Sheep's Head Way

A circular self-guided walking holiday through West Cork and around remote Sheep's Head Peninsula in Ireland, beginning and ending in Bantry.

Hemmed into fields but never without a wilder view, West Cork's verdant landscape hosts bustling communities in market towns and harbour villages, and juts into the North Atlantic as Sheep's Head Peninsula. This craggy ridge, with its far-reaching views and its steep cliff drops, provides some of the most remote walking we offer in Ireland.

Sheep's Head Way begins in Bantry. The route climbs above the town to the ridge top, past a quiet holy well to stunning views across the rocky shoreline of Bantry Bay, capped with green foliage. With mountain peaks ever-present at the skyline, the walk threads along the ridgetop toward Glanlough, Bantry Bay behind, Dunmanus Bay glittering ahead. It climbs up the flanks of Gouladene Mountain, a challenging ascent that rewards proportionately glorious, far-reaching views over Bear and Mizen Head Peninsulas.

At a pass at the foot of Seefin Mountain, an optional detour continues all the way to view a white marble Marian statue, the low stone seat installed at the launch of the Sheep's Head Way, and even finer views across rugged landscape. Narrow farm tracks lead onward to Cahergal.

The walk from Cahergal to Kilcrohane is the most remote on this holiday, following the edge of the peninsula itself. Past abandoned copper mine shafts and a standing tombstone for an unknown sailor, the walk clings to the cliff edge, a rope hand-rail set into the rock to assist as the sea surges below. The trail descends the far side to a cove, providing a calmer place to sit and soak in the tidal scenery.

The route meets heathland as it presses onward, with a waterfall tumbling down the cliffside to the right and rock pools shimmering below. The lighthouse lies ahead, standing from the rocky crest of Sheep's Head. All that lies around it, wild and unspoiled, is recognised as a European Destination of Excellence for its immense natural beauty.

The isolation of the peninsula is slowly scaled back on the return east. A helicopter pad marked out with white stone slabs caps one flat clifftop, and holiday homes cluster on the southern shore. Eventually the track reaches Kilcrohane, a lively seaside village at the foot of Seefin Mountain whose character shines through in its pubs, festivals and community-run market shop.

Green tracks head east from here, past the ruin of a medieval bardic school and Poet's Well, a recently-restored holy well. Along an indistinct farm track, the Sheep's Head Way seeks out Durrus, home to the ruin of Cûl-na-Long Castle and a number of public gardens.

The departure from Durrus follows either road and smooth track or a challenging, boggy path into the forest. It curves gently upward from here, with plenty of view and picnic points. Through Bantry House grounds, the Sheep's Head Way finds its end in Wolfe Tone Square, Bantry.

  • Looking out from the summit of Gouladane over Bantry Bay to the Beara Peninsula and over Dunmanus Bay to Mizen Head.
  • Standing at the very tip of Sheep's Head Peninsula and looking out across the sea.
  • Relaxing in the fresh sea air outside one of County Cork's many pubs at the end of a long day's walk.

Sheep's Head Way

Around the remote Sheep's Head Peninsula in Ireland, beginning and ending in Bantry.
Total Distance 58 miles (93 km)
Start and Finish Circular trail beginning in Bantry
Availability 2nd January to 24th December
click on a photo to enlarge
Sheep's Head Way - Bantry
Sheep's Head Way - Bantry Bay
Sheep's Head Way - Sheeps Head Peninsula
Tour Code Itinerary Tour Price    
SSHW1 6 nights, 5 days walking £710 per person More Information Book Online
Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are walking on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:
£40 per person / per night
£30 per person / per night
You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:
Extra night (Standard)
£50 per person / per night
All of our prices are in British pounds (£). Use our currency converter to convert British pounds (£) to your country’s currency.

The price that you pay includes:

  • accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • door to door luggage transfers for every day of your tour.
  • maps, guidebooks and a tour pack detailing specific information about your holiday.