Day 7: Beara Peninsula
Each of Ireland’s west coast peninsulas have something unique to offer. The Beara peninsula has a wild ruggedness unlike the other 2, but still quite scenic like Dingle and Iveragh.
You can transport yourself back to the stone age at the Uragh stone circle which is toward the beginning of the Beara peninsula drive. It’s a miniature Stonehenge, but it’s the location that makes it special.
The roads through the mountains were perhaps one of my favorite drives. They roads can take you as high as the clouds and then snake back down through valleys through the mountains. Photos could not capture the epic scenery here.
Toward the end of the Beara peninsula, you can hike the Bullig Bay coastal trail past the Dunboy castle.
Moving on in a figure 8 fashion through the Beara peninsula, you’ll come across the old copper mines over the mountains.
Although it’s not on the Beara peninsula, the Gougane Barra hotel is a good hotel to stay in a scenic location.
Day 8: Castles and back to Dublin
An extension of the Beara Way trailhead was 5 minutes from the hotel which leads to the mountain tops. I could not resist. Another early morning hike before breakfast. Just me (and the goats) on the mountain tops as the sun rises and the wind blows. I could’ve walked the Beara Way trail forever. I don’t know why I enjoy these random hikes so much. Maybe because it feels awesome to be on top of the world.
Well, I wasn’t alone as the king of the mountains. Sheep and goats were everywhere, even on the path and blocking my way forward. I’m not familiar with their temperament so I asked them nicely to move. When that didn’t work, I just took small steps without making eye contact. On the way down, I learned it was just best to be stern and order them to step aside. Yes, I’m the shepherd master now!
After the early morning hike, it was time to start heading back to Dublin. But there are a few touristy spots to check out on the way back, such as the Blarney castle. If you decide to go on a weekend in the summer, prepare for the crowds. Cruise ships tend to dump their people here for the day. The castle and grounds are still worth a visit though. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to wait on the long line to the top of the castle to see the Blarney stone (which many people kiss for some reason).
An hour closer to Dublin, you can visit the Rock of Cashel. It’s a very old building but still 90% intact; just missing the roof. There’s a tour guide who will explain the interesting history of the building in about 20 minutes.The Cork accent is quite unique.
And the loop is complete. Back in Dublin.