Walking
County Cork
4/5
8 reviews
Grade Strenuous
Length 206 km
Time 9 days
Format Loop
Ascent 5245 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Glengarriff
Finish Point
Glengarriff
Nearest Town to Start Glengarriff
Grid Ref. V 928 564
Lat./Lon. 51.74982, -9.55246

The Beara Peninsula is a 48km long mountainous finger, shared by counties Kerry and Cork, stretching into the Atlantic Ocean. Quite remote, it has remained perhaps the most unspoilt part of the south west region, and like the peninsulas to the north, is a magical world of mountains and lakes surrounded by a picturesque seacoast. The main industries are farming and fishing, with the latter being based in the port of Castletownbere. The Beara Way was established by a local voluntary group in the early 1990s as a co-operative involving upwards of four hundred landowners to augment the revenues coming from a declining fishing industry through tourism. It is a 196km circular route through magnificently rugged mountain and seacoast scenery which frequently passes by rich evidence of a heavily populated prehistoric past in the form of standing stones and burial monuments. There are also many fine villages, such as Allihies and Eyries, along the route. Terrain consists of mainly quiet tarmac roads, bog roads, cliff and woodland paths and open moorland, some sections of which can be quite rough and remote. The total aggregate ascent is nearly 5300m over the whole route and includes some short but steep climbs. Availability of overnight accommodation is generally good along the route although some of the longer stretches between villages may require careful planning. A loop of the route circumnavigates Bere Island with its great forts, and a spur takes you out (by an exciting trip on Ireland’s only cable-car) to sparsely inhabited Dursey Island.

Trail Management

Beara Tourism,Castletownbere,Co.Cork,
Tel/Fax 027-70054, Email: office@bearatourism.com
Web: bearatourism

Facilities

Car parking
At Start/Finish - on street in Glengarriff

NOTICE OF CLOSUIRE AFFECTING BEARA WAY BETWEEN CASTLETOWNBERE AND ALLIHIES. Coillte are carrying out logging at Knockgour. A diversion is in place and waymarked/signed following part of the Beara Way towards Eyeries and then the signposted trail to Allihies when walking west or following part of the Beara Way towards Eyeries and then the signposted trail to Castletownbere when walking east. Closure expected to last until mid-September 2016
81 kms or 40% of the Way follows local roads.
There may be some issues with waymarking, trail surface quality and insufficient vegetation cut back at some points along the trail.
***Dogs are not permitted***

Map Guides

Map Guides

The Beara Way – West Cork South Kerry – Beara Tourism & Development

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 84 and 85
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: Express bus service Check with Bus Eireann.
At End: Limited express bus service Check with Bus Eireann.

3/5
07/05/2019

Aina from Austria

I walked Kenmare to Dursey Head, final parz of my coast2coast walk. Beara is different to all sections before. Wonderful oceanviews, remote trails through lovely landscape. I love those rockformations. Lots of accommodations along the way. Wild camping, not so much. The cablecar and the walk to Dursey Head are are a blast.
3/5
07/03/2016

GJ from Cork

Walked from Lauragh to Kenmare on July 1st, a testing hike with magnificent views outwards over Kenmare Bay and inland along Lough Inchiquin and the triple waterfall flowing into the Glen . A misdirected signpost at the lakeside resulted in a detour into Gleninchiquin Park but Peter in the cafe kindly returned us to the trail and one rearranged signpost later, we proceeded to Kenmare. This section was very boggy underfoot for long stretches particularly having traversed the brow of the hill on the descent towards Dunkerron. A few more sleepers badly needed but well worth it overall.
5/5
04/27/2016

Hauke from Dublin

At the end of April 2016 Hillwalk Tours has been made aware of a route closure along the Beara Way, between Castletownbere and Allihies. Coillte has closed the route through its forests for logging near Knockoura where the trail comes down from the Miskish Mountain (N 51.652984°,W -9.977296°).

The route to Castletownbere to Eyeries is not affected.

A simple diversion to avoid the affected area is to stay on the road near Fanahy (N 51.649742°,W -9.938832°) and continue on the road towards Knockgour.

Coillte estimates that the closure to be in place until the end of June 2016.
4/5
11/19/2015

Helen from Kerry

In general the Beara Way is really well signposted. However it can be easy to miss a sign especially if you can see your destination below you but the path brings you uphill away from it – this happened heading to Casteltownbere and other places.

Also the Kerry side of the Way is not as well signed as the Cork side (I say that sadly as a proud Kerry woman). This was worst from Lauragh to Kenmare.

The distances I have listed are those I derived from online and OSI information (however the maps and guide I had to hand were old and the route had been changed in the meantime). Most days we felt we did more than the stated distances.

We did our walk at the end of August. The Beara Way is not as popular as the Kerry Way and the season is shorter so you will need to check if B&Bs etc. are operating before you set out. I know a number of them only open Apr-Sept.

Day 1: Glengariff to Adrigole

16km

Very hard day of walking as conditions underfoot were boggy after rainy summer. This took us over 5 hours with just a very brief lunch break. It felt like a lot longer than 16km. We stayed in the Hungry Hill Hostel in Adrigole which is in the perfect location as it is on the Beara Way (it is also a lovely hostel) – turn right when you reach the main road (R572) at the end of the walk and it is just 100m up the road. Be warned that there is nowhere to eat in Adrigole and the only shop (conveniently close to the hostel) closed at 6pm on the Saturday we arrived. Luckily we got there before 6.

