If you’re debating staying in Eyeries in Cork, you’ve landed in the right place.
Bordered by Bantry Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and the Kenmare River Estuary, the Beara Peninsula is one of Ireland’s most naturally beautiful areas.
It’s on Beara that you’ll discover a number of the most charming little villages and towns in Cork, one of which is the colourful village of Eyeries.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Eyeries in Cork to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Eyeries in Cork
Although a visit to Eyeries in Cork is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Sitting at Maulin’s base, the highest peak of the Slieve Miskish, Eyeries looks out over Coulagh Bay and Kenmare Bay like a colourful custodian. It’s a 41km drive from Kenmare and half an hour to Allihies on the tip of the Peninsula.
2. A clatter of colour
Eyeries is one of the most beautiful villages in Ireland. Renowned for its colourful houses, made even more spectacular by the flower displays in every window and regularly wins awards in the small village category of Ireland’s Tidy Towns competition. When you add in the stunning sunsets on an uninterrupted horizon, it’s easy to see why artists love living here.
3. A fine base for exploring the Beara Peninsula
If you’re going to pick a base to tackle the Ring of Beara for a few days while you explore, you couldn’t choose a better place than Eyeries. It’s a mere 8 minutes drive across the Peninsula to Castletown-Bearhaven, and you can walk, drive, or cycle the Beara Loop back to what’s often called the most colourful village in Ireland.
Things to do in Eyeries (and nearby)
One of the beauties of basing yourself in Eyeries in Cork is that it’s a short spin away from some of the best things to do in Cork!
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Eyeries (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Spin along the coast and soak up the views
One of the upsides of the area around Eyeries is that you don’t need an itinerary, or a guide, or even any sense that you must have a destination.
Discover the hidden bays; stop and have a picnic and a swim before meandering along to the next track or boreen that is too inviting to resist.
The mountains, coastline and landscape combine to provide a canvas for the village itself, and with its position on the bluff, you can take advantage of all the beauty the Beara Peninsula and West Cork has to offer.
2. Head for a ramble at Derreen Garden
There’s nothing like a ramble through a woodland garden on a hot day (yes, Ireland has hot days!) to restore your equilibrium. Add in a twist of history, and you’ve got the perfect combination.
Descendants of the Landsdowne family (the original owners) own the house and gardens, which date to the 1700s.
The land around the house was transformed from rock and scrub in the late 1800s and is now home to collections of shrubs and trees brought back from the Himalayas.
The garden is also famous for its huge rhododendrons and is now one of Ireland’s most established gardens.
The gardens are just a short 20-minute drive from Eyeries, located just outside of Lauragh.
Related read: Check out our guide to 31 of the best things to do in West Cork (a mix of tourist favourites and hidden gems)
3. Walk the Copper Mines Trail in Allihies
Once you’ve visited the museum and have an idea of what went on and how the mines came to be in Allihies, it’s time for the Copper Mines Trail.
There are three walking tracks, starting at 1km, and you’d better have your wet-weather gear with you as you can encounter all four seasons in the space of an hour.
The sense of isolation, particularly if there are no other walkers around, will fire your imagination about what life might have been like for the families who lived here.
Nowadays, you’ll only have the sheep for company. It’s worth climbing as high as you can for the magnificent views.
4. Take the cable car over to Dursey Island
As of March 2023, the cable car is closed for a major maintenance project. Cork County Council has yet to announce a date for reopening.
A 10-minute ride on Ireland’s only cable car will take you to Dursey Island, one of the few inhabited islands in this part of the Country.
Birdwatching is the main attraction on Dursey Island, even if you’re not an avid birdwatcher. The Gannet Colony houses thousands of birds, including Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins.
During the migration season, birds arrive from areas as diverse as North America, Siberia, and Southern Europe, and viewing is possible from the paths as you walk around.
As usual, sturdy footwear and raincoats are a must, and if the island is busy, you might have to queue a while for the return journey.
5. Do the Beara Peninsula drive/cycle
Eyeries is the perfect location to begin your journey around the Beara Peninsula. This loop is less travelled than the Ring of Kerry but may be all the better for that.
The roads are narrow, and you really ought to have some experience driving on Irish roads before you attempt it.
Ardmore Sea Caves are slightly off the beaten track but will make a great first stop on your route as you look through the enormous gaps in the cliffs to Kenmare Bay below.
In our guide to the Ring of Beara, you’ll find a map to follow along with all of the various places to see on the route.
