Introducing Beara Peninsula (Ring of Beara)
After Kerry and Dingle, the Beara Peninsula is the third major 'ring' (circular road around a peninsula) in the west. A small part of the peninsula lies in Kerry, but is covered here for convenience.
You can easily drive the 137km around the coast in one day, but you would miss the spectacular Healy Pass Road (R574), which cuts across the peninsula from Cork to Kerry. In fact, if pressed for time, skip the rest and do the pass.
The south side, along Bantry Bay, is a series of working fishing villages. The north side, in contrast, is a stunner, with craggy roads in and out of the nooks and crannies of the peninsula. Many are off the tourist trail.
Other highlights include a thrillingly wobbly cable car at the tip of the peninsula out to tiny Dursey Island, and exhilarating hill walking requiring some skill and commitment, as well as proper clothing and navigational experience.
The 196km Beara Way is a signposted walk linking Glengarriff with Kenmare (in Kerry) via Castletownbere, Bere Island, Dursey Island and the north side of the peninsula. The 138km Beara Way Cycle Route takes a similar direction, passing through all the villages on Beara via small lanes.
The following section starts in Glengarriff and travels clockwise to Kenmare.