Things To Do
The Sheep's Head Way has won many awards including in 2009 European Destination of Excellence, also known as the EDEN award. In 2015 The Sheep's Head Way was awarded silver in the Best Destination category at the Irish Responsible Tourism Awards, and it was long-listed for the Global Responsible Tourism award. It is a network of walks all over the peninsula - which are spectacular - and can be accessed directly from the Sheep's Head Retreat. Suitable for all abilities - short or long walks (maps of the walks available). A beautiful new walk has been created opposite the bohereen to the Sheep's Head Retreat which goes to Goradeloch (lake) and then links up to to other existing walks.
Guided walks are organised during the year, for example St Stephen's Day,
refreshments provided at the finish. Information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Cumberpatch (qualified walking guide)
For those who are interested in local history, folklore, archaeology or simply the beauty of nature, the magic and mystery of the Sheep's Head peninsula has something to please everyone. Year round guided walks from 3/4 hours to a full day for groups of all sizes.
Tel: +353 (0)86 089 7261
Hillwalk Tours offer 3 different walking itineraries on the Sheep's Head to suit all abilities.
Alice West's (The Black Gate) at Letter West on the way to Toreen - café (June, July & August).
Teas, coffees, homemade cakes & scones (free wi-fi).
Bernie’s Café (soup, sandwiches etc) at Toreen turning point to Sheep’s Head.
Hillwalking (guide can be arranged) care should be taken in poor weather.
Organised Walks on St Stephen’s Day, Kilcrohane and Ahakista Regatta. (August)
Walking Group Schull (see Southern Star for information)
Bicycle hire from The Creamery, Kilcrohane (Tel: 027-67171).
The clearly signposted Sheep’s Head cycle route starts at Ballylickey through Bantry and ends at Ballydehob. It covers the whole peninsula and goes past the bohereen to the Retreat.
Eco-Tourism - Adventure and Outdoor Activities
Not only is the Sheep's Head Peninsula renowned for the beauty and
variety of its walks,
there are several other outdoor activities to engage in which leave
no carbon footprint.
Kayaking & Snorkeling
Blueway trails are to be a feature all along the coastline, especially the Wild Atlantic Way, and accessible by all users, including beginners.
There are guided snorkelling tours around the Sheep’s Head. Enter a different world, encounter sea urchins, spider crabs etc
and explore the caves round the peninsula where smuggling is still
prevalent. See recent article Another Life by Michael Viney, Heritage & Habitat section, The Irish Times, 19 October 2013.
Darren's Kayaks in Durrus offers sales, rentals and instruction. (Tel: 027 61515)
Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking won gold for Best Adventure Activity Provider for Responsible Tourism and was also overall winner at the 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards. Contact: Jim Kennedy, The Abbey, Skibbereen (Tel: 028 21058) day and night trips (bio luminiscence - first company in Ireland to offer these trips).
Dooneen Pier (recipient of 2011 Green Coast Award an "exceptional place to visit and to enjoy the rich coastal heritage its diversity and the purity of its water"). Recipient of the 2015 Green Coast Award. Very popular with anglers.
Kilcrohane Pier or Tra Ruiam Pier (about 30 minutes walk from the Sheep's Head Retreat)
Barleycove, Mizen Peninsula, spectacular sandy beach, ideal for children and dogs. Crystal clear water.
Bantry Bay Pony Trekking, opposite Durrus
Cross on N71, Hollyhill, Bantry
(Tel: 087 776 5539)
Very popular, usually takes place in the Early Spring.
Riders of all
on ponies, horses, or driving a trap gather
in Durrus and make their
way to Arundels pub
by the pier at Ahakista.
(See Southern Star
Several shore angling sites for rock fishing - no licence required.
Nic Slocum of Whalewatch West Cork won silver for Best Tour Operator at the 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards.
Union Hall (Tel: 028 33357 & 086 1200027)
Cape Clear Island & Lough Ine, Skibbereen email@example.com
Bantry Bay Golf Club (Tel: 027-50579) can hire golf clubs.
Other Activities In The Area
Bantry House & Garden
First historic house to be opened to the public and still lived in by the owners. Beautiful gardens, café. Classical music and traditional music festivals in the summer.
Holistic community centre near Ballydehob set in a 30 acre nature reserve. Weekly and weekend courses and events in yoga, dance, creativity, and spiritual
growth. (Tel: 028-37155)
Mizen Head Signal Station
Visitor center, whale watching, café with good home cooked food, snacks, drinks and ice cream for lunch and tea. Sue Hill won silver Best Cultural Heritage Attraction at 2015 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards.
Opening Times: Daily mid-March, April, May, September, October 10.30-17.00. June, July, August 10.00-18.00. Weekends November to mid-March 11.00-16.00. (Tel: 028 35115)
Bantry - first Sunday in September (free ferry service or bus from Bantry)
Clonakilty - 8th June
Kilcrohane Carnival (July)
Annual celebration of Capt.O’Neill - and his definitive collection of Irish music - near his birthplace at Trawlebane, Nr Bantry. ‘At the crossroads’ traditional dancing & set dancing.
Gardens open to the public
West Cork Garden Trail - May onwards
Road Trotting Races
Point to Points
Old Time Threshing