Sometimes there’s nothing better than a short break by the sea to help ease the stresses of everyday life. Ireland’s south west coast offers some remarkable scenery for a picturesque road trip with great hiking opportunities.
Discover the beauty of West Cork with this handy guide, featuring some of its most fabulous seaside spots.
A West Cork Weekend
Day One: From Beara to Bantry
Begin your weekend with a drive out to the Beara Peninsula, home to the beautiful Beara Way. The circular route is a photographer’s dream, with lots of trails and hidden spots to explore.
While you’re in the area, it’d be a pity to miss out on Eyeries, West Cork’s most invitingly colourful village. The coastal and mountain views are certainly something special, but the charming, brightly coloured houses are the real highlight.
With so much to see, exploring the peninsula is hungry work. Stop off at tourist hotspot MacCarthy’s Bar, a traditional Irish pub that has been standing for over 150 years. Choose from a menu of classics –including delicious seafood dishes and hearty lamb stew– before following the coastline down to Bantry.
Turn in for the night at Bantry Bay, where the Maritime Hotel waits to welcome you for the evening. With a selection of colourful rooms, trendy furnishings, a well-stocked bar and live music every night, it’s got all bases covered for your stay.
Day Two: Soak up the seaside
Wake up and smell the fresh seaside air, as you take in the views across Bantry Bay. Call in to O’Connor’s Seafood for an experience that truly encapsulates all the flavours of West Cork on one plate. Whether you fancy an early start or a bit of a lie in, the breakfast and brunch menus have all you need to start your day.
Continue south along the coast to Sheep’s Head Peninsula, where you can take in the views across Bantry Bay all the way to Mizen Head. Embark on a hike around the Lighthouse Loop, just one of the many spectacular routes in the Bantry Bay and Sheep’s Head trail network.
Treat yourself to a well-deserved meal at Arundel’s by the Pier, where you can enjoy fresh bar food with sea views. While passing through, settle down with a glass of wine or a pint of locally produced beer before heading to the homely Ahakista Lodge. Enjoy a night of simplicity and comfort on a budget at this endearing guesthouse, leaving you well-rested for the journey home.
Now that you’ve explored some of West Cork’s most stunning scenery, tasted the flavours of the area and hopefully come across some friendly faces, it’s time to get back to normality. Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and let us know how you got on.