Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way by Motorcycle - Part 8: The Beara Peninsula

It is much less known than the Ring of Kerry, but for motorcyclists it is a gem - the Beara Peninsula or Beara Peninsula. 

The northern part of the peninsula still belongs to County Kerry.
The tip of the headland is called Lambs Head and is already in County Cork, as is the southern coast of Beara.

From Kenmare to Lambs Head

Kenmare is a pretty and lively little town. You won't be the only tourist here - but there are plenty of nice places to stay in and around Kenmare.

If you drive south on the N71, you don't need to accelerate much, because very soon you will cross a bridge and directly behind it the small R571 will lead you to the Beara Peninsula on your right.

Northern Coast of Beara at Kenmare Bay Northern Coast of Beara at Kenmare Bay

As you follow it, you will soon be rewarded by wonderful views of Kenmare Bay. 

You will see long rows of buoys along the coast. These are mussel farms or oyster farms. Salmon is also farmed in the clear waters of the Atlantic and tastes particularly good here.

Motorcycle on small road near Kilcatherine Point Motorcycle on small road near Kilcatherine Point

If you turn left at Ardgroom, you can make a detour to Glenbeg Lough. The lake is reached by a very small road and is beautifully framed by the surrounding mountains. 

Alternatively, you can turn right off the R571 towards the coast and drive to Kilkatherine Point. The tiny roads are slightly adventurous and again offer beautiful coastal stretches.

Continue via Eyeries to Allihies. The village is lovingly decorated in bright colours.

Colourful houses in Allihies Colourful houses in Allihies

A little further on, we turn right to Lambs Head and the Cable Car, a very strange cable car to the offshore island of Dursey. It was put into service in 1969 and is the only cable car in Ireland. 

The sea current between the mainland and the island is particularly strong and makes ferry traffic difficult, so everything and everyone is transported the 25o metres through the air - people and sheep too!

After a long break for renovation, it is scheduled to go back into operation in November 2022.

From Lambs Head to Bantry

From Lambs Head, follow the R572 towards Glengarriff and after a short time you will reach another very special site: Dzogchen Beara. Colourful flags point the way to the Tibetan Buddhist temple and meditation centre. 

Dzogchen Beara Dzogchen Beara

The site is open to visitors and it is really nice to admire the beautiful location and the special atmosphere above the sea. there is also a good café there!

At Dzogchen Beara At Dzogchen Beara

You can follow the coast road via Adrigole and Glengarrif to Bantry. The road gets wider, the long bends a bit snappier and so you curve into Bantry Bay.

But slow down with the horsepower, because a highlight is still waiting for you...

Across the Peninsula: R571, R574 and the Healy Pass

A long ridge stretches across the middle of the peninsula. The R574, which connects the north coast with the south coast, leads over this ridge in numerous tangled bends.

Motorcycle and views at Healy Pass Motorcycle and views at Healy Pass

At the crest is the Healy Pass. The pass is "only" 296m high, but the winding
but the winding drive is a delight and the mountainous landscape is simply gorgeous.

Views at Josie`s Lakeview House near Healy Pass Views at Josie`s Lakeview House near Healy Pass

On the north side, the road is a little less winding, but with distant views back down to Kenmare Bay. 

You wanted to continue south and not north? You can be helped - just drive back - the Healy Pass road is beautiful again in the opposite direction!


The next episode will take us to the southwest coast of Ireland, to Mizen Head and to Baltimore:

Mussel farming at the coast of Beara Mussel farming at the coast of Beara

To WAW part 9 - click here

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Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg, September 2022

Picture credits: All pictures by, cover picture: Viewpoint near Eyeries