There’s a little island (Bull Rock) off the coast of Cork that looks like a set from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie…
To be completely honest: I’d never heard about Bull Rock up until last year. I was sat in a cafe in a little town called Castletown-Bearhaven on the Beara Peninsula in Cork.
It was the tail-end of summer… and it was lashing down outside. The original plan for the day was to join an organised walking tour, but the guide rang that morning to say that it was cancelled.
When the chap in the cafe dropped down my coffee, we got to chatting about the area and what there was to do that was a little off the beaten path.
That’s when he mentioned what he described as ‘the most unusual of the many things to do in Cork‘. He was, of course, talking about Bull Rock.
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Welcome to Bull Rock
The chances are you’ll have heard of Cork’s Dursey Island (yep, it’s the one that’s accessible via a cable car).
Dursey is situated at the southwestern tip of the beautiful Beara Peninsula in the even more beautiful region of West Cork.
Off the western point of Dursey lies three rocks:
- Bull Rock
- Cow Rock
- Calf Rock
One of which looks like a set whipped straight from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Bull Rock and ‘the Entrance to the Underworld’
I’ve done a fair whack of travelling around Ireland over the past 10 years, but I’ve never seen anything like this place.
From the moment that I first laid eyes on Bull Rock, I thought that it looked like a deserted island that you’d find tucked away somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
The type of place that pirates would have used back in the day to stash their swag.
Some quick need-to-knows about the island
- The island is roughly 93m high and is 228m by 164m wide
- It’s steep jagged cliffs make it look smaller than it actually is
- A lighthouse was constructed here back in 1889
- There’s a tiny passage that cuts through the rock from one side to the other.
A passageway through the rock
As you can see from the photos above and below, there’s a narrow passageway that cuts through the island.
You’ll see this referred to as ‘the Entrance to the Underworld’ on social media and on places like Reddit and Tripadvisor.
I’ve done a bit of digging, but I can’t find any more info on the background to the name.
It’s not hard to see where the name came from, though – take a look at it up close and you’ll see why!
The Bull Rock Lighthouse
The Bull Rock lighthouse was constructed back in 1889 after it was decided that the cast-iron lighthouse on nearby Calf Island needed to be replaced.
Like many lighthouses in Ireland, the one on Bull Rock was automated in 1991.
Imagine living (yes, people lived on the island) and working here?!
Imagine the conditions during the storms and sounds and smells of the Atlantic wafting over you from every angle.
Bull Rock Boat Tours
Fancy visiting Bull Rock? Dursey Boat Tours offer a 1 hour and 30-minute trip around the island.
They announce departures on their Facebook page and you can give them a bell on 083 8989 999 to book in for a trip.
A full boat of six passengers costs €240
Have you taken a spin out to Bull Rock? Was it worth the trip? Let me know in the comments below!