The Beara Peninsula, West Cork

Eyeries Village © P. King
Ogham Stone © G. Dowdall

After a memorable trip to the Beara Peninsula with my daughter Alice and good friend Paula, I promptly fell in love with this wild and beautiful area of the southwest. It has become a high point of the trip for many of walkers with Walk the West.

Beara is the quietest and most striking of the three main peninsulas of the southwest of Ireland and is one of the most scenic areas of Ireland, yet, because of its remoteness is so far untouched by mass tourism.

The walks here are very varied with magnificent views of the rugged Beara mountains and the coastline, including gorgeous views of both Bantry and Kenmare Bays. Archaeological remains from pre-history mingle with 17th century castle ruins. Stone circles, wedge graves and ring forts are all set in dramatic scenery: mountain, lake, rock and sea.

The full Beara Way is 197km! However, Walk the West will spend just two days walking in the most spectacular areas of Beara, taking in the very best of scenery and walking routes.

Weather permitting, we take the cable car across the deep and turbulent Dursey Sound across to the nostalgic and atmospheric island of Dursey. It is County Cork's most westerly inhabited island and has played an important part in Irish history with links to Celtic mythology, Viking raids, O’Sullivan Bere family feuds, pirateering and, even more recently, as a strategic naval base area important to Britain during the First World War.

In the long summer evenings there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the colourful, unhurried and friendly village life of Allihies and Eyries. Dinner time will take advantage of the abundant seafood caught daily from Castletownbere 'the largest white fish port in Ireland'.

The Beara Peninsula is a perfect place to settle in for the first three days of Walk the West.