The Beara Peninsula is one of Ireland’s unsung gems. Its landscape is wild and rugged, and its winding roads aren’t crowded with tour buses, which makes this a thoroughly enjoyable day of exploring some of the country’s best scenery.
Pitted with little fishing villages and handsome towns, this region is a joy to explore with hillsides littered with hardy sheep as well as numerous ancient ring forts and Neolithic stone circles. The people here are surprisingly cosmopolitan with hardy sheep farmers, artisan cheese makers, artists, writers and filmmakers all attracted by the incredible scenery and unhurried pace of life.
This private full-day tour with a driver begins in Kenmare, from where you’ll travel along the north coast of the Beara Peninsula, which skirts along the coast of Kenmare Bay. The landscape is green and pleasant, enhanced by overhanging foliage on narrow roads. From time to time (if the weather’s good) you’ll be treated to glimpses of islands in Kenmare Bay and the mountains of the Killarney National Park across the water.
You’ll follow this coastal road, taking you through forests and fields, offering views of the rocky bay and mountains both across the water to your right and the Caha Mountains to your left, as far as Ardgroom. This is a small village with vividly painted houses, worth a stop to visit the nearby megalithic stone circle.
Beyond Ardgroom the scenery opens up, allowing unimpeded views of the Caha Mountains and across the water toward Kerry. The scenery gets more spectacular from here on, with the mountains gradually getting more rugged and wild as the road gets narrower and windier.
Castletownbere is a lovely fishing town, home to a community of artists, artisan food producers and traditional craftsmen. This is a great place to spend time exploring both the town and the surrounding countryside, as the coast has excellent views of nearby Bere Island.
The road between Castletownbere and Adrigole is a beautiful one, and the town of Adrigole is again good for exploring on foot and stopping for a coffee. From Adrigole you’ll head inland on the striking Healy Pass, which takes you up and over the Caha Mountains on a narrow, winding road. Ascending the mountains you’ll be rewarded by gorgeous views, with a sweeping panorama in all directions from the top and clear views of the Kerry mountains and lakes on a fine day.
You’ll descend back toward Kenmare on the north coast of the peninsula past tumbling streams, craggy rock faces and bright yellow gorse bushes that give way to lush woodland on the lower slopes.
During the day, there will be time to stop for lunch (not included). We can recommend some of the best eateries in the area, from which you can choose.