Ireland`s Wild Atlantic Way - Part 9: Mizen Head and Baltimore

If you haven't enjoyed enough beauty after Dingle, Iveragh and Beara, you can ride a little further: to Sheeps Head and Mizen Head...

Sheeps Head

Shortly after Bantry, a small road turns off to the right. It leads via Shanvalla and Glanlough to Kilcrohane. There you turn right again onto the even smaller road. Via Whitehouse Café and Gallery and Tullow, the road leads to Sheeps Head.

The barren landscape is less mountainous than on Beara, but also very beautiful in its own way. The tiny road is an experience - and easy to manage on a motorbike.

Somewhere between the isles... Somewhere between the isles...

There is a car park at Toreen Turning Point. You can leave the motorbike there and walk the last 2 kilometres to Lambs Head Lighthouse. Or you can take another look at the sea and simply turn around.
Via Kicrohane, Ahakista and Durrus you return to the N71.

Baltimore Bay Baltimore Bay

Mizen Head and it`s Signal Station

Mizen Head is the most south-westerly point of the Wild Atlantic Way. The cliffs there are dramatically fantastic - I know I've said that several times, but it really is true!

At its far end, a group of small buildings huddle against the storm-swept cliff. Mizen Head Signal Station is a lighthouse, radio station, signal station and weather station all in one.

Mizen Head Signal Station Mizen Head Signal Station

The small station was built in 1909 and was the last point of contact in Europe for ships sailing from Western Europe to America - or indeed the first contact in Europe, depending on the direction.
It was originally manually operated but now houses a small museum and café.

The Bridge to Mizen Head Signal Station The Bridge to Mizen Head Signal Station

Mizen Head Signal Station is on a small island off the mainland, little more than a rock. 

A small path leads from the car park to an arched bridge that crosses over to the station.

Baltimore and Sherkin Island

At Baltimore you have reached the turning point of the Wild Atlantic Way. From here on, the route no longer goes south, but east, northeast to be exact.

Baltimore Beacon, view on Sherkin Island Baltimore Beacon, view on Sherkin Island

The elongated bay of Baltimore offered the fishing boats protection from the wild Atlantic. 

The small fishing village in a wildly romantic location was later discovered by tourism and is now a popular holiday destination.

Coast near Baltimore Beacon Coast near Baltimore Beacon

From the harbour of Baltimore, you should definitely make the short detour to the Baltimore Beacon. From the small car park, it is only a few metres' walk to the sea marker that marks the entrance to Baltimore Bay.

From here you have a beautiful panoramic view of the bay and Sherkin Island. If you like, you can also take a small ferry from Baltimore Harbour to Sherkin Island and visit the small island.
You can also see the old Franciscan monastery on the island from the Baltimore Beacon.


In the next episode of this series of articles, we will travel along the south coast of Ireland to Kinsale, the southernmost starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way:

To WAW part 10 - click here

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Sailboat at Baltimore Bay, old monastery of Sherkin Island in the background Sailboat at Baltimore Bay, old monastery of Sherkin Island in the background

Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg, September 2022

Picture credits: All pictures by, unless otherwise stated. Cover photo: Mizen Head Signal Station