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Hiking the Beara Way

Walking through rural Ireland

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It’s hard to think of anywhere else in Ireland where the phrase “there is a view around every corner” is more fitting than on the Beara Peninsula. Hiking the Beara Way gives you the opportunity to explore the region’s breathtaking rugged mountains and lakes stretching 48km into the Atlantic Ocean, from Glengarriff to Dursey Island.

Due to its remoteness The Beara Peninsula has remained one of the most unspoiled parts of Ireland and walkers will be rewarded with a magnificent combination of mountain and coastal scenery, as well as the highest waterfall in Ireland and the UK. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the area offers a unique bounty of flora and marine fauna rarely seen anywhere else in Ireland. With 511 historical sites, the Beara Peninsula has the highest number of ancient monuments in Ireland. Every day you will see reminders of local history, following the same walking trails used by Celts, Spanish, French and British over the past few centuries.You will find the remains of ring forts, Martello towers, barracks and signal towers scattered all along The Beara Way.

If you are looking for a thrill, hop on the Dursey Island cable car, the only one crossing open sea in Europe and the only one still in operation in Ireland. All along the walking sections on the Beara Way you will have the chance to explore its unique landscape and heritage. This section of the Wild Atlantic Way is a walkers paradise. GET A QUOTE NOW

VIEW OUR TOUR OPTIONS

  • The Beara Way – Short Break:
    • 4 days/3 nights. Walk along the coast from Glengarriff to Castletownbere on this short tour. Staying in our selected accommodation.
  • The Beara Way – Full Walk:
    • 8 days/7 nights. Walk The Beara Way from Glengarriff to Kenmare, excluding Bere Island and Dursey Island. Staying in our selected accommodation.

Trip highlights

  • Taste fresh seafood in the fishing town of Castletownbere
  • Enjoy the ever changing views of this wild and remote peninsula
  • Visit Allihies Copper Museum highlighting the area's industrial history
  • Test your nerve with a trip to Dursey Island on Ireland's only cable car

1 Glengarriff

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You will start this walking tour on the Wild Atlantic Way in Glengarriff – translated from ‘An Gleann Garbh’ in Irish/Gaelic meaning ‘The Rugged Glen’. This is a truly cosmopolitan village situated in a glacial valley in West Cork. Glengarriff is nestled by the foothills of the Caha Mountain range and its climate is mild and temperate due to the Gulf Stream which warms the waters of Bantry Bay.

2 Glengarriff to Adrigloe - 17km

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4H30 | +618m / -625m
On the first stage of your walk along the Beara Way you will leave Glengarriff moving on to quiet boreens (Irish for rural roads) flanked on either side by a young mixed wood forest for roughly six Kilometres until you join a mountain trail. You contour around Sugarloaf mountain, gently gaining altitude till you reach the highest point of this trip at 530m approx., where the views to your right will be of the impressive Caha Mountains. This area hosts an array of mountain lakes, deep valleys and shear rock faces. Here you will also have a panoramic view Bantry Bay, Whiddy Island and the Atlantic ocean.
From this point you begin your descent, circumnavigating Toberavanaha Lough and Lough Keel on your way to Adrigole and respite for the evening.

3 Adrigole to Castletownbere - 22km

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5H15 | +683m / -679m
Have a hearty breakfast and refill your water bottles before starting today’s walk, for the majority of the day you will be on mountain trails as you contour around Hungry Hill (made famous by a novel of the same name written by Daphne du Maurier and published in 1943, the story follows a family of Anglo-Irish landowners through five generations from 1820-1920) Knocknagree and Maulin. From the highest point of the trail on Maulin you see where the next few days of trekking along the Wild Atlantic Way will take you, looking down on to Bere Island and across to Knockgour mountain.

Castletownbere is the end of our ‘Short tour’.

Extra Day Bere Island Tour - 28km

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6H | +595m / -595m
When you leave your lodging this morning you will make your way to the ferry port for a short 15 minute journey to Bere Island. There is a heritage and information centre in an old school house, from there you will have the day to explore the Island from its rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to Medieval times, including ring forts, standing stones, wedge tombs and burial sites. The British had a particular interest in the island. At various locations they constructed Martello towers, a signal tower, military barracks and a military fortification which hosts two six inch guns, all of which can be seen today. You will get the ferry back to the main land in time for dinner that evening.

