Walk in Ireland – The One With Ireland’s Wildest Coastal Headland
Being an island, Ireland naturally offers unique opportunities for beautiful, wild coastal walks, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way.
If you would like to experience a coastal walking adventure, to breathe in fresh salty sea air, to feel the wind in your hair on soaring cliffs and to soak up the sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean then walk this way………….
Ireland’s Wildest Coastal Headland Walk
Explore the very tip of Sheep’s Head Peninsula with The Poet’s Way Loop in County Cork – This is one of 25 short hikes that compliment the 6 Day Sheep’s Head Way.
As well as visiting the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, the walk extends east along both flanks of the headland, giving a fantastic impression of the wildest and most remote headland in Ireland’s southwest.
The Poet’s Way Loop Walk on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula is named for the poet Denis M. Cronin who was born in the townland of Eskeraha on the Sheep’s Head peninsula. His epic poem ‘The Chase of a Shadow’ was written in 1898 and salutes the beauty of this part of the Emerald Isle:
From pole to pole should my migration bend; Or twice around the world should they extend. No place in all those travels could be found, To my mind’s eye, so adequately crowned, with nature’s diadems, serene, profuse, At these romantic and unrivaled views.
The nearly 200-page narrative poem tells the story of Fergus, a young Irish aristocrat from The Sheep’s Head peninsula who is separated from his family, his country and his true love by Ireland’s 1798 rebellion.
For the modern hiker on the Poet’s Way Loop Walk, this loop walk takes you past dazzling inlets, coves, blow holes, sea arches, a ruined 17th-century signal tower and the summit of Ballyroon Mountain, which provides spectacular scenic views over Bantry Bay, Dunmanus Bay, and the Mizen and Beara peninsulas.
Wild Coastal Walk at Sheep’s Head Lighthouse, County Cork
Moderate; Walk is signed but there are parts with rough, uneven terrain and 320m ascent.
12.5 KM (7.76 miles) – 3.5 to 4.5 hours.
Start & Finish at:
Tooreen Car Park at the tip of Sheep’s Head Peninsula.
Begin by following the Red Arrows, past Lough Akeen to the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse. Cross the wild north coast of the headland and then climb across the Sheep’s Head Peninsula to the southern side. The route finishes with an enjoyable walk across Ballyroon Mountain before you arrive back to the starting point at Tooreen Car park. There is a mix of paths, tracks, rocky trails, and minor roads on this route along with romantic and unrivaled views throughout.
How to get there:
Follow the road along the south part of Sheep’s Head Peninsula, through Kilcrohane Village to Tooreen Car park at the tip of the peninsula.
Wild Coastal Walk Checklist:
Check the weather and pack smart – Have a fully charged phone; Water; Snacks; Wear layers of appropriate clothing, waterproof jacket and correct footwear/hiking boots.
Leave word with someone about where you are going and approximately what time you expect to be back.
Never leave any items or valuables visible inside your parked vehicle.
Safety comes first – Please be aware of unprotected dangerous cliffs and cut away peat bogs along the loop walk.
Always respect private property. Be aware of any livestock on the land and please do not exit marked trails only. Stay on the way marked routes.
To ensure you have sustenance to tackle the wild coastal walk or to refuel on your return, a visit to Bernie’s Cupán Tae Café in this wild spot will leave you warmed up with homemade scones, fresh apple pie and mouth watering sandwiches.
Suggested walking guide books:
Whether you are an experienced hill walker or just looking for a couple of good easy routes to get you off the beaten track then you will find this guide “Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, A Walking Guide by Helen Fairbairn” an invaluable resource.
For a warm up before your visit you could look at this video – ‘The Beara & Sheep’s Head Peninsulas: A Walking Guide’ first published 2015 by The Collins Press. Directed by Adrian Hendroff
Phone 999 or 112 and advise the emergency crew whether you need an Ambulance, the Gardaí (police), Fire Brigade or Mountain Rescue.
The Wild Coastal Walk “Leave No Trace” principles are:
- Plan ahead and Prepare
- Be Considerate of Others
- Respect all Animals and Wildlife
- Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
- Leave What You Find
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Minimize the effects of fire.
Leave nothing but footprints & take nothing but photographs.
Whatever you’re looking for in a vacation, Ireland has something for you. Check out our private chauffeur vacations and get inspired. We can customize any of our Ireland tours to suit your specific needs, requirements and budgets and what you decide to do is up to you. All you need to do is to “make a break for it” –
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Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of Sheep’s Head Lighthouse, County Cork © Tourism Ireland
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