WHAT IS IT? The Beara Way is a 206-kilometer tourist trail that loops around West Cork and parts of Kerry. The hike typically takes 9 days to complete. Along the way, you will experience the rugged mountainous countryside, historical sites, and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean along the southern Irish coastline. This is the most underrated section of the Wild Atlantic Way.
HOW TO GET HERE
Cork Airport: This is the most convenient airport to fly into. Cork airport is Irelands second largest airport. There are numerous routes throughout Europe with the likes of Ryanair snd Aer Lingus. Once you arrive you can take a short 20-minute bus ride to Cork city bus station then swap to bus number 236 which goes directly to Glengarriff, the starting point of the Beara Way.
Kerry Airport: This is the second closest airport to the Beara Way. Ryanair operates few routes to European destinations such as London and Berlin. Since the airport is located in the west of Ireland public transport is not as frequent as they would be in cities such as Cork, Waterford, or Dublin. From the airport, you can take bus 14 to Killarney, then bus 270 to Kenmare and finally bus R51a to Glengarriff.
Dublin Airport: This is Irelands busiest airport and one of two in Ireland that offers Trans-Atlantic routes. For those traveling from outside of Europe, this may be the easiest airport to fly into. From here you can take a 3-hour bus journey with Aircoach to Cork city then you can swap to bus number 236 that goes directly to Glengarriff and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes.
WHAT TO DO HERE
Anyone who has a great sense of adventure and a love for outdoor activities will classify this as paradise. This is the best-hidden gem of the Wild Atlantic Way where you can enjoy breathtaking scenery, hiking up scenic mountains, or getting out onto the open water of the Atlantic Ocean. The only thing that you won’t be able to do here is put a dent in your bank account from shopping in highstreets.
1. GARNISH ISLAND: Straight in at number one is the most incredible thing you can do here. Take a short scenic ferry across to a land where you will deeply fall in love with nature and the surroundings. The small island that’s just 15 hectares has one of the most gorgeous gardens across all of Ireland. On your journey back, you will also be able to go Seal spotting at Seal Island!
2. DURSEY ISLAND CABLE CAR: This is Irelands only cable car and what a cable car it is! This isn’t a modern high tech cable car that zips across to the isolated Dursey island. This is an old fashioned cart that shakes and bounces across to the other side! It’s not so much rollercoaster excitement but it is thrill-seeking. Not to mention the outrageous views you get from here.
3. KAYAK WITH THE SEALS AT ADRIGOLE: Set sail on the Atlantic Ocean while taking in the fresh sea breeze and keeping an eye out for seals! Even though you will be sailing along the Atlantic Ocean, it will be very relaxing as its located in a sheltered harbour. This great adventure and life experience cost just 12 EUR for a single kayak or 20 EUR for a canoe.
4. BERE ISLAND BATTERY – This is one for the history buffs, like me. Not too many people know how much Ireland played a part during world wars but visiting this piece of evidence left behind from such tragic times will educate and fascinate you all of the Irish histories. Once you are here you will receive guided tours of the perfectly preserved gun turrets, fort and tunnels in the grounds.
5. GLENGARRIFF NATURE RESERVE – This painstakingly beautiful park offers everything you would expect from a nature reserve. The sheer beauty, adventurous walking trails, peace and tranquillity, the list goes on and on. This is located just outside the pretty village of Glengariff and it is not to be missed.
TRANSPORT– If you are planning to do the 9-day hike then you only need to worry about transport to and from the Airports. Bus Eireann is the main provider for buses in Ireland where you can get to the starting and ending point of the trail at Glengarriff. If you are not planning on walking then renting a car is your best option. Bus Eireann does operate to some towns along the Bera Way but not many.
ACCOMMODATION: I’m sure by now you realize the west of Ireland is very much rural. The bad news is that you will not be spoilt for choice when it comes to hotels. The good news is accommodation prices arent as expensive as they are in cities such as Dublin or Cork. If you are on a budget you should try looking on Air B&B, you can find a fair amount of B&B’s at reasonable prices in this region. Another thing you should do is visit in summer, this is because there are many cheap camping grounds littered around this part of the country. One I can highly recommend myself is Eagle point camping in near Glengarriff.
CLIMATE: Ireland’s climate is temperate and wet year-round. The coldest month is January with average lows of 4 degrees Celcius, its hottest month is July with average highs of 20 degrees Celcius, but no matter what the weather is like once you leave your accommodation always carry an umbrella because in Ireland you can easily experience all 4 seasons in one day.
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