Off The Beaten Track: Priest's Leap
If you're a faint-hearted driver, don't even think about heading up the vertiginous, single-track road to Priest's Leap, 17km northwest of Bantry. In fact, if your GPS points you this way (as a shortcut between Bantry and Kenmare), think again. If you're feeling intrepid, however, this wild ride rewards with monumental views across the mountains to Bantry Bay.
The road is a classic challenge for cyclists, climbing almost 400m in 4.5km, and is exceptionally steep in parts; any fit rider will make it to the top, but unless your thighs are Tour de France material you'll be off and pushing the bike at three or four places. And make sure your brakes are in good order for the descent.
From Bantry, take the N71 north for 8km and turn right after the bridge at the head of the bay (brown signpost saying Priest's Leap). Turn left at the first bridge, and left again at the second bridge (look for the white sign saying Priest's Leap), then take the first right. A long straight gets increasingly steep, before relenting a bit, but with big drops on the left.
The summit of the pass is marked by a wind-buffeted crucifix. The story goes that in 1601 Father James Archer was rallying Cork and Kerry's clans to resist the English. Enemy troops spotted him on the old road to Kerry and gave chase until he and his horse leapt from the top of the pass and landed in Bantry.