SELF GUIDED TOUR
The perfect way for the independent explorer to see our hidden gems & discover the many paths less travelled.
10 nights stay, 9 days hiking.
Participants need to have a good level of fitness and previous hiking experience is recommended.
“My country has a lot to learn about your hospitality industry! Top quality; never had someone call me to see if all was OK! That was super! How can you not feel humble to the overwhelming beauty of the Irish nature?”
– Annette, Denmark, 2013
The Beara Peninsula offers breathtaking panoramas, dominated by mountains and sea. Few tourists reach this peninsula, making it a treasured location by hikers as they discover a remote and relatively untouched landscape. Few roads penetrate the mountains of Beara, and those roads which do are spectacular feats of engineering, the Healy Pass probably the most famous of all with its series of hairpin bends, as dramatic as any alpine pass. This adds to the charm of Beara by keeping it fairly “bus tour free”. All of Beara’s towns and villages are dotted along the coast. The largest is Castletownbere (or Castletown Bearhaven), a major fishing port located on one of the deepest natural harbours in Ireland. Picturesque villages such as Eyeries and Allihies are renowned for their rows of brightly contrasting houses featuring every shade of the rainbow, welcoming walkers in a most colourful way.
Starting in the village of Glengarriff at the head of Bantry Bay you then follow along the southern shores of the peninsula, before reaching Castletownbere. From there you explore Bere Island and then cross to the north coast of the peninsula and the village of Allihies. Dursey Island and Dursey Sound at the tip of the peninsula are your next point of discovery before continuing east to the secluded villages of Eyeries and Lauragh. Your final night’s accommodation takes you to the heritage town of Kenmare.
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Arrive in Glengarriff – a delightful little town, well known for Garinish Island with its sub-tropical Italian gardens. The influence of the warm Gulf Stream make it a great place to visit all year round. Proceed to your first accommodation just outside Glengarriff town, where your hostess will give you your full detailed information pack. She will also be able to recommend some of the excellent local restaurants.
Access for this holiday is made by a bus connection from Cork to Glengarriff which runs all year round.
Start walking from Glengarriff along the Beara Way, under the Sugarloaf and Glenlough Mountains to finish in the village of Adrigole. This walk gives glorious views over Bantry Bay and across to Sheeps Head and your route joins some tiny old roads as you near Adrigole. Here you have the opportunity to detour a little to see excellent examples of standing stones and megalithic tombs. Telephone from Adrigole and return to Glengarriff for second night.
Walk Details: Distance: 18kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 300m. Some road walking, muddy and rocky grass tracks, can be wet underfoot. Boots essential.
You will be driven back to Adrigole to start your walk, continuing under the dominating mass of Hungry Hill and Maulin Mountain, before reaching the fishing port of Castletownbere. This is a long and very varied walk giving beautiful views over to Bere Island – where you walk tomorrow. Overnight in Castletownbere, a small but vibrant town nestled at the heart of the beautiful Beara Peninsula.
Walk Details: Distance: 25kms. Duration: 6 hour. Max. Height: 400m. Rocky walking with no clear path a lot of the way. Can be very wet underfoot. Features some road walking. Boots essential.
Take the ferry from Castletownbere over to Bere Island – this fascinating place, steeped in history, lies at the entrance to the magnificent Bantry Bay and guards the deep water harbour of Berehaven, in West Cork. The island is just 2kms offshore from the town of Castletownbere, the largest white fishing port in Ireland. Loop around the west end of the island, and on to the little village of Rerrin. From here you can continue to the eastern tip of the island, exploring the old army fortifications, before returning by road to the harbour for the return ferry. (As this piece of water is naturally sheltered by the island – the ferry service runs every day). Overnight in Castletownbere.
Walk Details: Distance: 23kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 300m. Features grass and muddy tracks, rocky in places. So me road walking – boots essential.
Walk from Castletownbere in a westerly direction towards the tip of the peninsula, passing under Knockgour Mountain to finish in the beautiful little village of Allihies, a welcoming little village, with its brightly coloured houses, near the tip of the Beara Peninsula. You will also encounter a wealth of archaeological sites along the way. Overnight in Allihies.
Walk Details: Distance: 15kms. Duration: 4 hours. Max. Height: 260m. Features muddy and grassy tracks, some road walking, can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
Continue from Allihies all the way to the tip of the peninsula – arriving at the impressive Dursey Sound – which feels like you have arrived at the end of the world! An optional extra walk takes you to the tip of Crow Head with glorious views across Bantry Bay and West Cork. Overnight at Dursey Sound.
Walk Details: Distance: 14kms. Duration: 4 hours. Max. Height: 200m. Features muddy and grassy tracks, some road walking, open mountains with no tracks, can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
No trip to Beara would be complete without first enjoying a trip in Ireland’s only cable car to the beautiful Dursey Island. Dursey lies across a narrow sound and is a great getaway from the fray of modern living. This rugged island is one of the few inhabited islands that lie off the southwest coast of Ireland. Walk the full length of this glorious island, going out over the spine of the island and returning along the lower road by the houses. You return to the mainland and walk back to Allihies for your overnight.
Walk Details: Distance: 25kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 200m. Features muddy and grassy tracks, some road walking, open mountains with no tracks, can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
This time your journey takes you east from Allihies as you walk through the old copper mines and along the northern slopes of the Slieve Miskish Mountains before finishing in the colourful village of Eyeries, a small, enchanting village which offers the visitor so much. From the cry of seagulls sweeping over Coulagh Bay, to the craggy hills and mountains that overlook this picturesque village. Enjoy a lovely coastal walk before returning to the village for your overnight stop.
Walk Details: Distance: 21kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 200m. Features muddy and grassy tracks, some road walking and rocky terrain, can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
From Eyeries you will be driven to the village of Ardgroom, to start your walk from here. You will have the opportunity to visit some of the famous stone circles in this area along today’s route. Leaving Ardgroom, you follow a wonderful old mountain path which leads to the little village of Lauragh at the base of the famous Healy Pass. Overnight near Lauragh.
Walk Details: Distance: 22kms. Duration: 5.5 hours. Max. Height: 200m. Grass tracks – rocky in places. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential. Some road walking at start and finish.
From Lauragh you will be dropped at Drombohilly to start you final day’s walking. From Drombohilly you start walking over the first of two mountain saddles you will be crossing today, with views behind to the Caha Mountains and n orth towards the Ring of Kerry. Descending to the Cloonee Lakes, you continue along the shores of Lough Inchiquin before ascending again over the second saddle. Descending into the lovely Dromoughty valley, you walk along small little back roads, finally joining the main road for the last about 2kms to walk into the heritage town of Kenmare. Overnight in Kenmare, a haven of tranquillity, gourmet food, superb accommodation and breathtaking scenery.
Walk Details: Distance: 26kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 400m. Open mountain and bog land, grass and mud tracks – boots essential. Some road walking at end of day – please take care.
From Kenmare, you can enjoy an extra walk back to Glengarriff or make your way there by taxi. (There is a summer bus service offered to Glengarriff – but this is very irregular so ask locally for details). From Glengarriff you can return by bus to Cork city and by bus from there to the airport. Alternatively, you can make your way from Kenmare to Killarney by bus, and from Killarney a bus or train to Cork, Limerick, Shannon or Dublin.