The Beara Way is a 152 kilometre (95 miles) circular walk along the Beara Peninsula, starting and ending in Glengarriff, County Cork. The route leads you through the beautifully rugged mountain and coastal areas in the Counties Kerry and Cork. With additional walks over the islands of Bere Island and Dursey Island, you can extend the route to a total length of more than 200 kilometres. Are you ready for this adventure? Let's go!
There are two explanations for the name Beara. The first is that the name Beara comes from the Kerry dialect word béarach, béara, which refers to "rocks on the coast against which the sea breaks with great force''. A second explanation is a story about a king who was wounded in a lost battle on his peninsula. His followers brought him to a fairy, who healed him, after which the king sailed to Spain to marry his beloved Beara, the daughter of the king of Castile. He then sailed back to the peninsula with a large army, recaptured it, and brought Beara to the highest mountain on the island. He showed her his land and said, "I call it after your name: Beara''. To this day, the peninsula bears her name.
That's the peninsula. But what about the Beara Way, in Gaelic Slí Bhéara? Planning and development started in 1991 with funding from the West Cork County Development Team after a decline in fisheries. The completed trail was opened in June 1996. In 2009 a massive upgrade was undertaken and these days plans are still underway to make the Beara Way one of the National Long Distance Trails.