Walking – There are 2 Walks recognised by the National Waymarked Ways Committee in the Bantry area, namely Sheep’s Head Way and Beara Way. The Sheep’s Head Way is an 88km route which circles the whole of the Sheep’s Head from Bantry to Sheep’s Head at the end of the peninsula and back through Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus. This Walk was recognised in 1997 as ”The Best Walk in Ireland’ by the magazine “Walking World Ireland”. The Walking is mostly off road across open hillside and is well marked by oak posts and carved stone markers. There are also five Loop Walks which run north/south and can be used to lengthen or shorten the days’ walking. The guide book and map of the Sheep’s Head Way is available at the Tourist Office and local shops. The Beara Way is about 165km stretching from Kenmare to Glengarriff, west to Dursey and back to Kenmare on the north side of the peninsula. There are numerous loops for those who just want a short circular walk in scenic surroundings. There are numerous guides available for Walking in West Cork on the Sheep’s Head and the Beara Peninsula
A a peaceful and unspoilt peninsula, which has some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery Enjoy a holiday on Sheep’s Head – it is a peaceful unspoilt peninsula, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Ireland. Because of our proximity to the Gulf Stream, we also have perhaps the mildest climate in Ireland – our daffodils are usually out in January! Many visitors come year after year to the Sheep’s Head because they love its idyllic quietness; there are no traffic jams, where they can easily get to know local people. Is it any wonder we always greet them with “Welcome home again”. Sheep’s head is a place to get away from it all, to just relax and unwind, which is still not far from other more crowded visitor centers. There is a full range of accommodation available – award winning Farm Guesthouses, Bed & Breakfasts, Self-Catering Houses and Camping.
Sheep’s Head things to do:
Walk the Sheep’s Head Way, winner of a Waterford Crystal Walker Award. Chosen as the best walk in Ireland by Country Walking magazine, this 55 mile Long Distance Walk has a huge variety of terrain all with beautiful views, and there are many long and short loop walks available. See our map/guide, which is for sale in local pubs and shops.
Visit the many historic tombs and monuments on our peninsula – see our map for details.
There is a magnificent “Ring” drive starting outside Bantry along the Goat’s Path to Kilcrohane, back then through Ahakista (stop off at beautiful Air India Memorial), then on to Durrus. Contrast the sheer cliffs and stark beauty of the north side (the sunsets are incredible) with the more lush south side where the road runs right alongside Dunmanus Bay.
Take a trip to Carbery Island to visit our seal colony, and on the way back catch a mackerel! For the serious angler, all day sea fishing is available.
Have dinner in one of our renowned restaurants or enjoy a simple good values meal in one of our many guesthouses. Listen to Irish Music and have a pint in one of our friendly pubs!
There are many fishing and bathing spots, both sandy and shingley beaches, scattered throughout the peninsula. Tennis courts and children’s playgrounds are also available.
Visit a beautiful kept private garden open to the public.
Or just enjoy the peace and tranquillity amongst stunning surroundings and friendly people. Rare enough in today’s world, as we’re sure you’ll agree.
The Mizen Peninsula, at Ireland’s most south-westerly point, is worldwide renown for the beauty of its rugged landscape and ancient heritage. A tour of the Mizen Ring gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the various strands that make the Mizen unique. From geology, flora, birds and fauna to the influence of man and his history on the landscape.
Travelling west from Schull you drive along the bog road built originally in the eighteenth century to carry butter to Cork for export to the new colonies.
As you approach Toormore on your left you will see the Altar Dolmen, a Neolithic tomb. On the right just after that is The Altar Church built during the Famine as relief work. In the grounds of the Altar Restaurant a recent find was a Wedge Tomb from the Bronze Age.
You continue on through the town lands of Kealfadda, Ballyrisode and Ballydevlin until you reach Goleen. This village was built during the nineteenth century at a crossroads where a cattle fair was held. You will see that the street is very wide and all the houses were originally built as shops. There is a hidden harbour at Heron’s Cove, down to the left in the village, which gives the village its name ‘Goilín’, ‘little inlet’. Although the harbour dries at low tide, giving great feeding for a variety of wildlife including a fox and a pheasant, there is a deepwater quay at the entrance to accommodate fishing boats and yachts.
Crookhaven Harbour is as picturesque as it was useful being a large sheltered harbour. You pass the old Roadstone Quarry on the side of the mountain, which provided metalling for the roads of Wales until 1945. There are numerous Bronze Age field monuments in the hills around Crookhaven. The Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map 88 will indicate their whereabouts for you. The village of Crookhaven has a distinguished history as the last port of call for ships going to and from America. Over the centuries ships stocked up with provisions here before tackling the Atlantic Ocean. All the shipping lines had agents here to tell the ships in which port their cargo had been sold. In the late 1900s it was said that you could cross the harbour on the decks of boats. 700 people lived and worked in the village against the 29 permanent residents today. Marconi came here to try to get his first radio message across the Atlantic and he fitted the first telegraphic equipment to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse to communicate with the passing ships.
