Sheep's Head Way

From 8th July, due to tree harvesting on the route of the Sheep's Head Way at Barnagowlanes, the section over Mullaghmesha has been temporarily re-routed via the Mealagh Valley Community Centre and Ards, re-joining the route at Kealkil, and the same route will be in place for those travelling in the opposite direction. Please follow the diversion signs. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.
***No dogs are allowed on the Sheep's Head Way***

County Cork
2 reviews
Grade Strenuous
Length 171.8 km
Time 6 days
Format Loop
Ascent 2190 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Bantry West
Finish Point
Bantry West
Nearest Town to Start Bantry
Grid Ref. V 994 486
Lat. and Long. 51.68096, -9.45466

Sheep's Head is the narrowest of the fingers of land that extend from the south west mainland of Ireland out into the Atlantic, between Bantry Bay and Dunmanus Bay. The Sheep's Head Way is 175km length in total. It is made up of the 88km circular walking route beginning in the town of Bantry in County Cork and running out along the north coast of the peninsula to the scenic lighthouse at the very tip before returning along the south side, passing through the pretty villages of Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus, with the extensions to Drimoealgue and Kealkill to the north providing the additional 87km. The narrowness of the peninsula means that you are never far from the glorious Atlantic Ocean when you walk, even when on the outward stretch when you climb to the route's highest point, 300 metres above sea level, on the heathery Seefin ridge. The terrain is very varied, and includes old boreens, open grassy and heathery moorland, field paths, quiet country roads and some short stretches of woodland paths. The aggregate ascent over the whole route is 2460m, which includes a few long ascents. In good weather those who like the uplands can extend the ridge section of the route, or use a number of alternative loops. The remains of an old copper mine, a blow hole, stone circles, standing stones, high cliffs, a Napoleonic signal tower and old churches are some of the varied attractions to be discovered along the way, while careful observance and a lot of patience may be rewarded by the sighting of dolphins and whales off the westernmost tip of the headland. There are also some shorter loop walks connected to the Sheep's Head Way.


Car parking
At Start/Finish - on street in Bantry

28 kms or 31% of the Way follows local roads.
In case of emergency:
Bantry Garda Station: [027] 50045
Bantry Hospital: [027] 50133
Goleen Coast & Cliff Rescue: [028] 35318
Or dial 999 or 112 and ask for the appropriate emegency service

Map Guides

Map Guides

A Guide to The Sheep's Head Way Guide and A Map of The Sheep's Head Way - The Sheep's Head Way Ltd.

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 85 and 88
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

Daily bus service from Cork to Bantry and on Saturdays from Bantry to Durrus, Ahakista, Kilcrohane. Check up to date timetables at Bus Eireann or call (021) 508188.
Bantry Rural Transport: Please check locally for timetables [027] 52727 .
Hackneys: There are numerous hackneys available - please ask locally.
Cork has an international airport and a ferryport at Ringaskiddy which connects with Swansea in Wales, and St. Malo, Roscoff and Le Havre in France.


Mary C from Cork

Did this trail recently, Bantry to Bantry. Beautiful views and not too much road walking. Recommend bringing some cash with you as not all shops on the route take card. Half way along the North side of the peninsula when you leave the road to walk along the cliffs there is an ancient cottage with a door and roof, Thady's cottage I think where you can stop to eat or refill your water at the well. Shout out to the shop owner in Kilcrohane who helped us out! 2 of us went and we wild camped for 3 nights. So it took us 3 full days walking and then a couple of hours on the morning of day 4. Fairly OK finding spots to camp.

Patricia from United Kingdom

Just returned from two wonderful weeks in the Sheep's Head (6-20 Sept 2014) and wanted to thank all concerned with the Sheep's Head Way walking route. Through devising our own loop walks or just doing there-and-backs we managed to cover the Bantry to Ahakista section (via the lighthouse). Thank you to all the landowners who allow access to their land. We walked the Dingle Way two years ago and whilst it is great, it could be even better if large parts of it weren't closed off to walkers. The SHW is much more welcoming to walkers.

Thanks too to all those responsible for way-marking which was excellent. You've gone to a lot of trouble to make sure the route is well-marked. We also appreciated the clearly marked parking areas. I'm scared of dogs so I particularly like the fact that the SHW is dog-free! We really appreciated your paths, your unspoilt landscapes and your spectacular views and wanted to thank everybody who made it possible.

Hoping to return next year to do the bits we missed!

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