Beara Way

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On the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a long-distance trail 128 miles long forming a circular route around the Beara Peninsula that begins and ends in Glengarriff, County Cork, and runs also through County Kerry. It is typically completed in nine days.[1] It is designated as a 'National Waymarked Trail' by the National Trails Office of the Irish Sports Council and is managed by the Beara Tourism and Development Association.


The Beara Tourism and Development Association began work on planning and developing the Beara Way in 1991 with funding from the West Cork County Development Team, Irish Sports Council and Bord Fáilte.[2] Construction was carried out by workers on social employment schemes.[2]

The completed trail was formally opened in June 1996.[3] A major upgrade of the trail was completed in 2009 and involved the construction of 20 bridges, 200 stiles, 15 information boards and 30 plaques.[4] A review of the National Waymarked Trails in 2010 found the Beara Way to be one of the most heavily used of the trails.


Beara Way waymark - - 263740.jpg

Starting at Glengarriff, the Beara Way enters the Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve and then climbs into the Caha Mountains to an altitude of 1,640.4 feet (500.0 metres) as it traverses the pass north of Sugarloaf mountain before descending to reach the village of Adrigole.[5]

From Adrigole, the trail follows the southern flanks of Hungry Hill and the Slieve Mish Mountains to reach Castletownbere.[6]

A spur route makes a circuit of Bere Island, which is connected to Castletownbere by a ferry service.

The route from Castletownbere to Allihies is via an old cattle droving path. Copper mining was the main activity in Ahillies for many years and the remains of abandoned mine working dot the landscape.

Another circular spur route starts from Allihies and brings the trail to the very tip of the Beara Peninsula where a cable car connects the trail with Dursey Island.

From Ahillies, the trail follows a miners' track and climbs the copper-rich crags above the village, crossing a mountain pass to reach Eyeries. A ridge along the coast connects Eyeries with Ardgroom. The trail then crosses into County Kerry to reach Tuosist, by way of Lauragh.

From Tuosist, the Way crosses the northern slopes of Knockagarrane and then passes between Clonee Lough and Lough Inchiquin before crossing a mountain pass. The route diverges here, continuing north to Kenmare or south to Bonane. The final stage returns to Glengarriff via Bonane Heritage Park and Esk mountain.[7] A spur route connects Glengarriff with Kealkill, Gougane Barra and Ballingeary.[8]

Intersecting and connecting paths

The route forms part of Beara-Breifne Way a walking and cycling route under development, intended to run from the Beara Peninsuala to Breifne; the County Leitrim / County Cavan area, following the line of Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare's march in the aftermath of the Battle of Kinsale in 1602.

The Beara Way also forms the start (or end, depending on direction travelled) of 'European walking route E8', a conceptual route from Dursey Island to Turkey.[9] The E8 joins the Kerry Way via a link route along roads between Bonane and Kenmare.

The Mealagh Valley Walking Route is a route 12½ miles long linking the Beara Way with the Sheep's Head Way.[10]

Outside links


  1. The Beara Way – Irish Trails (Irish Sports Council)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Festival of the sea in Castletownbere again". The Southern Star (Skibbereen): p. 23. 30 July 1994. 
  3. "Beara Way walking route is launched". The Southern Star (Skibbereen): p. 22. 29 June 1996. 
  4. "Tourism Association reviews 2009". The Southern Star (Skibbereen): p. 27. 9 January 2010. 
  5. "Glengarriff" (pdf). Beara Way. Beara Tourism. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  6. "Adrigole" (pdf). Beara Way. Beara Tourism. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  7. Somers 2008, p. 49.
  8. "Kealkill". Beara Way. Beara Tourism. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  9. "E8". European Ramblers Association. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  10. Roche, Barry (26 April 2010). "West Cork walking trails join to make a 500 km route". The Irish Times (Dublin): p. 2. 
Long-distance footpaths in the Republic of Ireland

National Waymarked Trails:   Ballyhoura WayBarrow WayBealach na Gaeltachta, Dún na nGallBeara WayBlackwater WayBluestack WayBurren WayCavan WayCroagh Patrick Heritage TrailDingle WayDublin Mountains WayEast Clare WayEast Munster WayGrand Canal WayHymany WayKerry WayLough Derg WayMid Clare WayMiners Way and Historical TrailMonaghan WayMulteen WayNore Valley WayNorth Kerry WayOffaly WayRoyal Canal WaySheep's Head WaySlieve Bloom WaySlieve Felim WaySligo WaySouth Leinster WaySuck Valley WayTáin WayTipperary Heritage WayWestern WayWestmeath WayWicklow Way

Greenways:   Boyne GreenwayDublin-Galway GreenwayGreat Southern TrailGreat Western Greenway

Others:   Bangor TrailMalin to Mizen