Beara Peninsula Guide | Best Things To See + Do

Cape Clear - Beara Peninsula

Cork has some of the best scenery that Ireland has to offer: rugged cliffs, colorful seaside towns, golden beaches, sprawling green hills, and islands. Exploring the Beara Peninsula makes for the perfect Irish getaway.

One of the best places to base yourself is Glengarriff, a small village on West Cork’s Beara Peninsula. I found the location to be perfect. Although the village is small, it is a very popular holiday destination with a great atmosphere. I stayed with my sister in Glengarriff Park Hotel, the twin room was spacious and clean.

Keep reading if you would like to find out what this part of Ireland can offer you.

5 Day Beara Peninsula Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Day + Gougane Barra | Beara Peninsula

The perfect way to start your trip to the Beara Peninsula is in the peaceful valley of Gougane Barra.

The forest park is home to one of the most photographed churches in Ireland, St. Finbarr’s Oratory—a small, serene church situated on a small island.

From there, you can opt for a long hike, a short walk, or drive around Gougane Barra. The most popular hike is Sli Easa – the Waterfalls Walk, offering spectacular views over the glen. Another well-known trail is the Sli Loai – the Lee Walk, a short 1.5 km route. Lastly, there’s the Mountain Walk.

Day 2: Garnish Island + Mizen Head | Beara Peninsula

Garnish Island

Day 2 of this Beara Peninsula itinerary begins with a boat trip to Garnish Island. Entrance to this island costs €5 per person.

Garnish Island boasts 37 acres of walled gardens, the most famous being the Italian garden. The gardens also feature a Grecian temple and an original Martello tower. It’s a relaxing one- or two-hour walk with incredible views!

Apart from the gardens, visitors can learn about the Bryce family through a tour of the Bryce House, included in the entrance price.

Garnish Island is just a 1.5km boat trip from Glengarriff. To access the island, you’ll need to take a ferry, which costs €12.50 for a return trip. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some seals during the journey!

Tickets can be purchased on the day or you can book in advance online with Blue Pool Ferry or Harbour Queen.

Mizen Head

Mizen Head is just over an hour’s drive from Glengarriff; you will also pass through the village of Schull, which I highly recommend taking a walk through

Mizen Head is the most southerly part of Ireland. The coastal views are truly amazing, with plenty of viewing platforms to admire them from.

One of the best parts of Mizen Head is the Mizen Bridge where you can watch waves crash down 150 foot below you. I also recommend you check out the signal station and visitor centre where you can learn some interesting facts about this incredible part of the Beara Peninsula.

One thing to note is that there are many of steps, therefore some parts might not be suitable for people with mobility issues.

The entrance fee for Mizen Head is €7.50 for adults, €4.50 for a child under 14, €6 for students and seniors and children under 5 go for free.

There is quite a lot to see so give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy it all. There is also a cafe serving fresh food and baked goods.

If you have the time make sure you check out the sweeping sand dunes at the stunning Barleycove beach.

barleycove beach
Barleycove beach – Beara Peninsula

Day 3: Drive The Ring of Beara | Beara Peninsula

The Ring of Beara is certainly not as popular as its neighbor, the Ring of Kerry, but its wild and tranquil landscape should not be overlooked.

The total route of the Ring of Beara is 130km, it is well sign posted, we started in Glengarriff but you can also start in Kenmare.

Here are some highlights along the way.

Healy Pass

The Healy Pass is a 12-kilometer, 977-foot mountain pass on the Beara Peninsula. The road is incredibly winding, transporting you to another world for a while.

You’ll want to stop and take lots of photos here. The Healy Pass is such a fun activity to experience on the Beara Peninsula.

Dursey Island Cable Car

Dursey Island Cable Car -

Take a ride on Ireland’s only cable car! This 10-minute journey is one of the most unique things to do in Cork.

Dursey Island is an interesting place with only two permanent residents, a few holiday homes, and livestock. Once you’re on the island, there isn’t much to do besides taking a walk and admiring the sea views. However, the cable car journey itself is worth it.

It gets popular during the summer months, so it’s best to arrive early to avoid long waits.

A ride on the cable car costs €10, payable only in cash, and there are no pre-bookings available.


Another must-see on the Ring of Beara is the charming town of Kenmare.

Kenmare is known as the jewel in the Ring of Kerry, linking the Ring of Beara with the Ring of Kerry.

As this is the last top of the day, it will be more of a whistle stop. Therefore, I am going to list a few things you can do that will not take up too much time but are interesting to see.

– Try some chocolate at Lorge Choclatier
– Check out Cromwell’s Bridge
Holy Cross Church
Kenmare Stone Circle
– Take a scenic walk in Reenagross Woodland Park
– Visit Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Irish Farm

We had dinner in Kenmare Brewhouse, they do really great pub food!

