The Beara Way is a walking route which will take you around the stunning Beara Peninsula. The quiet country roads, well-kept off-road trails and picturesque villages make this peninsula a walker’s paradise. As well as the beautiful trails and stunning scenery the peninsula is the perfect location to sample some of the best seafood in the world.
The Beara Way leaves the town through Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve. The woods form one of the best examples of ancient oak woodland in Ireland. It was in these woods that Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare sheltered with his followers before beginning his epic journey northwards in 1602/1603 to try and escape the British forces and join up with the northern chiefs. The particular part of the woods in which they sheltered is known as Doire Na Fulla or ‘The Oak Tree of the Blood’. The area around Glengarriff is well known for its gardens due to the sub-tropical climate. Its proximity to the Gulf Stream which carries warm water from the Gulf Mexico, ensures that plants such as bamboo and palm trees grow quite easily. The Italian Gardens on Garinish are well worth a visit and the island is just a 15 minute boat ride from Glengarriff.
Castletownbere / Bere Island
The deep water harbour at Berehaven was one of three ports around the country which were known as Treaty Ports. After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 ownership of these ports was retained by Britain until 1938 when they were returned to the Irish Government. To this day the island is dotted with watch towers, forts and batteries which were constructed to protect the British fleet as it lay in the harbour. The port played an important role during World War One when it harboured ships of the British Atlantic Fleet. At the eastern edge of the island are the remains of a breakwater which was built by the Vikings over a thousand years ago and is visible at low tides.
The island has six permanent residents and is connected to the mainland by a cable car which is the only one in Ireland and the only one in Europe which traverses water. The cable car holds six people and the journey takes 10 minutes. The most prominent building on the island is the signal tower which dates from the Napoleonic Wars. The coast of Ireland is littered with towers such as this due to fear of Napoleonic invasion. You may also be able to make out the remains of a large sign on the ground made of stones which spelt the word ‘EIRE’ during the Second World War to let pilots know that they were over Ireland which was neutral.
The area around Allihies was the scene of copper mining from the Bronze Age up until the late 19th century. There are a number of structures and relics of the areas mining history and there is the Allihies Copper Mines Museum. Keep an eye out for the metallic green hue of copper seams which run through the rocks. There is a festival held in the village every August which sees amongst other things, horse racing, which is a practice thought to have come from the use of ponies in the mines.
The Beara Way is also a fantastic place to enjoy a cycling holiday as you travel along the Wild Atlantic Way.
For more information about walking the Beara Way, cycling the Beara penninsula along the Wild Atlantic Way and other holidays in Ireland, contact our travel specialists