explore Beara

20 Inspiring Things to do on the Beara Peninsula, West Cork

With its rugged coastline, unexplored countryside, and myriad potential adventures, Beara is one of Cork’s 3 southerly peninsulas (the other two being Sheep’s Head and Mizen Head). Staying on Beara during your time in West Cork offers an idyllic blend of off-the-beaten-track escapism and a central base from which to begin your adventures.

Without further ado, here are our top recommendations for things to do in Beara during your time here.

20 things to do in Beara

01. The Ring of Beara

Far less travelled than its well-documented neighbors, the Ring of Kerry, the Ring of Beara is a driving route that boasts all the natural beauty and far fewer crowds and tour buses. The Ring of Beara is scenic, remote, and takes you along a route with local landmarks like Hungry Hill, Allihies, and Garnish Island at your fingertips.

02. The Beara Way

Acting as a walking or cycling alternative to driving the Ring of Beara, The Beara Way is a 206km loop that starts and finishes in Glengarriff. The route, which takes you all around the peninsula, over to Bere Island, and down into Kerry, typically takes about a week and a half to complete.

03. Healy Pass

Scenic Drive

An absolutely stunning drive that our B&B is located just at the bottom of, The Healy Pass is one route you don’t want to miss during your time in Beara. Staggering heights, seriously bending roads, and sheep that aren’t afraid of no car, all included.

04. Derreen Gardens

Nestled amongst the Caha Mountains, Derreen Gardens span 60 acres of woodland walkways, sea views, and subtropical plants. During the summer months, you can enjoy great coffee and lovely homemade treats. This is one of our favourite places to visit!

05. Gleninchaquin Park & Uragh Stone Circle

Located just over the Cork/Kerry border in Kenmare, Gleninchaquin Park features an adventure-worthy mix of woods, log bridges, lakes, rocky passages, carved stone steps, and hikes up into the hills. It also acts as the gateway to the historic Uragh Stone Circle.

06. Garnish Island

Garnish Island is a subtropical island situated just off the coast of Glengarriff. On the island, you’ll be greeted by immaculately maintained gardens full of subtropical blooms, as well as untouched woodland full of walking trails. Hidden within is a historic Martello tower, which you can climb to the top of via a tiny spiral staircase for fabulous views of Glengarriff Harbour and Bantry Bay.

07. Bantry Market

West Cork's Largest Market

Every Friday, the town of Bantry plays host to its local farmer’s market - an event steeped in tradition and history for the local community. Find slow food stalls for a bite to eat on the go, farm-fresh produce, gourmet ingredients to bring home with you, handmade crafts, clothes, vintage, and more. The market runs every week throughout the year but is at its peak during the summer months.

08. Glengarriff Food Trucks

One of West Cork’s newer market offerings can be found in the car park right next to Quill’s in Glengarriff village. From March through till the end of the summer, you can find a growing selection of some of the area’s finest tasty treats, from homemade burgers and pizzas to delicious vegan and veggie meals, authentic French crepes, fancy cheese toasties and the best coffee!

09. Glengarriff Nature Reserve

One of Ireland’s finest examples of an untouched forest, Glengarriff’s nature reserve is a sprawling woodland filled with native trees, rivers, meadows, and wildlife. There are a number of walks you can do within the reserve, from quick 1km strolls along the river banks to lengthier rambles through its further flung corners. Participate in parkrun, a free 5km (3-mile) run or walk taking place every Saturday morning at 9:30 am. Open to everyone, including buggies and dogs, this initiative, driven by volunteers, promotes both physical and mental well-being. You can drop in and out as you see fit and you only need to register if you’d like your time recorded.

10. Dursey Island Boat Trips

Founded in 2019, Dursey Boat Trips provides an exciting opportunity for Beara visitors to explore this breathtaking peninsula through captivating boat excursions enriched with narratives, history, and wildlife encounters.Our current offerings include two distinct trips, the Bull Rock Trip and the Castletownbere Harbour Trip, operating seasonally from April to September.

11. Kayaking with seals

If getting a look at some local wildlife is more your speed, renting a kayak in Adrigole, Glengarriff, or Bantry is a great way to do so. Kayak rental is usually done by the hour and whichever local business you choose to go with will be able to recommend the best spots to paddle to in order to catch a glimpse of the seals.

12. Visit Bere Island

The largest of West Cork’s Islands, Bere Island makes for an interesting day trip thanks to its scenic ferry ride, countless country roads, and historic background.

13. Golfing

The Beara is home to 3 golf courses, including Glengarriff Golf Club (9-hole course) Berehaven Golf Club (9-hole course) and Bantry Golf Club, which boasts an 18-hole course on 170 acres of woodland and coastline.

14. Bantry House

Bantry House is a gorgeous stately home located just on the outskirts of Bantry town itself. The house, which has been open to visitors since the 1940s, is filled with antiques and perfectly preserved rooms that hark back to its original design by the Earl of Bantry. Outside, visitors can stroll through the Italianate gardens complete with a maze, fountains, walks through the woods, and the famous 100 steps that lead to the very top of the property and offer the best views of Bantry Bay. 

15. Dursey Island

One of the few inhabited islands that lie off the southwest coast of Ireland. Famed for its over-water cable car ride onto the island, Dursey is one offshore spot not to miss during your time in West Cork.

16. Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Meditation Centre

Set right on the cliffs near the end of the Beara Peninsula, Dzogchen Beara is one of the highlights of the area. While the facilities there include an array of meditation rooms and retreat spaces, you can also visit for the day to simply walk around the serene gardens, enjoy the unrivalled sea views, and grab a tea and scone in the cafe.

17. The Caha Pass

Follow the winding, climbing road out of Glengarriff village up the Caha Mountains and you’ll come to the pass of the same name - a spiralling road through no man’s land and a ride through some ancient stone tunnels before dropping down the other side of the mountain towards Kenmare.

18. Molly Gallivan’s Cottage | Traditional Farm

Shortly after passing through the Caha Tunnels, you’ll come to a rest point at Molly Gallivan's Cottage. Inside an authentic old Irish cottage, you’ll find all kinds of local souvenirs such as sheepskins, Arran knits, locally made woodware, and Claddagh rings.

19. Hike Hungry Hill

For those of you with a taste for outdoor adventure, hiking Hungry Hill is one you won’t want to miss. Not only does the mountain offer a selection of challenging hikes across its rugged face, but you’ll also find access to The Mare’s Tail, the tallest waterfall to be found not only in Ireland but in all of the UK.

20. Allihies

At the end of the Beara Peninsula, Allihies is a picturesque spot that’s home to a sandy beach, a popular camping area, a historic copper mine, and a well-kept, colourful little village.

While staying with us at Mossie’s, you’re perfectly situated to explore everything on this list and more. Don’t hesitate to ask us for seasonal details regarding any of the tips we’ve listed here!