4 Castletownbere to Dursey Sound - 28km

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5H45 | +754m / -699m
As you leave Castletownbere the route crosses ever green forest boreens and open hill terrain ascend and contour around Knockgour Mountain 481m. Today you will cross from the South side of the Beara peninsula to the North side as descend towards Ballydongan Bay and your accommodation near Dursey Point.

Extra Day Dursey Island Tour - 14km

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4H45 | +766m / -781m
Today you will walk from your accommodation to Dursey sound from there you can test your nerve when you take a cable car across to the island (ticket not included), this is the only cable car which crosses sea water anywhere in Ireland, the journey is only 200m. Dursey Island (Irish: Oileán Baoi meaning Yellow Island) is one of the few inhabited islands that lie off the Wild Atlantic Way coast with a population of six, the island is roughly 6.5km long and 1.5km wide, there are no shops, pubs or restaurants operating on the island. If you wish to rest your legs there is a local mini bus that can transport you the end of the Island where you can see a 200 year old signal town that was built as part of a defence network around Ireland by the British to warn against a French invasion. In 2010 the Dursey Island looped walk was awarded on of the top 10 walks in Ireland.

5 Dursey Sound to Eyeries - 24km

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5H | +572m / -618m
This morning you will be retracing your steps to the Beara Way to Allihies. If you have time check out the Allihies copper museum and cafe, showcasing the copper mining industry at the beginning of the Industrial revolution and how it changed the land and people of Allihies forever. From Allihies you follow a boreen in the foothills of Knockoura and passing some of the disused copper mines along the way, before heading towards Miskish mountain with views of Coulagh Bay and Inishfarnard. Finally descending to Eyeries and your accommodation for the evening.
Optional: Add an extra day to your itinerary, allowing yourself to get some laundry done, sleep in and have a late breakfast before taking a day off your trek to explore the Allihies Copper Mine Museum, after one hundred years of being mined, the copper mines in Allihies are so deep and extensive that they go under the sea. The highlights of this area include an animal sanctuary/rehab, beautiful sandy beaches and a selection of bars and cafes to help you rest and recharge before tackling the second half of your tour.

6 Eyeries to Lauragh - 26km

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6H15 | +388m / -374m
Today may feel like a short day on the Beara Way even though you will be walking more than 20 kilometres, you will be following close to the coast line on a mixture of rural roads and grassy tracks. You will pass through an area called ‘Faunhill and the woods’ which is where one of the tallest standing stones in Ireland is still standing (4.7m dating back to the 5th or 6th century).
With stunning coastal views on your left and views of the mountains of Lackawee 572m, Tooreennamna 500m, Coomacloghane 599m and several more mountains rising up to your right this is a relaxed walking day to your destination in Lauragh.

7 Lauragh to Kenmare - 24km

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4H15 | +746m / -765m

Lauragh is at sea level, so it will seem like you gain a lot of height today, but this will not be to strenuous. Today is a shorter day than yesterday but a little more challenging area along the Wild Atlantic Way, with two mountains to cross and most of the walking done on mountain trails. To warm you up you will pass between Knockatee 330m and Knockanoughanish 386m on a rural road before joining a mountain trail as you contour around Knockagarrane 414m, from here you will have the perfect vantage point to look back on where you have travelled from.

You then descend to a land bridge between Cloonee Lough and Lough Inchiquin (on the banks of Lough Inchiquin there is a stone circle and a nature reserve), this is quite a nice area to have lunch before tackling the mountain pass on Derrysallagh 410m, your accommodation for this evening in Kenmare.

8 Kenmare

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After your breakfast your walking holiday along the Beara Way with us finishes, so why not ask our team about adding an extra night accommodation if you wish to soak up the history Kenmare has to offer.
Archaeological sites indicate inhabitation of the area dating from circa 2200-500BC, the largest stone circle in the west of Ireland and a bridge believed to have been constructed in the 11th century are located a few minutes walk the Kenmare town centre. The Irish Tourist Board, Bórd Fáilte, officially recognized the cultural, environmental, and historical significance of Kenmare by giving it the title of Kerry’s first Heritage Town. With plenty to see and do this is a lovely town to spend a couple of days before returning to the real world after your holiday.

Tip: If you are feeling energetic you can add on any of the following days.