The Caha Pass Tunnels along the Ring Of Beara

Day 4 : Cape Clear | Beara Peninsula

This was my favourite day on my Beara Peninsula itinerary, and I am officially declaring Cape Clear Ireland’s hidden gem! I know that word gets thrown around a lot in the travel blogger stratosphere but when I arrived here, I could not believe I never heard of this little place before! And that I was only going to be there for one day!

Cape Clear is a remote island, it is a Gaeltacht area, with a staggering 62% of its 147 person population speaking the Irish language.

In the Summer months, it is a popular destination for students looking to improve their Irish language skills.

It really does not feel like Ireland, mainly due to its southerly position, which makes the weather much warmer than the mainland. The day we visited, it was wet and cloudy in Baltimore , but Cape Clear was warm and sunny. The ocean was even turquoise, it was like stepping into another country.

So what is there to do on this beautiful island?

What to do in Cape Clear

1. Red Loop Walk

There are a few smaller routes, but to really see the island, I would recommend doing the 7 kilometre red loop walk. The walk will take you by the lighthouse, around the cliffs, through fields, and along the road. It is moderately challenging at the start but should be fine for all fitness levels. You can check out the trail here.

2. International Storytelling Festival

The much loved annual 3 day festival was created to keep the Irish tradition of storytelling alive. Storytellers from all over the world visit Cape Clear for the intimate festival. Accommodation options are limited, so it is advisable to book early.

You can keep up to date on the latest festival on their official website.

3. Boat Tour

Take a boat tour to fastnet point – Irelands most southernly point or go on the search for dolphins, whales, seals and sharks. You can book activities on Cape Clear Ferries website.

4. Kayaking

Cape Clear is also a great place to kayak with sea caves that demand exploring. You can bring your own kayak or rent one on the island.

Getting To Cape Clear

To reach the island you need to take a 40 minute ferry ride from Baltimore, a ticket will set you back €18. Baltimore is about an hours drive from Glengarriff. You can book tickets for the ferry online.

It’s a nice journey and you could even see basking sharks and dolphins, they have been known to make an appearance. In the Summer there are six ferry crossings a day but this is reduced to two or three during the rest of the year. Check out the timetable here.

Day 5 : Cobh & Kinsale | Beara Peninsula

Today marks the last day of this Beara Peninsula itinerary, and also departure day.

Depending on your destination, you might be able to squeeze in a visit to Cobh and Kinsale on your journey home. There is a 50 minute drive between the two towns.

Cobh is a picturesque port town where we visited the St Colmans Cathedral and tried to snap a picture of the Deck of Cards houses (though we failed). You can also visit the Queenstown Story Cobh Heritage Centre and Titanic Experience.

Kinsale is a vibrant town with colourful buildings, great independent boutiques and trendy cafes. Personally, I found Kinsale more appealing than Cobh, which felt very small.

Where To Stay On The Beara Peninsula


As previously mentioned, we stayed in Glengarriff which I found to be a brilliant location to explore the Beara Peninsula, there were pleantly of restaurants, pubs and a lively atmosphere.

Eccles Hotel and Spa has panaramic view of Bantry Bay, most rooms have a sea view and view of Garnish island. The hotel has a fantastic spa which includes an outdoor hot tub. Rooms are clean, cosy and modern. Prices start at €220 per night.

Glengarriff Park Hotel is located in the heart of Glengarriff and across the road from where the Garnish island ferry departs. Rooms are basic but spacious and comfortable. I stayed in the twin room and found it to be great quality for the price.

Casey’s Hotel is a family run 3 star hotel also in the centre of Glengarriff. Previous guests speak very highly of the food that they serve. Rooms are spacious and clean. Prices start at €160 per night.


Bantry is another good option, it is much bigger than Glengarriff with more restaurants and bars. So if you are looking to go out a bit this may be a better option.

The Maritime is a 4 star hotel with sea views, a leisure club that features a pool, sauna, hot tub, steam room and gym. Rooms are modern, spacious and some feature a balcony. Prices start at €160 per night.

Westlodge Hotel & Leisure Centre is located a 3 minute drive from Bantry town across 30 acres of landscaped gardens. The hotel features a health centre with a pool, hot tub, sauna and tennis courts. There is also the option for a massage or aromatherapy. Rooms are spacious with a desk and a seating area. There is also an option to book a 2 bed cottage. Prices start at €150 per night.

Edencrest B&B is a 4 star b&b, just a 20 minute walk from Bantry town. It is highly rated with a score of 9.5/10 in Edencrest offers views of Bantry Bay, Sheeps Head and the Beara Peninsula. Every morning the B&B has a self serve breakfast buffet. Rooms are large, clean and some have a whirlpool bath. Prices start at €160 per night.

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