There is a magnificent Sheep's Head Loop drive that begins outside Bantry along the Goat's Path to Kilcrohane, then back through Ahakista, and on to Durrus. The north side is all sheer cliffs and stark beauty (the sunsets are incredible) while the more lush south-side road runs right alongside the wondrous Dunmanus Bay.

You may also want to explore Dursey Island, a barren promontory extending into the sea at the tip of the Beara Peninsula. It offers no amenities for tourists, but the adventurous will find beautiful seaside walks and a memorable passage from the mainland via cable car. To get there, take R571 past Cahermore to its terminus. As you sway wildly in the wooden cable car, reading the text of Psalm 91 (which has kindly been posted to comfort the nervous), you might wonder whether a ferry would have been a wiser option. It wouldn't. Apparently the channel between the island and mainland is often too treacherous to permit regular crossing by boat. There is no lodging on the island, so be sure you know when the last cable car departs for the mainland; for schedule information, call the Skibbereen Tourist Office at tel. 028/21766.

Unfortunately a number of formerly reliable historical tours of the area have recently gone out of business or put up their prices so much that we can no longer recommend them. However, Dolores and Tim Crowley (tel. 023/884-6107; www.michaelcollinscentre.com) still run a wide variety of tours associated with Michael Collins and the civil war. Prices begin at around €6 per person.

advertisement

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.