In the South West of Ireland, five peninsulas, separated by deep bays, protrude into the wild North Atlantic. From north to south, these peninsulas are Dingle, Iveragh, Beara, Sheep’s Head and the Mizen. Beara, (Irish: Béarra), lies between Kenmare Bay to the north and Bantry Bay on the south and is perhaps the least well known, albeit the most spectacular, of the five peninsulas.
Beara is bounded at its most westerly point by Dursey Island, which is linked to the mainland by Ireland’s only cable car. The N71 Killarney-Cork road, between Kenmare in the north, and Glengarriff in the south forms the eastern boundary of Beara.
The Beara Peninsula is an integral part of the Wild Atlantic Way. From Glengarriff, the route follows the northern shore of Bantry Bay through Castletownbere, Ireland’s foremost white fish fishing port, to Dursey Sound and Dursey Island returning along the southern shore of Kenmare Bay to Kenmare and then via the N71 to Glengarriff. All told, a distance of some 170 km, including the turn-offs to be explored such as the overlook of Killmackillogue and Kilcatherine Point. The trip will take around 5 hours to drive but should not be rushed for as well as admiring the stupendous scenery, there is far more to see and do.
Glengarriff, with its abundance of accommodation is perhaps the ideal location from which to explore Beara. The Gulf Stream, and the micro-climate allows for lush vegetation and the timeless air of Beara allows nature to set the pace. With harbours, coves and colourful towns there’s plenty to do and see. Like watercolours made real, the towns and villages of Beara seem to have sprung from a dream. Visit castle ruins, archaeological sites; and take in one of West Cork’s stunning sunsets.