Expert Guide on tour for the tour duration.
4 nights stay, 3 days hiking
Moderate Walks each day – Previous Hiking experience required
“Very organised, very relaxed. Brilliant group Leaders. Even enjoyed the “soft rain”. Looking forward to my next walking holiday with IWHB.”
– Margaret, UK, 2016
West Cork is a part of Ireland that few seem to travel to for hiking, yet it offers so much wonderful scenery & magnificent beauty – it is in our opinion – the forgotten corner which offers some of the best hiking you can find in Ireland. If you enjoy coastal scenery – then this is the holiday for you.
South from the Ring of Kerry lies the Beara & Sheeps Head Peninsulas in the glorious region of West Cork. These peninsulas are a haven of tranquillity, far away from ‘coach-tour’ country and therefore have long been popular with the more discerning traveller. A place apart for walkers & hikers alike. The breathtaking panoramas are dominated by mountains and sea with Bantry Bay dividing them from one another.
At the eastern end of Bantry Bay is the village of Glengarriff, from where you can take a short boat trip to Garinish Island, famous for its Italianate Gardens with their sub-tropical flora. At the western tip of the peninsula is Dursey Island, now home to only five souls, and connected to the mainland by Ireland’s only cable car – capacity: 6 people or 1 cow!
This untouched & undiscovered part of Ireland is rich in history, pre-history, folklore and archaeology. Copper and other metals have been mined around this region since the Bronze Ages. The earliest inhabitants made their mark, leaving numerous tombs, standing stones and stone circles dotted across the landscape. The region is rich in mythology: it was the home of the Hag of Beara, a powerful sovereignty goddess whose reputation extends across the whole country.
This stunning South West region of Ireland is an ancient, magical region where the power of the past is ever-present and the present just blooms with welcome for you the visitor.
Not Included: Personal drinks, medical expenses or gratuities.
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Your holiday starts in the beautiful village of Glengarriff (accessible by public bus from Cork City). We will offer a courtesy transfer from the town of Killarney, where you meet at the old railway station hotel known today as the The Great Southern Hotel (formerly the Malton Hotel). Here – your Guide will meet you at 15.00hours and a courtesy transfer by minivan takes you through the heritage town of Kenmare and on to Glengarriff. On arrival, your Guide will go through some more details for your holiday with you & your group. You then enjoy your first evening meal together & your first 2 overnights are spent in this lovely village of Glengarriff.
A short drive outside Glengarriff, takes you to an old Irish farmstead. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn how to make Irish soda bread (and possibly the illicit “poteen”) before enjoying a super walk overlooking west Cork & south Kerry.
Walking through this old farm, you see many remnants of days gone by which is fascinating to see & learn about. Continuing through the farm, and crossing over a small river, you then have a lovely walk following small “boreens” and trails through the foothills of the Caha Mountains. On completion of your hike, you return to Glengarriff & if time allows, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Garinish Island – famous for its magnificent gardens. This is an optional trip & not included in your holiday price. Return to your accommodation after this island trip & enjoy a free evening at your leisure in Glengarriff.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 390mts. Gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Open hillside with no tracks, wet & uneven ground. Some steep descents over rocky sections.
Driving south from Glengarriff, you reach the town of Bantry and from here a little further west, you reach the central hills of the Sheeps Head Peninsula. From here, you are spoilt for choice as you enjoy a stunning walk along the hills that form the central spine of the Sheeps Head Peninsula with the Wild Atlantic lapping at both the northern & southern shores of the peninsula. To the south you are looking over to Mizen Head, while to the north you look over to the Beara Peninsula and Ring of Kerry and west looks towards the Fastnet Rock and the islands of West Cork. With stories of “Finn McCools Chair”, you descend from the hills & reach your accommodation near Kilcrohane where you spend your next 2 nights.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 250mts. Gravel tracks and open hillside with no tracks, uneven & rocky underfoot & can be wet & boggy in places. Paved roads towards the end.
On arrival to your accommodation, you will have time to enjoy the delights of the small village of Kilcrohane. Dinner and overnight here.
The ultimate walk, and a super finale, takes you from ancient Copper Mines to modern day Lighthouses as you enjoy one of the most glorious walks this region of Ireland offers.
Reaching the tip of this Peninsula – as far as you can drive, you start your walk following a lovely trail through the hills to reach the northern coast of Sheeps Head. From here, you follow west to the tip of the peninsula and the picturesque lighthouse that was assembled by Gulf Oil. This is a favourite look out point for whales, sharks & dolphins. Continuing east, you then complete your circuit with an optional walk to an impressive Signal Tower before you finish.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 230mts. Open hillside with uneven & rocky sections without trails, some of which can be wet & boggy underfoot. Gravel tracks & paved roads for short sections. Steps up & down in places.
Your final dinner & overnight in Kilcrohane is a super way to finish your holiday, exchange memories & focus on all the highlights of your week.
After breakfast, a courtesy transfer by minivan bring you back to Bantry town, arriving at approx. 10am. From here, a good bus service returns you to Cork City where you can then avail of an excellent service of trains, buses, ferry or airports for your onward journey.