Cork county is spoiled with some of the best walking routes in the country allowing for some of the best walking holidays in Ireland. There are 40 designated waymark trails alone, not to mention countless unofficial walks dotted amongst the mountains and along the Wild Atlantic Way. In fact there are more than 1,200 KM’s of coastline much of which can be walked.
Sheep’s Head Way (West Cork)
Walk the Sheep’s Head Way. Chosen as the best walk in Ireland by Country Walking magazine, this 90KM (55 mile) long distance walk has a huge variety of terrain all with beautiful views and there are many long and short loop walks available. Relatively unknown even in Ireland, The Sheep’s Head Way is every walking enthusiasts nirvana, offering without doubt some of the best walking holidays in Ireland. The spectacular beauty, the wide open spaces, the fresh clean air, the ability to breath deep and draw in the silence. It is a truly wonderful experience. Sheep’s Head has also been awarded the title of European Destination of Excellence. The route also links to the excellent St Finbar’s Pilgrims Way which connects The Sheeps Head to stunning Gougane Barra.
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The Blackwater Way (North & East Cork)
The Blackwater Way has been formed by combining two separate routes so that a linear route has been created cross-country all the way from Clogheen in County Tipperary to Muckross in County Kerry. The route traverse mountain ranges, rich farms and woodlands crossing the lush Blackwater Valley, as well as stretches of beautiful isolation and historic settlements. There have been settlements in this part of Ireland going back thousands of years due to the rich bounty of the land. So when passing ancient wedge tombs and tumbledown castles & churches there is a real sense of walking in an ancient land. While there are no technical aspects to the trail it does stretch for 188 KM’s in its entirety. However, as with all such routes it does not have to be tackled all in one giving you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
The Beara Way (West Cork)
The Beara Way Walking Route is another long distance walking route and is over 206 KM’s in length. The route follows the magbificent Beara Peninsula in the South West Corner of Ireland. For the most part the route follows side roads, boreens, bog roads and tracks, taking in all that is special about the place, however there are many exciting side-route hikes that are guaranteed to moisten your brow. After these more challenging hikes, the warm welcome and great food in the local pubs is even more appreciated. www.bearatourism.com/bearaway.html
The Beara Way is also part of an ambitious plan to create The Beara Breifne Way, which would be longest walk in Ireland covering more than 500 KM’s and follows the epic march of O Sullivan Bere in the Winter of 1603.
Walking The Vee (North Cork)
The Knowckmealdown Mountains straddle the Waterford – Tipperary border. The best known part of this range is ‘The Vee’, so called because of the V shaped gap in the mountains. Situated approximately 40 mins drive from Fermoy, there are a number of parking places on this road which provide great views of the surrounding countryside as well as a mountain lake known as Bay Lough. Access for walking is easy. There are a number of roads through the mountains and the Knockmealdowns also contain several way-marked walking routes. The highest point is Knockmealdown mountain at 794 metres (2605 feet). On the southern side of the mountain you have Mount Mellary which is a Cistercian monastery and the stunningly picturesque village of Lismore.
The following are a number of useful sites for planning your holiday in the region.