Extra Day Kenmare to Glengarriff - 19km

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4H45 | +529m / -547m
The majority of today will be spent on quiet boreens, which I find is the perfect way to reflect on the highs and lows of your past weeks walking, as you make your way from the North of the peninsula back to Glengarriff along a mixture of rural roads and mountain trails, through forests, grassy valleys and mountain passes, the terrain will be a little bit of everything you have travelled along already.
As you reach the saddle between Esk Mountain 383m and Barraboy 460m you will get your first proper view of your destination for the evening, the last few kilometres of the walk into Glengarriff will be on boreens through mature mixed wood forests, which will hide Glengarriff from view till you are less than 500m from, a hot shower, good meal, refreshing drink and a comfortable bed for the evening.

Extra Day Kenmare to Killarney - 24km

Mare's Tail waterfall Glengarriff

6H | +627m / -610m
The last leg of your journey will see you return to Killarney National Park. Walking along boreens, the ground under foot will be firm and undemanding, walking in the shadow of Peakeen Mountain 555m on your left and Knockanaguish 509m on your right, it offers the perfect terrain and scenery to allow you reflect back on your time walking along the spectacular Kerry Way.
After your breakfast your walking holiday with us finishes, so why not ask our team about adding an extra night accommodation if you wish to soak in the atmosphere Killarney has to offer.
Highlights in this magnificent town include:
– Experience the Lake Hotel and its idyllic setting for a lunch, dinner or just relaxing drink overlooking gardens, lakes and mountains.
– Cruise Killarney’s beautiful lakes on Lough Leane, Killarney’s largest and most picturesque lake, with heritage attractions including the 15th century Ross Castle, O’Sullivan Cascade and the monastic ruins of Inishfallen Island.
– Take a guided tour around the 19th century Tudor style Muckross house and gardens around which Killarney National Park was created.
– Uncover a treasure trove of fantastic restaurants, serving traditional meals with fresh locally sourced produce and a wealth our music, wine, historic and gastro bars, to help you make the most of the ‘Craic agus ceol’ (Irish for fun and music)

Hotels & country cottages have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food, and friendliness of the staff (why not ask our sales team about optional upgrades to superior rooms or suites where available along you tour). As this is a long tour it is worth while considering adding in a rest day in the middle of your tour.
Accommodation displayed is subject to availability and if the hotel/guest house described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard of comfort & price.

Glengarriff - Standard

In the pretty Cork village of Glengarriff, you accommodation is in the centre of the village and just a short walk from the harbour with ferries to Garnish Island. With several traditional pubs and restaurants nearby, this is a lovely area to rest before starting your tour.

All rooms are en suite and have free Wi-Fi access.

Adrigole - Standard

This evening’s accommodation is a modern, comfortable farmhouse in scenic surrounding, commanding spectacular views over the beautiful Bantry Bay.

Castletownbere - Standard

Your host family will make every amenity available for you to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and picturesque surroundings. A spacious lounge enables you to relax and take in the breath-taking views. Guests can access free Wi-Fi to keep in touch with family and friends. Outside, the hosts have garden furniture soak up the sun and the mild Gulf Stream sea breezes.

Dursey - Standard

Tonight your accommodation will be close to the head of the Beara Peninsula. The guest house has been in the host’s family for generations and was traditionally a working farm where their ancestors developed and cultivated the land. The house was opened as a guest house recently. Your hosts want to provide an opportunity for people to come experience the real Ireland and the breath-taking views that surround their home.

Eyeries - Standard

Your accommodation tonight is located in the outskirts of the picturesque village of Eyeries with lovely views of the coast. 20 minutes’ walk from your accommodation you can find ancient stone circles and the tallest Ogham Stone in Europe. Only 10 minutes from Castletownbere, Eyeries has won silver awards for its tidiness and presentation.

Lauragh - Standard

At our first choice accommodation a very warm Irish welcome awaits all who visit this family run guest house, situated amongst some of the most breath-taking scenery that Ireland has to offer.

Kenmare - Standard

Our first choice guest house is a 4 Star rated family run home with spacious, warm rooms situated on the Ring of Beara. Kenmare town is only 10 minutes’ drive away with a selection of fine restaurants pubs and entertainment, your hosts will happily arrange a transfer to Kenmare for you if you wish to explore the town.

Glengarriff - Standard

In the pretty Cork village of Glengarriff, you accommodation is located in the centre of the village and just a short walk from the harbour with ferries to Garnish Island. With several traditional pubs and restaurants nearby, this is a lovely area to rest at the end of your tour on The Beara Way.

All rooms are en suite and have free Wi-Fi access.

Glengarriff average Temperature & Rainfall

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Flying IN and OUT

Kerry Airport provides Killarney with direct daily access to the UK and Germany with routes to France and other EU & UK destinations currently under development.