6. Drive the very bendy Healy Pass
The Healy Pass is one of Cork’s most incredible drives, primarily because it’s not very well known and begs for exploration. The Pass transverses the Cork-Kerry border over the Caha Mountains, with views to the Bays of Bantry and Kenmare, and beyond.
During the famine years, starving Irish workers built what became known as ‘famine roads’ in exchange for food. The Healy Pass, or Kerry Pass as it was known then, is one of those roads.
Winding, twisting, clinging to the mountain’s edge as it winds ever upwards, it’s not a road for the fainthearted. It is a road that’s unspoiled and wild, and if that’s what you’re looking for, the Healy Pass is one of the best in Europe.
7. Take a boat over to Bere Island
Bere Island is 2km from the town of Castletownbere, the largest fishing port of its type in Ireland, and lies at the entrance to Bantry Bay. You can take a ferry from Castletownbere or Pontoon about 2km away.
The island is rich in history, with archaeological sites across the island. They range from the Bronze Age right through to the 15th century.
When the British arrived in this part of Ireland, they built barracks, towers, and fortifications to house 6-inch guns, all still visible today.
Its permanent population is around 200 but basking sharks, whales, dolphins, and many bird species all attract visitors every year. Restaurants, bars, and water sports are all on offer to entertain.
8. Head for a ramble around the stunning Glenchaquin Park
Glenchaquin Park is a valley that was formed during the Ice Age and has changed little since then.
Marvel at the waterfall, which feeds a succession of lakes on the valley floor, climb the carved steps of mountain paths and use the log bridges to explore rock passages.
All of this is set against the backdrop of Ireland’s highest mountain, the McGillicuddy Reeks.
With three levels of viewing platforms, you’ll have some fantastic views but wear boots with good grips. The access road is a bit tricky, but the walks and the views are worth it.
You won’t find any hotels in Eyeries, but you will find plenty of guesthouses and B&Bs, the majority of which have racked up great reviews online.
Note: If you book a stay via the link above we may make a tiny commission. You won’t pay extra, but it helps us keep this site going (cheers if you do – it’s beyond appreciated!).
Eyeries restaurants and pubs
There’s a handful of places to enjoy a pint in Eyeries but if you are looking for a bite to eat, you only need to take a short drive down the road.
1. Causkey’s Bar
Sitting in Causkey’s Bar with a cool drink on a hot day, taking in the panoramic views of the Kenmare River and Coulagh, what could be better?
You can almost make a game out of watching the expressions as people see the view for the first time, and often, the only sound you’ll hear is the click of cameras.
When you go back inside, you can watch the sun go down, framed by the huge window in the lounge.
2. O’Shea’s Bar
Bright, friendly, and spacious, O’Shea’s is a typical example of an Irish pub with a mixed clientele and where visitors are made welcome. If you need your football fix while you’re travelling, you can catch it here or join the card players in front of the fire.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be there for a sing-song. It doesn’t have a restaurant but serves delicious snacks all day long. “The Pint” (Guinness) is good, and the craic is mighty.
3. Murphy’s Restaurant
Just a short 7-minute drive over to Castletown-Bearhaven, Murphy’s Restaurant has been serving up local seafood since 1952. This family-run restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere and knows its way around a piece of fresh fish. Make sure to check out their seafood chowder or the roast duck. Their extensive menu has something on it for everyone.
4. Breen’s Lobster Bar & Restaurant
Breen’s Lobster Bar serves great seafood and creamy pints, which is really all we want after a day exploring the Beara Peninsula. This bright pink restaurant is impossible to miss in Castletown-Bearhaven, and you wouldn’t want to. They serve fresh local seafood brought in at the harbour as well as locally sourced meat and produce. Check out the catch of the day – they can guarantee that it’s fresh. With a menu that changes with the season, every trip to Breen’s is a unique experience.
FAQs about visiting Eyeries in Cork
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Cork that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking about everything from things to do in Eyeries to what to see nearby.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Eyeries worth visiting?
Yes. Eyeries is a great place to base yourself from while exploring Beara. It’s also a nice little town to spin through if you’re doing a loop of the peninsula. It’s a small little town with a couple of pubs and shops.
Are there many things to do in Eyeries?
There’s a handful of things to do in Eyeries, but the big draw of this little village is that it’s a glorious little base for exploring Beara. So, make the village your base, explore during the day, and then soak up the charm of a small, scenic Irish village in the evening.
Are there many pubs and restaurants in Eyeries?
While there aren’t many of either, there are enough to keep you fed and watered. Pub wise, you’ve O’Shea’s and Causkey’s. For food, you may have to drive a short distance to Castletown-Bearhaven.