The Beara Peninsula
The Beara peninsula is a rugged rural gem, with many national archaeological monuments, with a coastline that stretches from Bantry Bay to Kenmare Bay. This is a peninsula of immense beauty and is very accessible from Gougane Barra via Ballylickey (19km) and Glengarriff and well worth at least one day exploring.
Glengarriff is a small village that nestles among ancient woodland, historic sites and subtropical gardens, once favoured by royalty and has been a tourist destination for centuries. No visit to Glengarriff would be complete without taking the short ferry trip to Garnish Island to enjoy the beauty of its famous 19th century Italian Gardens.
Leave here, follow the coast and you will meet the rugged mountains of Sugarloaf and Hungry Hill arriving in Adrigole, full of dramatic scenery and a fully equipped sailing centre. The heart of Beara is Castletownbere which is one of Ireland’s premier fishing ports servicing Irish and international fishing fleets. This is another lively West Cork town with great pubs, coffee shops, restaurants with local food and art galleries.
At the tip of the peninsula is Dursey Island with Ireland’s only cable car service, colourful Allihies with its historic copper mines and Irish picture perfect colourful Eyeries village.
Continue on this coastal road (drive slowly so you won’t miss anything) and it will bring you to Ardgroom, Killcatherine , the Beara loop, Lauragh, Tousist and into the market town of Kenmare. The Beara peninsula has 3 main islands to explore, Garnish, Dursey and historical Bere Island. The Peninsula is proud of its ‘Beara Way’ walking and cycling routes.
Things You Can’t Miss!
Visit Garnish Island (Illnacullin) in Glengarriff harbour to see tropical 19th century gardens known as ‘The Italian Gardens’. -Watch out for the sunbathing seals!
Relax, stretch, rejuvenate and find your inner stillness in the Dzogchen Beara Tibetan retreat centre near Castletownbere.
Try sailing in the West Cork sailing centre in Adrigole, there is also diving, swimming, kayaking and boat tours in many centres around this amazing coastline.
Take Ireland’s only cable car to Dursey Island (if you don’t mind sharing the trip with sheep sometimes.) It’s a great location to see basking sharks so keep an eye on the Dursey Sound.
Bring your hiking boots and walk your way around a section of the Beara Way to find some of the best archaeological sites and scenery.
Visit the ruins of Dunboy Castle which was home to O’Sullivan Bere, Ireland’s last Gaelic Chieftain.
Meet the ‘Hag of Beara’ and visit Killcatherine Church with its pre-Christian stones.
Walk through 5,000 years of history in Bonane Heritage Park and sample some wow chocolates at nearby Lorge chocolatier, Bonane Post office, don’t forget to bring some home for us!
Experience times past in Molly Gallivan’s cottage and enjoy the spectacular views at the Caha Pass.
Visit the old copper mines at Allihies, perched above the village, with a great visitors centre.