For centuries Pilgrims had assembled at the Top of the Rock to walk the pilgrim path to Gougane Barra. It is a long standing tradition in West Cork. In 2009 this path was reopened and waymarked, so that it now serves a wide variety of people in families, groups, or solo, making their way to this hallowed spot where St Finbarr once lived and prayed.
The path begins at the Top of the Rock where the saint Finbarr is said to have preached in the late 6th century. From there it passes by Castledonovan and over Mullaghmesha mountain to the Mealagh Valley and on to the lovely village of Kealkil. On the second day it follows a magnificent route through wood and bogland, ascending to Foilstookeen where it makes a memorable descent into the glacial valley that is Gougane Barra. The hotel on the lakeside is a perfect place to stay the night.
This walk can be done in your own time and pace. One is welcome to use the facilities at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc as a launching pad. Accommodation is in ‘pods’ built on the template of early Christian structures in West Kerry. Or there is an option to joining a large Pilgrim Paths group at Easter, or during two weekends in August. Or you may wish to join the two day walk from Top of the Walk to Gougane Barra found at www.westcorkwalking.com. David and Elizabeth Ross at the Top of the Rock will be glad to offer any advice and enable you to walk this very special pilgrim path.