher, T. Macken, 4.84 Climb the wide ramp that goes right side of the platform travelling diagonally left.
MONKEY NUTS 18m S Alan Dorgan, Roisín Burke 25/11/2010 (First recorded ascent) Start at base of crack half way between Peter Pan and Nutella. Follow this, and at about half way up tend left through the small "V" so as to finish as for Nutella. Small nuts useful.
NUTELLA 20m HS Tony Barry, Darine West 06/06/05 Start at base of Openers and follow small crack tending right to finish on good holds finishing 1m left and above of Peter Pan top
UNNAMED 20m HS 4b Daryl O' Toole Climb the line between Nutella and Openers to the top of the arrowhead (small wires) and continue to the top of the car sized pillar above.
OPENERS 19m MS M. Barry, T. Macken, 4.84 To the left side of the semi-circular rock platform and to the right of the overhanging chimney climb the crack on good holds to the top.
A BIRD NEVER FLEW ON ONE WING 22m HS 4b R. Creagh, M. Dillane, 24/07/2010 (First recorded ascent) Climb the groove right of Thievery, gained by starting up Thievery or Openers. A direct start was climbed on 12/09/10 (B. Hall, D. Dineen) taking an eliminate (but nice) line up the blank looking groove between the chimney and Openers. It goes at about HVS 5a.
THIEVERY 22m HS A. Devlin, P. Quinn, 4.84 Climb the overhanging chimney left of Openers. Good protection.
STRANGE MEETING 20m VS 4c E. Cooper, C. Torrans, 4.85 Climb the blunt arete right of Banana Split.
BANANA SPLIT 27m VS 4c T.Macken, M.Barry, 5.84 Start: The route is marked half way up by a V-shaped grove, its right hand side continues on to join the arête. Climb from directly below the V over a bulge to a small platform. Step out and climb the V, continuing right to join the arête.
PANACHE 22m HS M. Barry, P.Quinn, 4.84 Climb the corner 1m left of Banana Split to a large ledge. From here climb the overhang.
COCOMOTION 25m E1 5b F.A. Denis Tangney (SOLO) July '94 Climb arete and slab just right of "Deliverance" and left of "Panache". Excellent slab climb with poor protection.
DELIVERANCE 27m VS 4c M. Barry, A. Devlin, 4.84 Start: 2m left of Banana Split. Climb the left diagonal crack to beneath the overhang. Turn the overhang by traversing right around it. Continue upwards at the side of the overhang to the top.
HOT CHOCOLATE 27m E1 5b Dave Mc Bride, Denis Tangney, 2005 Start as for Deliverence.Instead of following diagonal crack of Deliverance take a straight line to the top.
GRAND LARCENY 30m HVS 5a T. Hacken, 1985 Climb the arête between Fada Amach and Deliverance.
FADA AMACH 33m E2 5c M. Barry, P. Quinn, 7.84 To the left of Deliverance on the main wall climb the corner that overhangs at three-quarters height (crux), continue, following the obvious line on good holds to the top.
Variation 33m 5a Escape right into Grand Larceny at the base of the overhang.
The wall left of Fada Amach gives the following extreme routes:
GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS 30m E4 6a/b F.A. Aidan forde, Denis Tangney Sept. '95 Start as for "Heartbeat City". Climb diagonally right to reach horizontal break under small roof. Climb up to overlap and continue past two bolts (crux). Finish up faint groove as for "Broad Street".
BROAD STREET 33m E4 6a E. Cooper, C. Torrans, M. Barry, 4.85 Start: Just left of a shallow rock pool under the main wall. Climb directly up to the horizontal break and traverse right until its possible to climb up to a short flaky crack (good runner placement). From the flake move up and left to the groove and poor protection (crux). Move left to a quartzy pocket and up the wall above moving slightly right to finish a deceptive groove.
HEARTBEAT CITY 30m E3 5c Denis Tangney, Tony Macken May '95 Start 3M left of "Broad Street". Climb straight up to horizontal break (poor protection). Climb over bulging flake and straight up yellow lichen wall to good holds. Traverse right to obvious shallow corner and straight up to finish.
ECHO BEACH 33m E2 5b E. Cooper, C. Torrans, 4.85 Enjoyable climbing, though not overly protected! Start: Below the obvious bulge about 20ft up the wall. Climb the wall trending slightly leftward to the bulge which is climbed on its left side. Move right and up (poorly protected), and continue easily up a slanting groove above.
FLASHFORWARD 33m HS First Ascent unknown At the left hand side of the main face, climb a small ramp to a huge ledge, then climb the arete to finish at the same corner system as Flashback. The exposure makes the route (and the grade).
Moving along the platform to the left, go as far as possible towards the needle. Turn right around the corner and there is an alcove with a wall running out of it to the back of the needle. The following routes are either in the alcove or on the wall running from it. Some of these routes are quite long and so care should be taken in selecting enough gear for protection and belaying.
