Hike a Part of the Sheep's Head Way near Kilcrohane

Rate this Adventure 7.5 miles 1049.9 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Fabian Wiktor

This fantastic hike treats you with literally everything you would expect from wandering on the Irish coast...lush and green meadows, the windy and rough coastline, a very photogenic ruin, a little climb up a pretty windy mountain and incredible panoramic views of the beautiful Sheep's Head Peninsula. Well and of course a rainbow and the obligatory pint of Guinness!

The sleepy village of Kilcrohane almost at the tip of the Sheep's Head peninsula in Southwestern Ireland is the  perfect starting point for this little 12k hike through the stunning scenery between the Bays of Bantry and Dunmanus. After a luscious Irish breakfast you might want to tie you boots and start walking. Be sure to pack a wind-proof jacket and a neck warmer...you'll be happy to carry them with you once the coastal wind starts giving you the chills. 

Finding a parking spot in Kilcrohane is easy. You can leave your ride at the side of the road, across the church and the little market. Leaving the town of Kilcrohane and getting on the path is actually a bit confusing. You follow the main road towards Ahakista along the meadows where you can't miss the way points of the Sheep's Head Way and follow them until suddenly you have to climb a little wall right after the town sign and just continue on the meadow between cows and horses. No worries, they are as relaxed as their Irish owners. Crossing another ledge and you're already at the waterfront. Keep on walking on a tiny gravel dam between the Atlantic Ocean and the tiny Farranamanagh Lough. That's when you're almost at the ruins of O'Dalys Poetry School which sits on a small hill right above you. Take a seat here and for the first time you'll be able to dive into the marvelous views of the region. Leaving O'Dalys you're back on the Sheep's Head Way, passing alongside luscious meadows and those tiny Irish stone walls you'll find everywhere on the countryside. The scenery is like right out of a postcard. Finally you'll find a small, almost hidden junction towards the Loop Walk Barán. This part of the trail leads you to the top across the rough rocks of Rosskerrig Mountain. Keep looking out for the way markers which are basically wooden sticks with a bit of yellow paint on it. Once you made it to the top, you won't regret it. The panoramic view of the two bays, the tiny Irish villages below and the wilderness of the mountain range is stunning and will leave you speechless. However, with no other human being around I felt free and screamed of happiness from the top of my lungs. 

If you continue the trail down the mountain you'll rejoin  the Sheep's Head Way on the "Windy Gap". Just follow the trail to the few houses of Gortnakilly. The view of the scattered houses on the coast of Bantry Bay will make a photographer's heart beat faster. Join the tiny road and follow it to the left. It'll lead you right back into Kilcrohane across the "Goats Pass" and it's plain white statue of the virgin Mary. From here you'll have a fantastic view of the green valley of Kilcrohane. Take a moment and sit down.  It'll be worth it. If you follow the road now, you can't miss Kilcrohane.

Once you've passed the town sign, watch out for "Eileen's Fitzpatrick's Pub". This traditional pub will spoil you with a warming chimney fire. Refule yourself with some pints of Guinness and great sandwiches. Eileen is preparing and serving them herself and is a wonderful and typically Irish host. Resting and warming up here, is the best feeling you'll get all day. 

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