Go Walk: Eyeries and Coulagh Bay, Co Cork

Take a breather and enjoy fragrant air along the rugged Cork coast


Eyeries and Coulagh Bay, Co Cork

Start/Finish: O’Sullivan’s Shop, Eyeries, on the Beara Peninsula, Co Cork.
Distance: 4.5 km
Accumulated ascent: 30 metres.
Time: Can be done in an hour and a bit but that would be a pity!
Suitability This way-marked loop walk on quiet, fragrant side roads and along a beautiful meandering Atlantic shoreline is suitable for all.
Map: OS Discovery 84








The route starts in the colourful award-winning village of Eyeries. We begin at the display board near O’Sullivan’s shop at the southern end of the village and go down a quiet side road towards the sea. It’s a glorious promenade on a summer’s day, fragrant with herbs and wildflowers, the verges full of the blue rosettes of sheep’s bit and the bright yellow stars of hawkweed.

To the south an eastern outlier of the Slieve Miskish mountains raises its great dome, Maulin, while behind, the summit of Knockoura reaches nearly 500 metres above sea level.

As our route reaches the Kealincha river the fresh, briney smell of the sea fills the air. The river meanders its way towards the seashore through salt marshes fringed with reeds and water lilies and frequented by small flocks of curlews with their long curved beaks.

The road winds its way down to Pallas strand to reach the sea at the great inlet between the Iveragh and the Beara peninsulas which is called, in spite of its width, the Kenmare River.

The horizon is a dramatic sweep of rugged coast and mountain: to the north Kilcatherine Point reaches out into the sea to enclose Coulagh Bay and the tiny Eyeries Island, and to the west the Slieve Miskish mountains sweep down to the sea.

On the shore of Kilcatherine Point a craggy boulder can be found that is said once to have been the Hag of Beara, a pagan goddess who was turned to stone by the local saint, St Catherine. Coins and other offerings inserted in cracks in the boulder suggest the old Hag still has some devotees.

The route now follows a grassy path just above the strand. When the seas are high, great breakers sweeping in from the Atlantic and thunderously crashing on the sandy shore here can be very dramatic. In calm weather, the air is filled with the perfume of such herbs as wild thyme, sheep’s bit and the clover that decorates the grassy banks.

Looking back now, there is a fine view of the pastel-coloured houses of Eyeries gathered on the hillside against a backdrop of the severe-looking Caheravert Hill, where it is said copper was mined in the Bronze Age.

Our route continues around the next inlet. Here the shore is covered with cobbles of sandstone of many shades pounded and rounded for centuries by the sea.

The tide line is scattered with seaweed including great limbs of kelp and dillisk, which was very popular once. Cormorants stand on rugged rocks offshore with their wings stretched out to dry. You might be fortunate enough to spot gleaming white gannets from the great gannetry on the Skelligs diving into the swells offshore for fish.

At the tiny harbour of Creha or Drinagh Pier, built in the early 20th century as a shelter for small fishing boats, our route turns inland again and follows a tarmac side road, lined with high hedges of fuchsia and rosebay willow herb.

Meandering uphill, it is not long before we are back in the colourful village of Eyeries and the end of our walk.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.