A Trip to the Beara Peninsula – 10 Absolute Gems along the way
If the sun shone in Ireland all the time none of us would ever want to go anywhere else……. FACT!……. and enjoying the sunshine in West Cork is something else, the place is just amazing when the sun shines.
We went to the Beara Peninsula in West Cork recently and were lucky enough to get some of the said sunshine and probably all the other seasons on other days… expect this if you are going west and be prepared. Pack for all seasons. I am slightly bias as I spent a lot of my childhood down this way. I said I would put up a few of the things we really enjoyed if you are heading down this way over the summer maybe it would be useful. I’ll also add some links of places that I want to go to in the future but didn’t get them in this time.
Any part of the beautiful Beara Peninsula would be lovely to stay, Glengariff, Castletownbere, Eyeries, Kenmare…. but we stayed in Allihies a beautiful village on the very tip of the Beara Peninsula. This truly is the Wild Atlantic Way.
This is a gorgeous little colourful village with 3 pubs, a shop, post office, playground, and the Copper Mines Cafe and Museum with the beautiful Ballydonegan beach about 15 minutes walk away form the village. The village and surrounding area has a lot to offer for a toddler holiday in my view as it has all the amenities in walking distance if you stay close to the village. If you don’t want to cook there is O Neills pub,or the Copper Mine Museum Cafe or Veronica’s B & B for eating out, if you want to go the playground just before bed time you can tag team and 1 of you can have a drink across the road in the pub. The village is a little suntrap when it is out! I have been going here since I was a child but only found out recently that the Children of Lir are buried here! The village is steeped in history with the Copper Mines situated on the hills looking over the village. Ballydonegan beach is the only man made beach in Ireland and it is beautiful, it has really grainy sand, not good for sandcastles but if you go for a walk in it you feel like you have had a foot massage. Has a bit of an under current so be careful. You can also do amazing walks around the surrounding areas and the Copper Mine walk up the hill is beautiful with breathtaking views out over the sea.
Eyeries is about 15 km past Allihies and is a lovely drive with breathtaking scenery if you take the coastal road. It has a lovely playground, if you want to stop for a bite to eat, there is a lovely little place called Eyeries Bistro with gorgeous food and an outdoor covered area which has blackboards and chalk for kids to play with. Oh we lucked out and ate outside on a glorious evening and the girls played around. It isnt that often when you can actually enjoy your meal with toddlers rather than horsing it down but the chalkboards kept them very entertained and it was a lovey relaxed evening! If you go I hope the same happens for you.
3. Garnish Beaches
As you drive from Allihies over to Garnish in the direction of Dursey Island there is a beautiful spot to look back out over Allihies. There is a small little inlay where you can park your car for a few minutes and a there is built in stone table to take a few minutes and just take in your amazing surroundings. There are a couple of beaches in Garnish and they are smaller than the Allihies Ballydonegan Beach so nice for toddlers. Alternatively if you just want to collect some shells the Pier in Garnish does the trick. There is Lehanmore Community Centre open for drinks with amazing views on the way to Garnish stop off for a refreshment if you need before you hit the beaches.
4. Dursey Island
You can continue the drive down from Garnish to Dursey Island and take Ireland’s only cable car over to Dursey Island. We like driving here and look out onto the island when the girls are napping in the car or get fish and chips from Marge’s chip van which is parked there over the summer. The fish is delicious. I wasn’t brave enough this time to get the cable car. I think they would get more craic out of it when they are a bit older so we will hold off.
5. Healy Pass
This is just a cool drive to do. Warning it is a long and winding road though. Kids got hungry and needed to Pee on the way to Derreen Gardens from Allihies so we stopped off for an impromtu picnic. The views on this drive are spectacular. Extreme caution necessary with wobbly toddlers on these hills. We had a lob sided picnic but it worked!
6. Derreen Gardens
Entry fee 7 euro and 2 for kids. This was my first visit here and is truly breathtaking. Gorgeous little cafe with outdoor seating and homemade cakes. There is a lovely fairy trail scattered around and they give you a map to find them. Not all the walks are buggy friendly but we managed with a bit of trucking.
7. Dzogchen Beara
This is a Buddhist retreat centre, and I actually wanted to check myself in for a retreat. It is on my to do list for the future. Public is welcome here to visit the cafe and have a look at their breathtaking views. Food is yum in the cafe. There is a real peaceful feeling around the whole place. We sat outside and there are alot of steps so beware of toddlers who are attracted to steps and just want to walk up and down them….. at least you can still enjoy the view while you are doing the walking!
8. Castletownbere and the Beara Coast Hotel
We had a few blustery days where the beach wasn’t feasible and walking in the wind with toddlers wasn’t really an option so we headed into Castletownhere for a wander we were going to hit a few shops and have lunch somewhere. We went to the Beara Coast Hotel and wow was it lovely. Very family friendly, we had our lunch and then as we tag teamed having a few moments to ourselves. The other went in to the library with the girls. Such a lovely little space to chill out after lunch for an hour when it is raining outside. The sun came out and we went for wander outside where the hotel has a lovely view out over the town. Call into the Coffee House where they serve Badger and Dodo….our favourite. The evening brightened up and then it was nice to look around the peer with all the boats. Want to try Ocean Wild next Time we are down
Glengarriff is a fantastic place on the Beara way. We generally stop for a stretch, playground, coffee and a wander but you could actually stay here for a week. Beautiful walkway down to the water from the playground. We have yet to do some of the great things to do in Glengariff but these are a few on my bucket list Garnish Island and the Ewe Experience.
Great place for day trip from Allihies if you aren’t staying here. It was raining the day we went here but we sat in the window seat of Sheen Falls hotel and got coffee and light lunch and it was great and what a beautiful setting to look over. Girls made a complete mess on the ground and the staff were so nice. Also on our to do list for next time is the Seafari. It is a lovely place to wander around the little shops and cafes.
- Allihies – O Neill’s Pub or the Copper Mines Cafe
- Castletownbere – Beara Coast Hotel
- Kenmare – Sheen Falls Lodge
- Allihies and Eyeries Playground
- Beaches (all over the Beara peninsula but my favourites are Ballydonegan in Allihies and Garnish)
- Lots of things like Seafari, Garnish Island, Ewe Experience (I haven’t actually got to do any of these yet but I hear they are great)
LOVE (these are my favourites)
Check out these links for more places to see, do and eat and sleep.
I am not paid for any of this advertising and it is all my own opinions , I hope you enjoy the trip if you make it.