The “Sheep’s Head” Peninsula which is translated from the ancient Irish name of Muintir Bháire, meaning the people of Bháire, is the middle of the three peninsulas in the south-west of County Cork, Ireland’s largest county along the Wild Atlantic Way. The Sheep’s Head Way is a very well kept secret and is one of the least visited parts of Cork. This contributes to the wonderful peace and quiet in this most unique place.
This narrow finger peninsula is part of the old red sandstone system when the mountainous coastal region was split into several peninsulas as the sea level rose between 4000 – 7000 years ago. The rounded hills (drumlins) are the evidence of glaciation, leaving fertile sheep pastures dominated by a spine of low hills. The highest point on the peninsula is Seefin Hill at 345 m. At its busiest in 1844, the peninsula had a population 8,340 but now has just 1,300 residents.
Bantry Harbour, sheltered by Whiddy Island, is one of West Cork’s oldest ports and was the scene of an attempted French invasion in 1796. Bantry House, which was built in 1771 for the first Earl of Bantry, houses a fine art collection and is open to the public. Bantry town remains a bustling market town and the main shopping town of the south-west. A renowned Farmer’s Market takes place every Friday morning in the main square. Look out for the West Cork Fuchsia Brand, a marketing initiative to brand the huge variety of local produce that both locals and newcomers to the area manufacture, for the local and international markets.
The Sheep’s Head Way indeed offers an interesting variety of experiences during this six-day self-guided walking adventure!
Prices / Dates
Price: €454 per person sharing
Single Supplement: +€300
Tour Dates: 1 April to 31 October
Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation: Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
Included / Excluded
It is also possible to arrive in Dublin or Shannon airport but will result in a longer transfer by bus. We will supply you with all the travel details that you need to get to your first accommodation in Bantry.
Bantry town is the perfect location to start your self-guided walking adventure in the South-West of Ireland. Bantry sits in the bay separating the Sheep's Head and Beara Peninsulas and is in the shelter of Whiddy Island.
On the first day of your tour, you will walk from Bantry to Glanlough overlooking Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island. On today’s walking trail, you will walk along a beautiful ridge before making your way down into Glanlough.
Distance: 16 km / 10 miles, Ascent: 280 m / 1,148 ft, Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours
Today’s self-guided walk gives you the option to follow Gortnakilly ridge up onto Seefin Mountain, the highest point of the peninsula at 345 m. Alternatively, you can take the lower path which also finishes in Kilcrohane village.
Distance: 13 km / 8 miles, Ascent: 385 m / 1263 ft, Approximate walking time: 4 hours
Durrus, the largest village on the peninsula, is today’s destination. The walking trail takes you along undisturbed paths and winding roads where you will see evidence of the extensive activity from pre-Christian times, in the form of standing stones, wells and burial grounds.
Distance: 17 km / 10.5 miles, Ascent: 280 m / 918 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours
On the final part of your return to Bantry, you move inland from the coastline and ascend "Barr na Gaoithe", translated as the Top of the Wind, before meandering back down on small country roads into the town, through the beautiful grounds of Bantry House.
Distance: 17 km / 10.5 miles, Ascent: 190 m / 623 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours
After a hearty Irish breakfast, you will depart from Bantry for home.
We will supply you with all the travel details required for your onward journey from Bantry.