The Beara Peninsula is undoubtedly the most rugged of the five mighty headlands that thrust into the Atlantic on Ireland’s Southwest corner. Inland, the landscape is dominated by Slieve Miskish and Caha Mountains, but the picturesque fishing villages dotted along the shoreline are where it all happens. The area is a magnet for walkers of different levels of fitness – some come to tackle the 196km Beara Way – others to enjoy a growing number of loops around the coastline and on the islands just a stone throw offshore. This loop starts and finishes at the boarding point for the only cablecar in Ireland! The cablecar takes people onto and off Dursey Island – a journey of 5-10mins accross the infamous Dursey Sound where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous.
A-B. Starting from the car park at the cablecar, cross the stile and follow the purple arrows as the loop sweeps westward around the western end of the Beara Peninsula and ascends quickly to reach it’s highest point of 150m. Note that you are also following the yellow arrows of the long distance O Sullivan Beara Way. Enjoy the fine views along the top before starting the next section which takes you sharply downhill.
B-C. The loop now descends across open ground toward Garinish Point and gives you close up views of Garanish Island and Long Island before exiting a small gate and reaching the quay at Garinish. Turn right here.
C-D. Follow the roadway for 500m to reach a narrow old laneway on your right. Turn right and follow the purple arrow (and the yellow arrows of the O’Sullivan Beara Way) up the laneway. The laneway climbs to reach a roadway where it turns left and, almost immediately, joins a tarred road. Note that the long-distance Way turns left here - you turn right and enjoy the last 1km back to the trailhead.