Beara Way, 12-day Walking Tour

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Detail

The Beara Way is a long distance walking route of 196km (120 miles) circumnavigating the Beara Peninsula in the southwest of Ireland. Beara is a quieter than its northern neighbour, the Kerry Way, but is equally beautiful and offers superb walking.

Hiking is through low rounded hills, walking old bog roads, exploring abandoned copper mines. It is a largely undiscovered area, hilly but not mountainous, with some good open hill-walking sections. The rocky coastline of the Beara Peninsula is a walking holiday dream. Visit Dursey Island by cable car, walk the green roads of Bere Island and sample the best fresh fish from the port of Castletownbere. The full trail starts at and finishes in Kenmare.

The Beara Way follows old green roads, boggy mountain trails and country roads. It is a very well marked route, signposted with numbered wooden or plastic yellow markers and road signs. This tour consists of 25% quiet country road walking.

This 12-day walking tour walks the full Beara Way route, starting and ending in Kenmare town, including walking to Dursey Island.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • Bed and Breakfast in comfortable, friendly, locally-run Guest Houses
  • Daily Luggage Transfers
  • Detailed Route Notes, Maps & GPX Tracks
  • 24/7 Support Line
  • Where to Eat & Regional Reading List
  • Packing List, Travel Advice & more!

Optional Extras

  • Airport Transfers
  • Day Trips & Excursions
  • Extended or Customised Itineraries

Pricing

  • Per Person Sharing Room €1155
  • Single Supplement €385
  • Solo Traveller Price €1760

Tour Highlights

This 12-day walking tour walks the full Beara Way route, starting and ending in Kenmare town, including walking to Dursey Island.

  • Coastal route with old ringforts, copper mines & several outstanding stone circles
  • Dereen Gardens on Killmackillogue Harbour
  • Bere Island & the Island Loop Ways
  • Ballycrovane Ogham Stone
  • St. Mary's Abbey on Dursey Island
  • Allihies Copper Mining Museum and Dangan Rocks coastline
  • Pulleen Sea Caves

Difficulty Level

This tour is rated MODERATE for most days with two free days that include a RELAXED option. Day 11 is STRENUOUS.

See how we determine levels of difficulty for each of our hiking tours by visiting our FAQ page.

  • Relaxed: 12-18km (8-11mi), 3-4hrs
  • Moderate: 16-23km (10-14mi), 4-7hrs
  • Strenuous: 22-30km (14-19mi), 5-9hrs

Itinerary

Day 1: Travel to Kenmare

Travel to this lovely town on the Roughty River and the head of Kenmare Bay – the name translates as Ceann Mara, the Head of the Sea.

Overnight in Kenmare.

Day 2: Kenmare to Glengarriff

The ascent between Esk and Barraboy Mountain crosses the border between counties Cork and Kerry and opens a vista of Bantry Bay. Walk to Dromahassig Waterfall, through the glen of the Baureagh River before climbing to the pass. Descend to the Nature Reserve of natural forest that makes Glengarriff the “rough glen”.

Distance 19km (12mi). Ascent 350m (1,158ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Glengarriff.

Day 3: Glengarriff to Adrigole

Walk through the Glengarriff woods and Glenlough Mountains, following old tracks alongside Coomarkane River, climbing the flank of the Sugarloaf, skirting mountain lakes to descend from Mass Mount and the Holy Well. Tonight’s evening meal will be in your guesthouse.

Distance 16km (10mi). Ascents 510m (1,673ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight near Adrigole.

Day 4 – Adrigole to Castletownbere

Wonderful views over Bantry Bay and a series of pre-historic sites close to the route. Cross the rugged slopes of Hungry Hill by bog roads, farm tracks and minor roads. Castletownbere, nestled in the lee of Bere Haven Harbour and sheltered by Bere Island, is the principal town of the peninsula and the largest whitefish port in Ireland.

Distance 22km (14mi). Ascents 450m (1,476ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Castletownbere.

Day 5 – Free Day in Castletownbere

Free Day in Castletownbere to explore Bere Island and follow the Island Loop Ways. Walk through open sheep farming country, visiting Ardnakinna Lighthouse and a Martello Tower. Or on the mainland, visit Dunboy Castle, home to the O’Sullivan clan who ruled the area for three centuries.

Distance 18km (11mi) or 24km (15mi). Ascents 250m (820ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Castletownbere.

Day 6: Castletownbere to Allihies

Walk through the Slieve Miskish Mountains. Some of today’s route passes through conifer forests. The Way crosses open hill terrain and is under the peak of Knockgour at 481m. You will pass a ringfort – an ancient farm enclosure, which would have served as a home for people and animals. Allihies is a colourful coastal village, surrounded by the remains of copper mines – crushed stones from the mines formed the beach.

Distance 16km (10mi). Ascents 220m (722ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight in Allihies.

Day 7: Free Day in Allihies/Dursey

Explore Allihies and the copper mines or take the cable car to Dursey, where you can explore deserted farming villages and stunning cliffs. The Dursey cable car is the only one of its type in Ireland. It was constructed in the 1973 and crosses a 200m strait approximately 25m above sea level. Your hosts will transfer you to the cable car station where you can walk back to Allihies.

Distance from Allihies via transfer to cable car is 12km (7.5mi).

You may wish to add walking on Dursey Island for a longer day.

Overnight in Allihies.

Day 8: Allihies to Eyeries

Walk the Beara Way to Eyeries, through abandoned copper mine country with wonderful views over Coulagh bay and north to the Ring of Kerry.

Distance 20km (12mi). Ascents 500m (1,640ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Eyeries.

Day 9: Eyeries to Ardgroom

Venturing inland, the route takes you past Lough Fadda above Ardgroom Harbour and the beautiful isolated coast of Cleanderry and Bird Point. If you have time, the Pulleen Sea caves are worth a visit.

Distance 14km (9mi). Ascents 240m (787ft). Approximate walking time 4 hours.

Overnight in Ardgroom.

Day 10: Ardgroom to Lauragh

A line of prehistoric monuments accompanies you today. At Killmackillogue Harbour and Lauragh, visit Dereen House and Gardens, more than 60 acres of sub tropical garden and woodland with wonderful views.

Distance 15km (9mi). Ascents 200m (656ft). Approximate walking time 4 hours.

Overnight in Lauragh. Dinner tonight is in your guesthouse.

Day 11: Lauragh to Kenmare

Climb to a saddle at 150m between the hills of Knockatee and Knockanoughanish and then higher through open hillside. Superb views of the Cloonee Lakes descending to Lough Inchiquin and a stone circle from the Neolithic era 3500 – 2000 B.C. Climb the Inchiquin valley, past isolated farmhouses and onto a saddle at 370m.

Distance 24km (15mi). Ascents 470m (1,542ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight in Kenmare.

Day 12: Departure from Kenmare

Scheduled bus services from Kenmare to Killarney or Cork for onward connections.

Map

REVIEWS

July 2021 – A. Lees, Auckland, New Zealand
I want to especially thank you for making this trip happen and coordinating all the arrangements and information I needed. It’s been special to visit Ireland,  and this part of Ireland.  Thanks for your organisation and warmth.

August 2019 – F. Havermann, The Netherlands
Just touching base to say that all is going well.  I had a great walk today from Adrigole to Castletownbere. The wind was at my back (in line with that lovely Irish blessing) and no rain . I really enjoyed Margaret’s hospitality,  home-made food, fresh water with lemon (I drank that all day – truly quenches a thirst), and the views from her place.  Of course,  last night was special as you could see the full moon reflected in the harbour!

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