West Cork is truly a world apart, seemingly remote from the constant hub of modern life yet discreetly offering quiet time to breathe in the freshest sea- salt air. In a landscape festooned with little ports, bays, inlets and harbours, the ocean is never more than a thought away!
So much so, the Sheep’s Head Peninsula was named a European Destination of Excellence in 2009 – one of the first regions to do so!
The busy market town of Bantry is at the head of the famous and beautiful Bantry Bay is the heart of West Cork. It has a population of approximately 5,000. The main industries are tourism and mari-culture (Bantry Bay mussels are exported worldwide and the annual Mussel Festival held each May attracts thousands of visitors). Historic Bantry House and gardens are open to the public and the annual music festivals held in Bantry House bring thousands to the town each year.
We have 2 wonderful self guided tour options available either 5 or 7 days in duration.
Getting to the start of the Sheep’s Head Way
Similar to travelling to Beara you will access Sheep’s Head by bus from Cork. Bantry is located around 2 hours west of Cork City on public transport. It is a well serviced route with a bus running every 2 hours.
If arriving to Cork Airport you can take the 225 or 226 bus which will have you at Parnell Place Bus Station in around 20 minutes.
For Shannon Airport arrivals you can take the number 51 bus to Cork Bus station in around 2.5 hours – from here you can connect to the bus to Bantry.
Hiking from Bantry to Glanlough
You start the Sheep’s Head Way walking route from the Bantry making your way to Bantry House and on to Glanlough.
You will be collected from the end of your hike and transferred to your home for the next 3 nights – Kilcrohane – which lies under the shadow of ‘Seefin’, the Peninsula’s highest point.
Kilcrohane takes its name from the Church of St. Crohan founded in the 8th century. The area has an all year round population of approximately 300 persons but this number more than doubles during the busy summer season.
Glanlough to Cahergal
Transferring back to the end of yesterday’s hike you will walk from Glanlough along the Northern shores of the Peninsula to Cahergal. You will enjoy some stunning sea views across to the shores of Kenmare Bay – if weather conditions allow.
Sheep’s Head Lighthouse
Returning back to Cahergal from where you walk out along to the famous Sheep’s Head Lighthouse. Here you will have the opportunity to look out for the Dolphin and Whale at the viewpoint looking out at the Wild Atlantic Ocean. You will then turn inland and hike along the southern side of the peninsula to Kilcrohane.
Trek Kilcrohane to Durrus
You will have the option to hike from your accommodation today or take a transfer 6km down the road to walk to Durrus. Overnight at Durrus which is a very pleasant village located at the head of Dunmanus Bay. Ahakista is the site for a Memorial to those who lost their lives off this coast in the Air India air crash in 1985.
Durrus to Bantry Trail
The final leg of Sheep’s Head walking tour takes you east from Durrus & then south to reach Glanlough with wonderful views across Bantry Bay & Dunmanus Bays. From there, you continue east & north to reach the town of Bantry. The last stage of your hike today is glorious as you descend into the grounds of Bantry House, before continuing to your accommodation
Departing from Bantry
From Bantry you can return by bus to Cork City from here use the same services used to get to Cork on your arrival.
If you would like to add an extra night to your stay you can do so in Bantry and maybe use the day to visit Whiddy Island, just off the coast of the peninsula