 

Cork Airport is roughly 1H20 drive from Glengarriff and provides a range of UK and EU connections.

 

Dublin Airport is the furthest airport away, but has the highest number of flights landing from most European and international locations. Internal flights from Dublin to Cork Airport journey time 1H00 approx.

 

More information:

Kerry Airport

Cork Airport

Dublin Airport

Sky Scanner

TO and FROM the Airports

TO GLENGARRIFF

Getting to Glengarriff from Kerry Airport:

Step 1: Kerry Airport to Cork City | Bus Éireann | Travel time 2H40 outside the main terminal, leaving every 4 hours | Fare €32 return.

 

Step 2: Cork City (Parnell Place Bus Station) to Glengarriff | Bus Éireann No.236 | Travel time 2H15 approx, departure every 2 hours | Fare €15 return.

 

 

Getting to Glengarriff from Cork Airport:

Step 1: Cork Airport to Cork City | Rural buses | Travel time 0H20 just outside the main terminal every 2 hours | Fare €9 return approx.

 

Step 2: Cork City (Parnell Place Bus Station) to Glengarriff | Bus Éireann No.236 | Travel time 2H15 approx, departure every 2 hours | Fare €15 return.

 

 

Getting to Glengarriff from Dublin Airport via Cork City: 

Step 1: Dublin Airport to Cork City | Bus Éireann | Travel time 6H15, leaving every 2 hours from mid-morning to evening | Fare €30 return approx.

 

Step 2: Cork City (Parnell Place Bus Station) to Glengarriff | Bus Éireann No.236 | Travel time 2H15 approx, departure every 2 hours | Fare €15 return.

 

 

Getting to Glengarriff from Dublin City Centre via Cork City: 

Step 1: Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre | Aircoach | Travel time 0H30, leaving every 15-30min | Fare €6 approx. one way.

OR

Step 1: Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre | Dublin Bus – Bus No.747 | Travel time 0H40, leaving every 15min | Fare €6 one way. (NOTE: This bus also stops at Heuston Train Station).

 

Step 2: Once on O’Connell Street it is a short walk, tram or taxi ride to Heuston Train Station or Busaras Bus Depot.

 

Step 3: Dublin City Centre (Heuston Train Station) to Cork City | Irish Rail | Travel time 2H30, leaving every 2 hours | Fare €40-€80 return approx. (Depending on travel day and time).

 

Step 4: Cork City (Parnell Place Bus Station) to Glengarriff | Bus Éireann No.236 | Travel time 2H15 approx, departure every 2 hours | Fare €15 return.

 

 

FROM KENMARE

Getting from Kenmare to Killarney:

Kenmare to Killarney | Bus Éireann No.270 | Travel time 0H50 leaving Darcy’s Restaurant on Main Street, every 2 hours from morning to mid afternoon | Fare €17 approx. one way.

 

 

Getting from Killarney to Cork City: 

Killarney to Cork (Kent Train Station) | Irish Rail | Travel time 2H00 approx, leaving every 2 hours | Fare €10 approx one way.

 

 

Getting from Killarney to Dublin City:

Killarney to Dublin (Heuston Train Station) | Irish Rail | Travel time 3H15, leaving every 2 hours | Fare €22 approx one way.

 

 

 

More information:

Irish Rail – Train.

Bus Éireann – Intercity Bus.

West Cork Rural Transport – Rural Bus.

Please select from our available tours below and proceed to booking. Contact the team if you have any special requests.


Select your trip

1. Tour options - Select your trip type

  • 4 days/3 nights. Walk along the coast from Glengarriff to Castletownbere on this short tour. Staying in our selected accommodation.. Price pp, with breakfast

    Single Room
    €345
    Double/Twin Room
    €270
  • 8 days/7 nights. Walk The Beara Way from Glengarriff to Kenmare, excluding Bere Island and Dursey Island. Staying in our selected accommodation. Price pp, with breakfast

    Single Room
    €829
    Double/Twin Room
    €654

2. Select Date

3. No. of rooms

  • Single (1 bed)
  • Twin Rooms (2 beds)
  • Double (1 large bed for 2)

What's Included

  • Rooms en-suite
  • Breakfast included
  • Luggage transferred from Guesthouse/Hotel to Guesthouse/Hotel
  • Holiday Pack including: walking notes, maps and practical information

We also offer

  • Upgrades where available, airport transfers, trips can be tailored to suit your requirements.