Day 3 – Exploring some of the wildest places in West Cork 

Day 3 takes us into the belly of the Wild Atlantic Way.

We’ll be travelling from Schull, our base on night 2, right the way along the coast to Bantry.

Today is packed with with lots of active things to do in West Cork that’ll immerse you in a special kind of beauty that this corner of Ireland has by the bucket load.

Here’s everything you need to know about day 3!

What we'll be doingWhere we'll be sleepingWhat you'll need

Brow Head – one of the wildest places in Ireland
A nosey around Mizen Head
The Sheep’s Head Way Cahergal Loop
Bantry for a post-walk coffee and cake
A walk through Glengarriff Nature Reserve
Bantry for the night

The Bantry Bay Hotel, Bantry

Hiking boots
Rain gear (weather dependent)
Some snacks

Day 3 Stop #1 – Embracing the Beauty and Remoteness of Brow Head

Schull to Brow Head – 30-minute drive (arrive for 9:00)

brow head cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

In my mind, places like Brow Head are what exploring Ireland is all about; experiencing the islands beauty in its rawest form.

No fancy visitor centers. No crowds. Just nature, as it was intended.

As you can see from the footage above, I was recently perched at the top of the steep hill at Brow Head in West Cork, gazing down the narrow grass lined road that leads to Crookhaven.

Visit this place. It’s an experience and a half.

Here’s what it’s like when it isn’t raining cats and dogs.

brow head in west cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Day 3 Stop #2 – Having a nosey around Mizen Head

Brow Head to Mizen Head – 20-minute drive (leave Brow Head at 9:40, arrive to Mizen for 10:00)

mizen head best things to do west cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You’ll find Mizen Head listed on many travel forms as ‘the Best thing to do in West Cork’.

It’s definitely one of the most visited attractions in the area, anyway.

I visited here recently in the summer of 2018, and it really is an experience and a half (the ice cream is also savage…)

The Mizen Head Signal Station was built to save lives off the treacherous rocks at Ireland’s most south-westerly point.

mizen head west cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Kick your visit off by spending a bit of time wandering around the the Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction.

From here, take a stroll down towards the Signal Station – it’s a 15 minute walk along a gravelly path, down 99 steps (these were closed on the day that I visited) and across the beautiful arched bridge.

Take your time walking around and admiring the views that lay as far as the eye can see.

Day 3 Stop #4 – Lunch at Mizen

Nip into the cafe at Mizen Head after you’ve explored the area (Spend an hour wandering around and arrive back to the cafe for 11:30).

We’ve a long drive and walk ahead of us, so fuel up with a hearty lunch at the cafe at Mizen Head.

If you haven’t packed any snacks or water, grab some here and pop them in your bag.

Day 3 Stop #5 – The Sheep’s Head Way Cahergal Loop

Mizen Head to the Sheeps Head Way – the starting point is a 50-minute drive from Mizen (leave Mizen at 12:30, arrive to The Butter House in Ahakista for 13:20)

sheeps head walk
Photo by George Karbus

Sheep’s Head is the headland at the end of the Sheep’s Head peninsula, nestled between Bantry Bay and Dunmanus Bay.

The peninsula is extremely popular with walkers, with more than 20 looped walks to choose from.

The Sheep’s Head way is a roughly 88 km long-distance trail that follows old tracks and roads around the peninsula.

sheeps head way walsk
Photo via Tourism Ireland

For this road trip, we’re going to head off on the Cahergal Loop.

The lads at the Sheep’s Head Way have created a detailed guide to help you navigate the 3-hour Cahergal Loop walk.

You need to start it at the Black Gate/Alice West Centre (15-minute walk from The Butter House).

best things to do west cork sheeps head
Photo via Tourism Ireland

Here’s a quick guide on the walk (via the lads at the Sheep’s Head Way)

  • From the car park at the Alice West Centre follow the purple loop walk arrows along the public road
  • At way marker no. 3 turn left off the road.
  • Keep going up the track until you reach way marker no. 15 and turn left.
  • Cross the peninsula to the Bantry Bay side until you reach the car park at Cahergal.
  • Keep left after going over the timber stile and cross the road where you will go over another timber stile passing way marker no. 206.
  • At way marker no. 238 keep left and turn right at the finger post sign for “The Poet’s Way” and go off road over a timber stile (way marker no. 65)
  • Follow the way markers until you meet no. 348. Turn left here and keep going straight until way marker no. 354 and turn right.
  • Continue down to the public road and back to the Alice West Centre.

If you’d like to explore some of the other walks in the area, the Sheep’s Head way website is a fantastic resource.

Day 3 Stop #6 – Bantry for a post-walk coffee and cake

The Sheeps Head Way to Bantry – 20-minute drive (finish up the walk at 16:30 and arrive in Bantry for 16:50)

We’re going to refuel with a light snack after the walk in a place called Organico Cafe in Bantry.

Grab a coffee and treat yourself to a homemade cake (the powerballs also look delish).

Day 3 Stop #7 – A walk through Glengarriff Nature Reserve

Bantry to Glengarriff Nature Reserve – 20-minute drive (leave Bantry at 17:10, arrive to the nature reserve for 17:30)

You’ll be burning some amount of calories today.

Our final activity for day 3 is the High Walk in Glengarriff Nature Reserve.

glengariff walk west cork

This walk is a 2.8k, 90 minute stroll.

Otherwise known as the High Walk, this trail climbs up through the woods for some fantastic views over the trees to the mountains beyond.

Glengariff walks cork

Here are several guides for the various different walks you can embark upon.

We’ve recommended the High Walk as you’ve already exerted a good chunk of energy during your walk earlier at Sheep’s Head.

Day 3 Stop #8 – Bantry for the night

Glengarriff Nature Reserve to Bantry – 20-minute drive (leave the reserve at 19:00, arrive to Bantry for 19:20)

That was a long day of walking – still with me? Let me know in the comments below.

Tonight, we’re staying at the Bantry Bay Hotel. Head on back to your hotel and chill for a while.

When you’re ready to eat, take the 2-minute stroll to Fish Kitchen for a hearty bite to eat.

We’re going to round the evening off with a few pints in Ma Murphy’s pub right across the road from Fish Kitchen.

Where the Road Trip will take us on Day 4 (stop 3 takes us aboard Ireland’s only cable car)

That’s day 3 dooone!

Here’s where we’re taking you on day 4.

Click ‘5’ below to check out day 4 of our West Cork road trip 😘