FLASHBACK 33m S A. Devlin, (solo) , 4.84 Facing the alcove climb the right hand wall by a large open corner system and a series of rock ledges, then climb the arête to finish. (Little or no protection).
A.C.S. 40m E1 5a A. Forde, T. Farell Climb the corner right of Uncle Alister.
On the main wall there are two obvious crack lines. The left hand crack is Giraffe. Uncle Alister and Aunt Hanna both start in the right crack.
UNCLE ALISTER 40m HVS 5a M. Barry, T. Hacken, 8.85 Climb the right hand crack with the large recess. The quality of the rock gets poorer near the top.
AUNT HANNA 40m E1 5b M. Barry, A. Devlin, 10.85 Start: Climb Uncle Alister to the recess. Hand traverse left for 2m to a large pocket. From here climb directly upwards, following a series of small vertical cracks.
COISCÉIM 40m HVS 5a R. Creagh, V. Bolin, 12/07/2011 Climb Giraffe for about 10m to the first of 2 roofs. From here make a meaty traverse right and up along a juggy crack to reach the upper crack of Uncle Alister. Finish up this route.
GIRAFFE 40m VS 4c M. Barry, T. Macken, 6.84 Start: At the base of the alcove there is a crack slanting to the left that runs to the top through a number of overhangs. The top half of the route above the second overhang, while looking vegetated, is actually quite clear and offers easier climbing than does the lower half.
The following routes are reached by abseiling to the base of the Needle:
THRILLER 40m E3 6a Denis Tangney, August 2006 Located on the arête left of Giraffe and right of Stinky Phoo. Start as for Stinky Phoo on a good ledge. Facing out to sea make a long reach for a horizontal break on the arête and swing out on to wall. From here take a straight line to the top (35m). Superb climbing on small holds.
STINKY PHOO 40m HVS 5b M. Barry, T. Macken, 11.84 Start: To the right of where the needle and the main wall meet the is an obvious corner. Climb down to a small ledge to start or if the sea is in swell use the abseil rope to pendulum onto the climb missing out the first 3m. Follow the crack to the top.
J.J. BARRY 40 m VS 4c 24/7/2010 Joe Reville, Barry Denton, John Duignan. Start: Start from where The Needle and the main wall meet. Move across to the left onto the arete. Climb the arete - the gear is sparse and small. Exposure is airy and thrilling. After 30 m the arete and wall is covered in a dense deep carpet of lime green Ramalina lichen. Move horizontal to the right on a thin ledge, for about 10 m to the crack of Stinky Phoo - some hand holds can be found among the lichen. Climb the last 10 m of Stinky Phoo to the top.
GOOD TIMES 40m VS 4c P. Quinn, M. Barry, 7.84 Start: Abseil to where the needle and the main wall meet. Move down the small chimney to reach a small inlet. Facing the main wall climb the overhanging chimney to the left to exit on a large platform (belay). From here climb the arête (loose) to finish.
ARCH CYNIC 30m E2 5c F.A., Mike Barry Climb the crackline to the left of Goodtimes and directly opposite the Needle.
Access to the needle can be either by abseiling down the main wall at the back of the needle and then traversing around on to the East side, or by going for a swim (!) to set up a fixed rope between the alcove and a large spur on the Needle - very useful for ferrying over and back gear, and aquaphobic climbers.
JUMBO 25m E1 5b A. Devlin, M. Barry, 4.84 Start: Two cracks can be seen in the Needle while facing it standing in the alcove. Follow the right hand crack as far as the quartz line, then traverse left to continue up a narrow crack to reach the spur for a hanging belay (use of the old in situ sling is not recommended). Abseil from here to descend.
JUMBO variation HVS 5a Tony Ryan 3-6-06. if you go to the south side of the sea stack and climb the right hand crack that start's about 1 metre from the ground and trend right till you meet the route jumbo.
THE RAZOR'S EDGE 30m VS 4c M. Barry, P. Quinn, T. Macken, 7.84 The route follows the sharp spectacularly exposed arête on the West side of the Needle. Start: Move along the South wall on a small ledge to the base of the arête. Belay here, or climb the short wall to a small platform and belay from there to reduce rope drag. Climb from the platform diagonally rightward to gain the arête. Climb this to the top. Beware of loose rock near the summit.
The small spires further out from the Needle present some nice boulder problems where, if you do come off, you only go for a swim.
i might have a variation of a route called jumbo (E1 5B) in dunshean head that i accidentally climbed.
if you go th the south side of the sea stack and climb the right hand crack that start's about 1 metre from the ground and trend right till you meet the route jumbo.
i don't know would it be classed as a first accent cause i put a sling on the spur on the end of jumbo and abbed off while taking out the gear cause i thought it would be too hard for my second.
anyway id say it was a HVS 5A but it would probally need to be confirmed.
my name is Tony Ryan and i climbed it on saturday the 3-6-06.
all the best