On your way back to Barleycove, you can take the road up to Brow Head from Galleycove beach. Looking back east from the top of Brow Head you can see Roaringwater Bay, Cape Clear and some of Carbery’s Hundred Isles. The Signal Tower was part of a chain built in 1804 in fear of a French invasion to give fast communications all round the coast. The original signalling was done with a system of flags and blackballs on masts. Brow Head or Mallavogue was a vibrant mining area in the nineteenth century and you can still see the remains of the mines and the miners’ houses.Barleycove
Barleycove is a large sandy beach backed by sand dunes. The sand dunes were thrown up in the tidal wave that swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. Today they have been partially eroded but they are protected like much of the coast round this area as European designated Special Areas of Conservation. The road goes to the east of the beach across a causeway bisecting Lissagriffin Lakes and at the T-junction you turn left to Mizen Head.
Mizen Head Visitor Centre has been developed by a local tourism co-operative at Ireland’s most southwesterly point. They have a lease on the Irish Light Signal Station which was built in 1905 to protect shipping from the cliffs in fog. It is a spectacular location with its folded rocks and high cliffs. The Signal Station is on an island joined to the mainland with a fine example of an Arched bridge. If you have plenty of puff you can go up the 99 Steps but there is a path for the less energetic! At the top of the cliffs near the car park a new building has been added. Here you may buy a ticket, visit the Shop or the Café, experience the exciting exhibits about modern technology and Safety at Sea, the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, Marconi in Crookhaven and the Automatic Weather Station. Well worth a visit!
Three Castle Island Another gem of the Mizen Peninsula is Three Castle Head where the Three Castles, which are three Tower Houses with, curtain walling. Built in the 15th. Century on the site of a Bronze Age Promontory Fort, the Castles stand sentinel beside a cliff top lake. Access is restricted at the moment because of the unstable state of the castles, but it is worth asking if it is possible to visit.
Dunmanus, continuing the journey round the Mizen Ring, you take the road back towards Goleen and turn left onto the Coast Road by Lissagriffin Lakes. As you wind up the road the view to the north suddenly opens up to show Dunmanus Bay, Sheep’s Head and in the distance the Beara Peninsula and the mountains of Kerry. Looking down to the sea you pass Dhurode Copper Mine with the round stone built Explosives Magazine. All along the road you will see signs of the mines. You reach Dunmanus Castle, an O’Mahony stronghold from the 15th. Century, beside the little harbour. A short drive from there takes you back onto the Durrus/Bantry road.
Ballydehob takes it name form the Irish Béal an dá Chab, meaning “the ford at the mouth of two rivers”. Situated in West Cork 63 miles from Cork City and 8 miles west of Skibbereen, Ballydehob is a very colourful little village and is the home to many artists and craft shops.
Ballydehob is situated on the South West coast of Ireland, about 65 miles from Cork City on the N71. It lies about 20 miles east of Mizen Head , Europe’s most westerly point. Here where the gulf stream practically touches the coast, Ballydehob snuggles in the embrace of the surrounding hills. The village is a patchwork of colourful gables, with antique shops, craft galleries, a bookshop, and many good places to eat and drink. Ballydehob also has the reputation of nurturing the Arts, and is home to several writers, artists, sculptors, and craftspeople practicing various disciplines. The local area is rich in natural beauty, with stunning views of the Islands of
Roaring Water Bay and the fastnet rock to be seen in the locality. There is a rich diversity of wildlife to be found in the area with many rare and unusual plants. As you enter the town from the east you will see a the 12 arch viaduct, that was used by West Cork Rail in the last century. At the west end of the village there is a monument of the late Danno Mahony known as The Irish Whip he won the NWA World title from Jim Londos in Boston on June 30th 1935.
A small but very attractive and lively town nestling between the foothills of Mount Gabriel and Schull Harbour. It is one of the most popular resorts of West Cork, especially to visiting yachtsmen. It is a good place to search out your ceramic sculpture or batik wall hanging. And you’ll eat well in this corner of Ireland! Here you will be most welcome to visit the Planetarium (the only one in the Republic of Ireland) where Star Shows are given during the visitor season. Mount Gabriel rises above the village. The two large white globes on the summit, like giant golf balls teed up for some celestial golfer, are for aircraft tracking. On its slopes can be found the audits where Bronze Age miners worked the copper deposits. Some of the things they made – spear heads, axes and intricately fashioned ornaments – may be seen in the National Museum in Dublin. Beyond Schull there are magnificent sandy beaches excellent for the children at Ballyrisode, Galley Cove, White Strand and Barley Cove. The nearby village of Crookhaven is worth a visit with O’Sullivans Bar situated on the harbour. There is plenty of interest for the railway historian Schull being the terminus of the Schull and Skibberreen Railway (really a road-side tramway) which closed in 1947. The viaduct at Ballydehob still remains together with several other features.