The Beara Way Ireland sits at the south west of Ireland and juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It sits in both the counties of Cork and Kerry and is approx 48miles of hiking trail from Glengariff to Dursey sounds. It is probably one of the most remote of the peninsulas that sit in this part of Ireland and some might say the most beautiful and wild.
Sheelagh from Hilltoptreks walked this way in September 2019 and did a brief write up about it.
Day 1) Kenmare to Glengarriff
After a damp start departing Kenmare this morning the day got better and better. The Beara Way has not disappointed and after wandering quiet country lanes we arrived into Glengarriff to a seafood dinner and a well earned glass of vino. Tomorrow we head for Adrigole and views of the Atlantic all the way.
Day 2) Glengarriff to Adrigole
Today’s section outshone any expectations of a trail. From the beginning we were off road into nature trails and then onto the open hillside for the rest of the day. Views out over the wild Atlantic all day added a feeling of remoteness to this section of trail. I’m looking forward to the next part from Adrigole to Castletown bere.
Day 3) Adrigole to Castletownbere
Starting in Adrigole today with ominous weather forecasts, the expectation was for waterproofs and battling the wind. What I actually got were perfect walking conditions with Beara island by my side and the trail to my self. The trail from Adrigole to Castletownbere skirts the lower slopes of Hungry hill and leads you into Comnagapple Glen, a remote and forgotten landscape overlooking Bantry bay with its sleeping giant Beara Island. Bogroads and mountain tracks bring you to Castletownbere past megalithic tombs and pieces of ancient history. The Beara Way delivered again. I’m looking forward to more.
Day 4) Castletownbere to Allihies
Reluctantly leaving the bustling harbour town of Castletownbere with its multicolored buildings I set out again this morning on the trail. The Beara Way took me over the spur of Miskish mountain to incredible views of Coulagh Bay and Kerry in the distance. Open hillside tracks led to forestry and bog-roads and down to the gem that is Allihies. This trail has everything and the Cork people welcoming and keen to have a chat.
Dursey Sound tomorrow and I can’t wait.
Day 5 Allihies to Dursey Sound
An early start this morning meant we could visit Dursey Island in the afternoon, so after setting off leaving Allihies behind me, the trail led very gently along the coast. As I walked the sun rose over Allihies with its multicolored houses, the golden light intensifying the effect. After a few days of walking on hilly trails this turned out to be a very chilled days hiking, visiting Garnish Point on the way and ending at Dursey Point at our B&B.
Crossing to the island is an adventure by way of a cable car, the only one in Ireland. If sheep need to be transported to or from the island, they take priority. I have heard stories of people sharing a seat with a sheep. Truly the Beara Way never stops delivering. I get to visit Allihies in the morning again on my way to Eyeries, a fact that I am happy about as I am reluctant to leave.
Day 6 Allihies to Eyeries
Above Allihies there are the ruins of copper mines long abandoned, they run along what is like the spine of the Beara Peninsula. Today the trail wound up through the mining area, overlooking the town of Allihies and Dursey island, before rounding the mountain to emerge again at the foot of Miskish mountain, waiting like an old friend at the Kerry side of the peninsula.
Beara while being very Irish in every respect strikes me as quite exotic and foreign, from the water buffalo I spotted in fields beside the trail to the remarkable place names, such as Allihies and Eyeries, and also you really do feel like you are a million miles from the all things hectic. A friend of mine once said to me that Allihies is colorful and Eyeries is positively psychedelic, well she was right. Eyeries appeared on the horizon, and you can’t help but smile. Another great day, on the Beara Way.
Day 7 Eyeries to Ardgroom
My tired legs were grateful for a slightly easier and varied days walking on the Beara Way. While the previous days have been mainly on mountain tracks, the trail today meandered between short sections of road and grassy lane-ways to lakeside paths.
On reaching Ardgroom I popped into Harringtons shop to find the best selection of homemade cakes and coffee. After purchasing the guilt free cake, the sin of which I walked off days ago, I sat outside in the sunshine. Everywhere you go in Beara everyone chats to each other. That natural curiosity of the friendly locals seems to rub off on anyone lucky enough to spend some time here. The result is groups of people sharing life stories and chats on the trail, at the bar or over a slice of cake.
Day 8 Ardgroom to Lauragh
Each day on the Beara Way after Eyeries brings you back closer to the mainland and the trail from Ardgroom to Lauragh, see this transition take place. While the trail each day between Glengarriff and Ardgroom has not involved being near any signs of civilization for most of the day, I am now walking through some managed forest, on tiny roads with all kinds of rural life taking place and grassy tracks once used to herd cattle. Lauragh is tiny and beautiful, welcoming like the rest of Beara. The trail is changing now each day and its just as well because its Bearas remoteness that appeals to me as a walker. Its remoteness, and the amazing trails.
“This is definitely a trail in a million”.