Beara Peninsula: Spectacular Views, Kind People, And Delectable Food
Have you ever visited a place which enchanted you with its tales, panoramas, people, and food so much that you didn’t want to leave?
My recent trip to the Beara Peninsula, Ireland made me fall in love with the scenery, scrumptious local produce, and the incredible stories of the people living there.
The Beara Peninsula is a narrow stretch of land on the south-west coast of Ireland. It’s a part of the Wild Atlantic route.
Beara encompasses breathtaking views of water and land, winding roads through stunning green hills, picturesque towns and villages, and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
A day trip to the Beara Peninsula has everything a true explorer can wish for.
Ready to explore with me? Then join the journey!
Winding Roads And Spectacular Views Of The Mountains And The Sea
A short stop at Kenmare (Head of the Sea) and a walk through its streets with colourful façades and cute little shops and pubs set the mood for the day. The morning mist was lifting and the sun was shyly peeking through the thin layer of clouds. Although still a little cold, the day promised to be excellent for the road trip ahead.
We passed the bridge over Kenmare Bay and entered the Beara Peninsula.
The road kept turning and winding through the mountains. With each turn, a new shade of green revealed before our eyes. A new grassy pasture, a forest, a tunnel of trees, or a tiny island in the middle of a lake made us realise why they call Ireland the Emerald Island.
Sheep and cows were grazing the pastures. Fishing boats and kayaks painted in vibrant colours were waiting to be taken out at sea.
One more turn of the road and we arrived at the Tim Healy Pass.
At an altitude of 300 m (1.083 ft), a stunning panorama revealed before our eyes. To the south-east we could see Bantry Bay and to the north-west, the Kenmare River.
Behind us was Kerry County. Before us lied Cork County. On one side of the road, the hills of Caha Mountain were rising in the air and on the other side the Slieve Miskish Mountains.
Glanmore Lake reflected the puffy clouds adding another layer of serendipity to the already magical scenery.
We continued on the winding road with our confident Kerry Coaches driver navigating skilfully, listening to the stories about the Beara Peninsula and its people from our knowledgeable guides from Hidden Ireland Tours and Manning’s Emporium gourmet food shop.
Delectable Locally Grown Food And The Slow Food Movement
It was not difficult to understand why the Irish slow food movement started from here as we were looking at the scenery around us. Who would want to hurry up and not take all the time in the world to just sit, enjoy the stunning views, and devour the scrumptious local produce?
Shortly after the Healy Pass, we arrived in the fishing town of Castletownbere.
At the Beara Coast Hotel, for the first time outside of his kitchen, the chef himself prepared his award-winning seafood chowder. It contained six different fresh ocean fish breeds and no shellfish. We savoured each spoon and bite, as it tasted like pure drops of heaven.
After orgasming over our chowder, we washed it down with the Beara Ocean gin. The distillery had just opened a few days earlier and we were among the first visitors to try their remarkable gin made with Atlantic Ocean water and local condiments.
With the taste of the seafood chowder and the ocean gin still in our mouths, we arrived at Milleens Cheese.
The family-run diary uses one recipe and different grade of ageing to produce their Irish farmhouse cheese. Different woodchips are used for their smoked cheese.
The family still uses the same recipe as when they started producing the raw-milk cheese in the 1960s from the milk of their only cow.
Today, Milleens Cheese still believes it is more important to use clean milk from trusted farmers than to kill bad (unfortunately also good) bacteria via pasteurisation. The high quality of their cheese comes from the free grazing cattle and the crisp air infused with ocean fumes.
After listening to the stories about the Kerry and Dexter cows, indigenous to the Beara Peninsula, we were eager to try the roasted beef as well as several other kinds of cheese from the region. The improvised picnic added another climax to the already greatly satisfying experience.
A visit to the Beara Peninsula’s slow food scene could not be complete without trying locally farmed mussels. Kush Shellfish is Ireland’s first organic rope mussels producer. And their shellfish taste heavenly!
Kind And Passionate People And Their Incredible Stories
The people we meet while travelling add an important layer to the overall travel experience.
Everyone we met on our Ireland trip was extremely friendly, kind, and generous. I cannot remember strangers greeting me in the streets of another European country.
The people we met on the Beara Peninsula tour were no different. The stories they shared we us were so emotional and personal, that they left a deep trace in our hearts.
The passion they all had for their land, their heritage, and their work could easily be seen and understood. Hence, everything they produced looked and tasted so extraordinary.
At the end of the long day on the road, it was easy to understand why the main goal of everyone we met was to share his or her story and passion and show how much the small Beara Peninsula has to offer.
The Mystical Beara Peninsula
The Beara Peninsula a destination, which deserves more than just a day trip. Even a weekend won’t do justice to everything that you can see and taste at this jaw-dropping stretch of land.
- Beara Cycling Route and Beara Way Walking Route criss-cross the mountains and the rugged Atlantic coast.
- Boats and kayaks wait to take you out at sea.
- Viewing points reveal spectacular scenery with unimaginable shades of green and blue.
- Cute little towns with facades painted in vibrant colours and stone churches wait to be explored.
- Bronze era stone circles, as old as the Stonehenge, invite you on a journey back in time.
- Pubs and distilleries attract with delectable beverages.
- And local farmers are ready to seduce your palate and share their passion for the food they produce.
As we were driving back to Killarney past the National Park and the sight of Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak, I couldn’t help but think that we only scratched the surface of the mystical Beara Peninsula.
I know I am going back for another taste.
Will you join me?
Disclaimer: the tour of the Beara Peninsula was a part of the TBEX Ireland tours provided by the conference sponsors and partners. Although it was complimentary, all expressed opinions are my own.