Castletownbere & Around
Busy Castletownbere (Baile Chais Bhéara) is a fishing port first and a tourist town second. And that gives it great appeal for those looking for the 'real' Ireland, although that's not to say it doesn't have its popular sights, notably the world-famous pub McCarthy's Bar. On Main St and the Square, you'll find ATMs as well as cafes, pubs and grocery stores.
Northside of the Beara
The entire north side is the scenic highlight of the Beara Peninsula. A series of minor roads, often steep and twisting single-lane tracks with few passing places, snake around the ins and outs of the rugged coastline. Boulder-strewn fields tumble dramatically towards the ocean and it all feels blissfully remote – your only company along some stretches are flocks of sheep.
Eyeries to Lauragh
Heading north and east from Allihies, the wild coastal road (R575), lined with fuchsias and rhododendrons, twists and turns for about 12km to Eyeries. This cluster of brightly coloured houses overlooking Coulagh Bay is often used as a film set. The village is also home to Milleens cheese, from pioneering producer Veronica Steele. She welcomes visitors to her farm; phone ahead.
Tiny Dursey Island, at the end of the peninsula, is reached by Ireland's only cable car, a rickety 1960s contraption which sways precariously 30m above Dursey Sound. In a perfect photo op, livestock take precedence over humans in the queue. It runs continuously in summer, and at set times only the rest of the year – check the website for details. The island, just 6.
Glengarriff to Castletownbere
The folded bedding of the peninsula's underlying bedrock becomes evident as you drive west from Glengarriff towards Castletownbere. On the highest hills, Sugarloaf Mountain and Hungry Hill, rock walls known as 'benches' snake backwards and forwards across the slopes. They can make walking on these mountains quite challenging, and dangerous in fog.