Sheep's head Peninsula (Ireland)
Taking a walk on the recently created Sheep's Head Way is an ideal means to see the incredible ancient lands. The route combines low, rugged hills and a splendid cliff coastline with paths that completely surround the peninsula. The entire circuit is 88km long and takes approximately four days to complete. There are also shorter loops that focus on specific regions on the route.
For archeology buffs, there are sites and monuments to visit such as Lord Bandon's Folly, Glanlough, Baunta and Brahalish forts. All of these are easily accessible from the loop with guided tours offered for most of them.
There is also an 18-hole golf course located in Bantry town, while road bowling, a traditional West Cork sport, takes place at various spots around the peninsula.
What makes Sheep's Head Peninsula Special?
On this unparalleled strip of land rests some of Ireland's finest traditions. The West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the Masters of Tradition evoke musical memories of years past, while the summer festivals held in each of the villages keep the region bustling with energy.
On the first Friday of each month (summertime every Friday), there's the Bantry Fair Day, a lively market catering to locals and visitors alike.
No trip to Sheep's Head would be complete without stepping foot in the numerous pubs and restaurants. Ireland is known for its quality brews and to not indulge in a pint or two at the many establishments is an opportunity missed.
What makes it sustainable?
In 2006 Sheep's Head was also designated as a Special Area of Protection due to the presence of rare birds such as the chough and peregrine. It is measures such as this that make the region an exceptional example of wildlife conservation.
With the region growing in popularity over the past 20 years, community development projects have emphasized sustainable development that respects the environment, its people, culture and history. The idea is to showcase the peninsula in a fashion that increases visitor numbers while also appreciating the environment.
What to look for in:
- Spring: Fuchsias in full-bloom along the trails
- Summer: Lively festivals celebrating local traditions
- Fall: Powerful waves crashing against the coastal rocks
- Winter: Busy pubs filled with charm
Highlights of Sheep's Head Peninsula:
- Play 18 holes of golf in unmatched paradise
- Eat Sheppard's pie washed down with a pint of locally-made beer
- Spend a quiet night at a century-old bed and breakfast
- Go fishing along the brilliant shoreline