The Ring of Beara is a beautiful 80km or 130km circular tour (Approx. 55 to 80 miles) depending on which route you take.
If you are starting from Kenmare, cross the Suspension Bridge and take the N71 towards Glengarriff. Approximately 11Km (7 miles) on your route, stop and visit Lorge Handmade Chocolates. A visit to his emporium on the road near Bonane is a must. Make yourselves a bag of mixed chocolates to nibble as you continue your excursion. They really are superb. For even greater fun, book a chocolate making experience, something not to be missed.
Continuing on for a few miles you will see signs for Bonane Heritage Park. This archaeological site includes Stone Age, Bronze and Iron Age monuments up un to pre-famine times.
As a continuation of the history of life in the area you will arrive at Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm – where you will get a feel for what life was like before the advent of modern day conveniences such as electricity. Here you can see displays of skills and crafts of the rural past as well as a very informative video.
Continuing you journey towards Glengarriff you cross the border from Kerry to Cork after the various tunnels. As you descend, the views of Bantry Bay are stunning.
Glengarriff itself is a picturesque village with a unique micro climate. Take time to visit Garinish Island with its Italianate gardens and sub tropical flora.
The R572 from Glengarriff will lead you through Adrigole towards Castletownbere. On the southern slopes of Hungry Hill, look out for the Mare's Tail Waterfall, reputedly the highest waterfall in Ireland. Castletownbere offers a host of attractions, fine food, beautiful scenery and the principal fishing port of South West Ireland. Continuing on through Castletownbere the drive takes you to the remote magnificence of Dursey Island. The ride over Dursey Sound by cable car is memorable, but as this only runs at certain times of the day, check ahead to tie in with your itinerary.
Further along your route are the villages of Allihies, Eyeries and Ardgroom. These are typical Irish villages that ooze character. Combined with the majestic landscape, they are the catalyst that has attracted the high number of visual artists that have made this area their home. Many of these artists have galleries in their homes and are delighted towelcome visitors. During the 19th century and early 20th century Allihies was the site of a commercial copper mine and the story of mining is told in the Allihies Copper Mine Exhibition.
Eyeries has been the location for several film and TV productions such as ‘The Purple Taxi’ (1977) starring Fred Astaire, Peter Ustinov and Charlotte Rampling as well as the 1998 TV series 'Falling for a Dancer.'
Heading east now towards Ardgroom and Lauragh there is a nice detour around to Kilmakilloge along the coast route. Here you will find the attractive venue of Derreen Garden. Set on a peninsula at the head of Kilmakilloge harbour and surrounded by the Caha mountains the garden at Derreen covers 60 acres. A network of winding paths passes through a mature woodland garden laid out 150 years ago with sub tropical plants from around the world and incomparable views of the sea and mountains.
Heading back towards Kenmare through Lauragh along the R571 you will see signs to Gleninchaquin Park. Take a detour along the 9km route to the park. There are numerous walking routes ranging from a 1 hour meadow walk to a full day in the hills. Don’t forget your cameras!
This is just but a brief introduction to Beara. Please browse the pages across this website for greater details on all there is to see and do in this the most wonderful location in South West Ireland.