A couple we met later in the week had taken over 8 hours to do that walk on a rainy day.



Day 2: Adrigole to Castletownbere

22km

This was a long day of walking – 7 hours incl ½ hour lunch – but the views are wonderful if you get a clear day. The terrain here was generally easier than the 1st day – however the route does seem to be unnecessarily lengthened taking you back up the hill when you can see the town below. We missed a signpost towards the end of the route which may have added a little to our walk.

Sea Breeze B&B was wonderful and set a very high standard. Its only disadvantage is that it is a little outside the town – when you come onto the R572 at the end of the walk, turn left up the hill back towards Glengariff. However Noralene was more than happy to drop us back into town which was really appreciated.



Day 3: Bere island

This was a very gentle day – we just took the ferry over to Bere island (10 min journey with lots of sailings during the day) and walked to the lighthouse and back. Bere island is a good size and you could do a good walk there if you wish. However we felt like having a rest day.



Day 4: Castletownbere to Eyries (via Allihies)

26.5km

This was a long day – 7 hours of walking excluding lunch. There is an option to go straight to Eyries which is clearly signposted along the route which would make for a much shorter route – if the weather had been bad we might have been tempted to take this. Again we had lovely views during the day. Allihies is famous for its copper mines and has a museum (which we didn’t visit) and lovely coffee shop (which we did – and enjoyed a hearty lunch). Sadly after lunch it is a bit of a steep uphill as you leave Allihies.

Eyries is a most gorgeous village, winning awards in the Tidy Towns each year, with its houses all painted in bright cheerful colours. We stayed in Coulagh Bay House which is really convenient. A highlight was dinner in the Bistro – booking is essential as it is very popular.



Day 5: Eyries to Lauragh

27km

Again this was a long day – 7 hours excluding lunch. Like day 4 there is no need to take a packed lunch as Ardgroom is half way along the route and has a café and pub. Lauragh does not have a village centre, spread out as it is over 1km of R571. We stayed in Mourlin Lodge which is convenient to the Beara Way (coming onto the R571, you will pass a pub which is sadly closed. Turn left on R571 and Mourlin Lodge is only a few hundred metres up the road). If you arrive early there is Pedals & Boots café beside the post office which I believe is lovely but it shuts at 5pm. Noreen in Mourlin Lodge cooked us a beautiful fish dinner by prior arrangement so all was good.



Day 6: Lauragh to Kenmare

25km

A lot of road walking here and we covered the distance quickly so it seemed like it was shorter than we had estimated – about 6 hours of walking including lunch. The off-road walking here – Knockagarrane & Derrysallagh – could have been better signed. We had a good day but I would not have been happy in overcast weather. About 6km outside Kenmare the route diverges at Dromoughty Lake with an option to head towards Bunane and a short cut back to Glengariff.



Day 7: Dromoughty Lake to Glengariff

19km

Rather than retracing 6km of road walking, we got a lift back to the fork in the road at Dromoughty Lake and started from there. When you reach the N71 the Way directs you back towards Kenmare for a few kilometres on the road until you get to Bunane and then takes you off the main road again. We missed the signs for Bunane and instead joined a looped walk that joins with the Beara Way. By doing this we took a few kilometres off our day but it was also more pleasant as the N71 is a very busy road not safe for walkers. We had a nice day of walking, mainly on small roads, going through a lovely park before reaching Glengariff.

Note: From Kenmare you can take an alternative route back to Glengariff by walking out past the Sheen Falls and after about 14km this reaches Bunane. However we had driven this previously and it is all on back roads with no views and did not appeal.

5/5
10/15/2015

Mike from Limerick

I did it section by section spread over a two year period of summer holidays using friends, bus, taxis or lifts to get to section start and walk back to section finish. Apart from section on main road into Kenmare from Lauragh section, it's mainly medieval roads, quiet country lane roads, cattle trails etc. Signposting is generally very good but bring a Beara Way map (I downloaded and printed them off as needed) and look out for improvement modifications that have not been updated in signage or map at the time of this review. If you have the right weather it's stunning as you have rivers, lakes, sea and mountains combined. Enjoy.
02/03/2015

William from Canada

This trail is absolutely stunning. I walked coast-to-coast across Ireland the summer before last. This included the Beara Way, and I did the whole trail. Very wild, very green AND very strenuous. The Beara Way is no stroll in the park, and should definitely not be underestimated! I was in Ireland during the 2013 heatwave, and luckily it let up before I got to the Beara. By then, the weather was perfectly normal, and the scenery was as green as ever. Villages were picturesque, and the people were very hospitable and flexible. The whole trail was well waymarked, which was fortunate because there were stretches where there was no track, so I had to scramble across spongy or uneven, rocky ground from post to post. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone who is physically fit.
08/25/2014

Rob from Netherlands

We walked Dursey Head to Kenmare as part of the E8. Very nice trail. Great nature, friendly people, fantastic villages. Some parts might be wet, exp. between Eyeries and Ardgroom, but because this was a dry summer, we had no problem at all. All waymarks are still OK.
08/11/2011

Egon from _none

This is a very nice way. We hiked this partially with our backpacks from Dursey Head to Killarney. There were many flowers, green grass and beautiful views. All people are friendly. In the villages are many colorful houses.



The whole road was very well marked.





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