Our Favourite Walks: The Sheeps Head Way Cork


The Mizenhead shop on William street is worth a visit to get kitted out before your walk – brim full of great value Timberland, NorthFace and VANs footwear and clothing – ideal gear for ‘The Sheeps Head Way’.

The walk itself starts and ends in Bantry and is a 90km trek around the Sheep’s Head peninsula – out to the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse and back to Bantry through the villages of Durrus, Ahakista and Kilcrohane. The whole area is rich in flora and fauna – especially bog loving plants and seabirds – for the most part it is hillwalking, some minor roads thrown in with a few boggy area’s to be traversed also – walking boots essential. There are 17 loop walks that can be done – but for those with only a weekend to spare I would recommend doing the Bantry trailhead on a first day (a moderately difficult 14km walk) and the Tooreen Trailhead (Lighthouse Loop and Poet’s Way) the second day – 16kms and moderate to hard in places.

  • The Bantry Trailhead starts and finishes at your hotel and takes in (if you choose) Bantry House, Whiddy Island and various mass rocks and holy wells. The Kilnaurane Stone is at the start of the walk and is a must – this dates back to the middle ages – the highlight being the ancient carving of the Bantry Boat – possibly referring to St Brendan discovering America. You will need to plan your day in order to get back before dark doing this walk as you will struggle to get the whole lot done in a day.
  • The Tooreen Trailhead is the second daylong walk I would recommend and requires driving to Bernie’s Cupan Tae Cafe where the loop starts and finishes. This is a difficult walk but with fantastic views including moorland, coastal cliffs, the lighthouse itself, a second world war lookout, a waterfall and lots lots more – an absolutely invigorating day out. Trust me – you will make full use of what Bantry has to offer food and drink wise after this walk.


For those planning on walking ‘The Sheeps Head Way’ its best to base yourself out of Bantry. You won’t need to use your car much – The Maritime Hotel is a great option – bang in the middle of town – and right at the start of the walk.

Val Mannings in Ballylicky is a must for either a lazy breakfast or lunch (or even pizza in the evening). Donemark West is great for an evening meal – and The Snug or the Brick Oven are other great options – bookings are recommended.

There are loads of books/maps/online info on this walk – I would highly recommend it. Enjoy.

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