Ballydonegan beach Allihies west cork beara peninsula Wild atlantic Way Ireland

Ring of Beara – Allihies Adventures

Ballydonegan Beach Allihies west Cork Ireland Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Leaving Eyeries village, you could follow the road around into Castletown Bere, or you could continue on towards Allihies. I’ll swing a right for the very scenic spin down to Allihies. As  you drive along the narrow road, you will be at the foot of the Slieve Miskish Mountains and the Atlantic will be with you on your right.

Eyeries Allihies road west Cork Wild Atlantic Way Ring of Beara Ireland

There is a moment after you complete a series of meandering bends going up a hill that you will feel you are surely about to drive into a private farmyard, don’t worry – it’ll be grand! Just another narrow bend that is playing tricks on your eyes!! Having passed through here you will then gradually ascend to a scenic look out spot, Ballahghacaherren (try pronouncing that! below) where you can see across the water to the Ring of Kerry.

Road from Eyeries to Allihies west Cork Ireland Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way

After this spot, you will be descending down into Allihies village and the colourful houses will pop against the natural landscape. This is another spot to test out your driving skills; watch out for oncoming traffic (visitors, locals, tractors, vans, jeeps, buses, motorbikes, cyclists, sheep and (human) walkers). You might like to take it easy as there could be cars pulled over to take pictures/feed sheep/go for a swim and watch out for the close proximity of the sea where it appears almost underneath you with absolutely no warning!

Road from Allihies to Eyeries west Cork Wild Atlantic Way Ring of Beara Ireland swimming spot

A perfect swimming spot on the road into Allihies village

As you arrive into the village, you’ll see the hostel and pubs looking out onto the ocean below. Further down the village is a mini-market and the Allihies Copper Mine Museum and Café, a community enterprise detailing the history of the local area along with delicious fresh home-made food and staff who couldn’t be more helpful with advice on the local walks and area in general.

Allihies village west Cork Ireland O'Neill's pub The Lighthouse pub Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way

Camping at Ballydonegan beach, courtesy of Anthony O’Sullivan and Connie, I had ample opportunity to explore the area. Noticing signs for looped walks of the area, I set off on the North Engine Loop.

What to do in Allihes west Cork looped walks Wild Atlantic Way Ring of Beara Ireland

This is the shorter of the three walks in the area that will take you from Allihies village, down by Ballydonegan Strand, out to Allihies Point and along the headland towards the Copper Mines. Along the way you will have panoramic views of the area…

Allihies Copper Mines west Cork Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way Ireland walks what to do

And catching a glimpse of the Skellig Rocks in the distance…

Allihies west Cork Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

Typical of an Irish summer, whilst the morning was dull as I finished the walk the sun came out and there was no better place to go than into the turquoise waters for a dip. If you do find yourself on Ballydonegan beach, you might be interested to learn the sand is actually a by-product from the copper mines and it is that little bit more coarse than the fine sand on other beaches. If you venture into the waters do stick to the middle section of water as I have heard there can be rips where the river joins the sea.

Originally having planned to stay for one night, after so much fun (and great food) in O’Neill’s, I extended my stay for another night and got to know more of the locals in The Lighthouse and Jimmy’s. With all fish landing just kilometres away (and some fishermen sitting alongside you in the pubs) you will be served the freshest produce and if like me,  will be dreaming of the fish cakes and monkfish when you are back home!

When the time comes to reluctantly leave Allihies, you could take the twisty-turny road for Eyeries, or you could take the high road and look back on one of most welcoming villages in the country from the Bealbarnish Gap as you continue on for Dursey…

Allihies west Cork Ring of Beara Wild Atlantic Way Ireland

P.S. Don’t let the weather ever put you off exploring around Ireland – it is part & parcel of the experience & we have yet to find a person we can blame for when it is bad! Here are 2 more experiences that started out with not great weather & after a while the clouds parted & the sun made its way out…

Slieve Bloom Mountains, Arderin


Killamuck Bog, Abbeyleix