A peninsula that falls between counties Kerry and Cork, bordered in the south by Bantry Bay and the north by Kenmare Bay, it houses mountains, ancient forests, sandy beaches, and more. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. We found this peninsula to be less touristy than Dingle and Iveragh.
What to See and Do
Drive the Ring of Beara. Glengarriff is a holiday resort town with fine food and art - visit Garnish Island by boat. Adrigole is home to the tallest waterfall in Ireland at Hungry Hill - it overlooks Berehaven Harbor. Take the R574 road up Healy Pass between the Sugarloaf Mountains and Hungry Hill; walk over two bridges and through a field right up to the base of the waterfall, a grand cascade over diagonal sheet of rock. Adrigole Arts is fine galleries with unique gifts for all - what most impressed me were the sculptures made of 5000-year-old bogwood. See sea caves at Cuas Pier. See the Hag of Beara. Visit Castletownbere, Ireland's largest white fishing port. Take a boat to Bere Island and see the Martello Tower and Ardnakinna Lighthouse, a 45-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Visit Dursey Island at peninsula's tip by cable car. Allihies is home to artists and a sandy beach with dunes. The Puxley family ran the copper mines here until 1921 - see the ruins of their 19th century castle, a mix of architectural styles from French chateaux to Italian villa. Ardgroom has two lakes Glenbeg and Derryvegal. The tallest Ogham stone in Europe is here - 4.7m (17 ft) tall; it can be found in Ballycrovane Harbour. Go through Lauragh and the Cloonee Loughs and on into Kenmare.
Do the Ring of Beara Walk, a long distance walking route that follows roads, bogs, and tracks to the Ogham stones, wedge graves, and ancient sites of the peninsula.
The Beara Way Cycle Route is a national cycling route on country roads. The entire route is 138 kms. You can begin the route in any town or village on the peninsula; just follow the signs with the bicycle symbol.
Where to Eat and Drink
Loop De Loop in Castletownbere has a new café with freshly made vegetarian wraps, fresh squeezed juices, and homemade soups. Taste in Castletownbere is a gourmet food and wine shops, stocking all your needs for a cliff side picnic. The Olde Bakery in Castletownbere prepares fine seafood dinners.
Where to Sleep
Rodeen Country House in Castletownbere is a subtropical garden overlooking Bantry Bay. For breakfast, proprietor and art-lover Ellen Gown prepares "fresh fruit crepe served with honey from our own bees and natural yogurt." Tel: 027 70158
How to get there
From Glengarriff, take the Ring of Beara drive west, beginning on R572.
From Kenmare, take the Ring of Beara drive west, beginning on R571.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
Bikes can be transported on the Irish Rail Network with a small additional fare for bike depending on the length of your journey.
When to go
April to October when the days are long and the weather is fine. Garnish Family Festival at beginning of August in Garnish. Castletownbere Festival of the Sea in early August. Bere Island Festival in mid-August. Allihies Sports Day in mid-August.