Experience the most southern tip of the Wild Atlantic Way
This idyllic cycle will take you off the beaten track to the most Southern tips of the Wild Atlantic Way, a region undiscovered by even the most intrepid travellers. The cycle starts in the town of Kenmare in Kerry. Kenmare, which means ‘head of the sea’ was Ireland’s first ‘planned’ town back in 1670. It still maintains a village feel today with its brightly coloured, character-filled buildings. This cycle route ends in the small but vibrant town of Castletownbere in Cork. The journey starts off quite easy, but has two inclines. Don’t worry, they aren’t steep enough to take your breath away, but the views you see along the way just might!
|• Region: Southern Peninsula
• Highlights: Kenmare, Glengarriff, Bonane Heritage Park, Castletownbere, the Caha Mountains
• Distance: 60.6km
• Duration: 3h 30m
• Start point: Kenmare, Co. Kerry
• Finish point: Castletownbere, Co. Cork. This cycle can also be made in to a loop, travelling back to Ken mare along a different route. See here.
• Difficulty level: Moderate
• Terrain: Tarmac, coastal route with two inclines
Kenmare – Glengarriff / 1 hour 40 mins / 27k
The trail eases you in gently, beginning along quiet back roads before climbing the Caha Pass. Along it, you’ll take in stunning scenery both north and south. For history lovers, the Bonane Heritage Park along this route boasts one of the most significant archaeological sites in Ireland with ringforts and standing stones dating back more than 5000 years or visit The Ewe Experience, Ireland’s only sculpture garden. Often described as “Ireland’s Eden” – it is a combination of nature, art & narrative. The cycle will take you on a descent to Glengarriff, a village famed for its natural beauty. This scenic spot is just the place to stop off, grab a bite to eat and take in the atmosphere of a small seaside village.
The Caha Pass
Glengarriff – Adrigole / 1 hour / 18k
Every bend on the Beara Peninsula tells a story. The road to the village of Adrigole adds an historical flavour to the trip, with an ancient stone circle and the beautiful ruins of Massmount Church on the way. The route is along the main road, over-looking Seal Harbour and Whiddy Island.
Adrigole - Castletownbere / 50mins / 15k
As you cycle from the village of Adrigole to Castletownbere you’ll have stunning views of Berehaven harbour and the Caha and Slieve Miskish mountains. Castletownbere is the main town on the peninsula and the largest white fish port in Ireland, meaning lots of fresh seafood in the local restaurants! Take some time to bask in this home to many artists, writers, artisan food producers and craft makers.
Cycling on the Beara Peninsula
To complete the entire Beara Peninsula loop, you can combine this route with the Castletownbere – Kenmare route. There are lots of mini cycles within it which you can take a look at here. Find places to stay along the route in our directory, and find Kerry bike rentals here. Public transport is limited to Kenmare but you can get the 270 bus from Killarney and the 252 from Cork. Castletownbere to Cork is served by the 236 which should get you there easily.
• Visit Bere Island, just 2km offshore from the town of Castletownbere, leaving from Pontoon Pier or Castletownberehaven Harbour. This small island is rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to medieval times, including ring forts and standing stones.
• Island hop to Dursey Island at the western tip of the Beara Peninsula, accessible cable car! This beautiful remote island has no shops or restaurants, but it does have a wide range of seabirds, butterflies and regular visits from dolphins and whales.
• Take a trip to the tropical gardens on Garinish Island, less than 2km from Glengarriff.
• Visit Ireland’s highest waterfall, Mare’s Tail, which cascades down beside ‘Hungry Hill’ mountain, just over 8k from Adrigole.
• For an extra special trip to Glengarriff, swing by Barley Lake and take in the epic scenery. A 7k cycle from Glengarriff town.
• For a more challenging but beautiful cycle take a detour from Adrigole and head towards Lauragh to take in the spectacular climb and descent of the Healy Pass – known as one of the greatest cycling roads in Ireland. You can continue on this way through the towns of Ardgroom and Eyeries to Castletownbere. This route will add about 1 hour 30 minutes to your trip.
• If you are completing the full Beara Peninsula loop, take a trip to Derreen Gardens, a beautiful 60 acre site dating back to 1863. It’s only 1km from Lauragh off the R571.
A cable car to Dursey Island
Find places to stay along the Beara Peninsula by searching in our handy directory. Find Beara Peninsula bike rentals here.