Description of Trail
The Beara Peninsula is a 48km long mountainous finger, shared by counties Kerry and Cork, stretching into the Atlantic Ocean. Quite remote, it has remained perhaps the most unspoilt part of the south west region, and like the peninsulas to the north, is a magical world of mountains and lakes surrounded by a picturesque seacoast. The main industries are farming and fishing, with the latter being based in the port of Castletownbere. The Beara Way was established by a local voluntary group in the early 1990s as a co-operative involving upwards of four hundred landowners to augment the revenues coming from a declining fishing industry through tourism. It is a 196km circular route through magnificently rugged mountain and seacoast scenery which frequently passes by rich evidence of a heavily populated prehistoric past in the form of standing stones and burial monuments. There are also many fine villages, such as Allihies and Eyries, along the route. Terrain consists of mainly quiet tarmac roads, bog roads, cliff and woodland paths and open moorland, some sections of which can be quite rough and remote. The total aggregate ascent is nearly 5300m over the whole route and includes some short but steep climbs. Availability of overnight accommodation is generally good along the route although some of the longer stretches between villages may require careful planning. A loop of the route circumnavigates Bere Island with its great forts, and a spur takes you out (by an exciting trip on Ireland’s only cable-car) to sparsely inhabited Dursey Island.