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The Beara Peninsula

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The largest and most remote of Cork’s peninsulas, the Beara (w http://www.bearatourism.com) careers southwestwards for 50km between Bantry Bay and the Kenmare River. Patterns in the landscape are hard to distinguish here, and contrasts frequent. Indeed, the peninsula’s most popular tourist spot, Glengarriff, has built an industry on the stunning contrast between its lush subtropical setting and the irregular, barren rocks of the Caha Mountains behind. The mountainous spine is often augmented by ribs, and particularly in the awesome Slieve Miskish Mountains at the Beara’s tip, the coast road is forced to climb through whatever passes can be found. Round on the north coast, half of which belongs to County Kerry, the only settlements occupy occasional cups of green farmland beneath the stony ridges. This diverse scenery is linked together by two routes: the Beara Way, a 200-kilometre waymarked walk (9–11 days), following mostly tracks and minor roads from Glengarriff west (via Adrigole, Castletownbere and a ferry to Bere Island, which can easily be missed out) to Dursey Island, then along the north coast of the peninsula (via Allihies, Eyeries, Ardgroom and Lauragh) to Kenmare and back to Glengarriff; and the 138-kilometre Beara Way Cycle Route, which mostly follows the quiet main road around the peninsula. Route guides are available locally, and the Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Discovery map 84 covers nearly the whole peninsula.

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