Bantry is situated beneath the sheltering hills at the head of famous Bantry Bay, one of the most beautiful bays along the Irish coasts. The route then heads inland to Killarney. A train or bus transfer is available back to Cork for ease of departure.
The Beara Peninsula and West Cork is a land rich in history, folklore and archaeology, a virtual open-air museum for the culturally curious. Here you will walk in the footsteps of the ancients where Irelands heritage is brought dramatically to life in imposing megaliths, tombs and standing stones. The offshore islands add another dimension to the beauty of the coastline frequently dotted with castles, forts and watchtowers.
The gaily painted houses in Eyeries and Alllihies contrast starkly to the military heritage of Bere Island, the views of Kenmare Bay are equally as wonderful as the views from the Cable Car ride to Dursey island, this truly is Irelands best kept secret!
Day 1: Arrive to your accommodation in Cork City & collect your cycles.
Day 2: Cycling from the city – you set off on your first journey for the wonderful fishing village of Kinsale. Sections of today’s route are on relatively busy roads and you will want to exercise caution riding these segments. You will encounter some nice climbs and less road traffic once you pass Cork Airport. There are a variety of shops and pubs along the way where you can stop for refreshments. Cork to Kinsale distance: 26 km or 48 km depending on which route you choose.
Day 3: The first half of today’s cycle takes you along the impressive coast to the “Olde Head of Kinsale”. From there you then cycle inland through forest and open countryside. It is a terrific farming region with glorious views all around. There is some uphill cycling on this route and generally it is a well paced day. We suggest you buy drinks before you leave Kinsale as the shops along the route are a little unpredictable in their opening hours.
Kinsale to Clonakilty distance: 44 km or longer if you add the option to Courtmacsherry.
Day 4: Leaving Clonakilty behind you – today’s cycle is a lovely trip on to the town of Skibbereen. There is a direct route along busy roads, so we recommend you follow our longer suggestion that passes by coast, forest and inland scenery – a perfect combination for a days cycling. There are some steep climbs but they are achievable if you take today’s route at a relaxed pace. You also cycle through the beautiful villages of Glandore and Unionhall which are typical west Cork villages. There are pubs and shops in the main villages with excellent food available.
Clonakilty to Skibbereen distance: 63 km or 49 km depending on your route choice.
Day 5: Today you have two routes to choose from. The first – you have the option to to take a ferry from the lovely village of Baltimore to the beautiful Cape Clear Island. From there a second ferry will take you to Schull – a wonderful fishing village. From Schull you then cycle on to Bantry. Please note – the ferry cost is not included and is payable directly to the ferry company. You will need to ring ahead & book this yourself in advance.
The second option is to go by road via Ballydehob and the cycle distance is nearly the same but please allow 4 hours if you take the ferry (allowing for the ferry crossing and visiting Baltimore and Schull).
Skibbereen to Bantry distance: 47 km or 52 km depending on which option you choose.
Day 6: Today is one of the most impressive & picturesque cycles you could wish to do & whichever option you decide to take – the scenery along the route is stunning. The longer option takes you on an amazing cycling over the Healy Pass through some of the most breath-taking scenery in Ireland.
This route is challenging so please only take this route if you feeling in good health & are reasonably fit. The alternate route is through the glorious Borlin Valley which is fabulous and possibly less well known & therefore quieter. Both routes have places along the way for refreshments but we still suggest you bring some food along with you and plenty to drink.
Bantry to Kenmare distance: 72 km via the Healy Pass or 48 km via the Borlin Valley.
Day 7: This is probably the “must see” cycle of your trip. It is a wonderful route with glorious views over the famous Lakes of Killarney and plenty of downhill time as well. Again you have the choice on distance – the longer route taking you through the impressive glaciated valley know locally as the Gap of Dunloe. Whichever route you choose you will be spoilt for scenery & views along the way. Refreshment stops are available along today’s routes.
Kenmare to Killarney distance: 45 km or 32 km depending on your choice.
Day 8: Departure from Killarney bus or rail station back to Cork or according to your own travel plans.
Single Supplement €265.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours