Walking Bere Island
The walks form part of the Beara Way and guide you past sites which reveal Bere Island’s rich military heritage. Guided heritage walks and bus tours are available throughout the summer, and, however you choose to explore Bere Island, the views back across Beara, the Slieve Miskish and the Caha mountains are simply breathtaking. Walks begin at both ferry points: Rerrin village (East End) accessible from the pontoon ferry, and Oileán na gCaorach (West End), accessible from Castletownbere.
Bere Island’s walkways are incorporated in the larger Beara Way, which extends over the whole of the Beara peninsula, with over 220 kilometres of trails. However, Bere island hosts some of the Beara Way’s highlights, with sites of rich military heritage of various eras, as well as spectacular breathtaking scenery of the mainland’s Slieve Miskish and Caha Mountains, unique to Bere’s offshore position.
Walkers are spoilt for choice on Bere Island, with routes of varying difficulty guiding visitors along picturesque byways and through more rugged terrain.
Main Beara Way
- Length: 19km
- Estimated Time: 7-8hrs
- Terrain: Varied
- Level of Difficulty: Varied, with easy ambles along country roads to hills which are more suited to the experienced walker. Opportunities exist to shorten the walk dramatically.
- Starting Point: Either Ferry point
- Sights: Stretches from East to West of the Island, taking in many of the Island’s sights.
ArdnaKinna Lighthouse Loop
- Length: 11km
- Estimated Time: 4-5hrs
- Terrain: Varied, including some difficult rugged sections.
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
- Starting Point: West End
- Waymarking: Purple arrow
- Sights: The track heads west and then south on an old military track. Ardnakinna lighthouse is in itself a must-see on Bere. There was originally a beacon built here in 1850, with the present lighthouse lit in 1965. The rugged track to the lighthouse along the coastline provides stunning views back onto the mainland, whilst the area around the lighthouse provides a perfect picnic spot with views of Sheep’s Head, the Mizen, and west to Dursey Island.
- Lat. and Long. 51.63886, -9.89924
- Length: 5km
- Estimated Time: 3hrs
- Terrain: Varied, some steep sections
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
- Starting Point: Middle of the island, just south of the Gallán (standing stone)
- Waymarking: Orange arrow
- Sights: This takes in beautiful views to the south of Sheep’s head and the Mizen peninsula.
- Lat. and Long. 51.63054, -9.861676
- Length: 6 km, although can be shortened
- Estimated Time: 2-3hrs
- Terrain: Flat, predominately along the road
- Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Starting Point: East End (Rerrin) ferry point
- Waymarking Purple arrow
- Sights: This route encompasses several sites of historical importance, including the British fortification at Lonehort. It also takes in views of Martello towers, Ardaragh Wedge tomb, and a Viking shipyard. This is essential viewing for the military enthusiasts.
- Lat. and Long. 51.63443, -9.81939
Lonehort Heritage Trail
- Length: 2km
- Estimated Time: 30 mins
- Terrain: Flat on grass
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- Waymarking Brown finger signs
- Starting Point: Lonehort Battery, in the eastern end of the island. This walks adjoins the Rerrin Loop.
- Sights: Walk around the notorious site of a British Battery, taking in the massive trench, the two 6 inch barrelled guns and many other structures.
- Lat. and Long. 51.6450995, -9.7865069