Day 4 – Mad roads, hungry hills and lots more
We’re on to the final day of the West Cork road trip.
Today, we’re going to pack in some incredible little villages, a unique experience or two and, of course, loads more.
Here’s everything you need to know about day 4!
The Winding Road at Healy Pass
Getting lost near Hungry Hill
Ireland’s only cable car
The wonderful drive to Allihies
The Coastal Drive to Eyeries
Rain gear (weather dependent)
Day 4 Stop #1 – The Winding Road at Healy Pass
Bantry to the Healy Pass – 45-minute drive (leave at 9, arrive for 9:45)
Healy Pass is hands down one of the craziest roads that I’ve ever driven on in Ireland.
The road, which was constructed in 1847 during the years of the famine, looks like a giant snake from above, slithering its way through the two highest summits in the Caha mountain range.
Healy Pass is a corner of Ireland that looks like time passed it by and forgot all about it, leaving it untouched and unspoiled.
When I visited recently, I met 2 or 3 other cars, max, and from talking to people who live in the area, it’s easily missed/over-looked.
Drive the road and pull in (where possible) at the top for a view of Healy Pass on one side, and then Kerry on the other (the photo below shows the Kerry side).
Day 4 Stop #2 – Getting lost near Hungry Hill
Healy Pass to Hungry Hill – 25-minute drive (we’ll leave the pass at 10:30 and the plan is to, yep, get lost up around Hungry Hill)
For me, a big part of any road trip is taking those random little turns that catch your eye, as they often lead to some unexpected piece of scenery that you never knew existed.
OK, they can also lead to being stuck behind a tractor down some narrow country lane for half an hour, but they’re still worth taking the risk on.
I love the area that leads up to and that surrounds Hungry Hill.
Spend some time enjoying the drive, the landscape that envelopes you and take a turn down any random road that catches your eye.
Day 4 Stop #3 – Coffee and a bit of breakfast
Hungry Hill to Cametringane 15-minute drive (arrive for 11:40)
We’re going to head to Cametringane for coffee (and breakfast if you didn’t manage to get food in Bantry) at The Fuchsia Café.
I visited the cafe earlier this year and can vouch for the coffee and full Irish (with Clonakilty pudding…).
Chill for a bit and then get back on the road.
Day 4 Stop #4 – Ireland’s only cable car
Cametringane to the cable car departure point – 45-minute drive (arrive for 13:30)
One of the most unique things to do in West Cork is to jump aboard the cable car to Dursey Island.
Originally opened in 1969, the Dursey Island cable car remains, to this day, the most used means of transport across the choppy waters of the Dursey Sound.
The cable car runs 250m above the sea and takes just 10 minutes to transport explorers from the mainland to the most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands.
When you reach the island, have a ramble around and enjoy spectacular views of the Beara Peninsula.
Day 4 Stop #5 – The wonderful drive to Allihies
Dursey island departure point to Allihies – 20-minute drive (give yourself some time to soak up the scenery and arrive for 15:40)
I did the drive from Healy Pass to Allihies very recently, and it’s one I’ll remember for a long time to come.
Like Sheep’s Head, the drive out to Allihies is sensational.
This corner of Ireland possesses the unique ability to make you feel like you’re the only person left on earth. It’s just you, the mountains, the wind and the waves.
As was the case with Hungry Hill, the best recommendation I can give you with this stretch of the road trip is to get lost.
Literally. Take the roads that tickle your fancy. Follow your nose. And just being curious and inquisitive.
Let the Wild Atlantic Way do the rest.
Nip into the village and get out and stretch the legs.
If you fancy it, drop into the Allihies Copper Mine Museum to learn about what happened when rich copper deposit was discovered in the area in 1812.
Day 4 Stop #5 – The Coastal Drive to Eyeries
Allihies to Eyeries – 30-minute drive (we’re going to allow for an hour. Leave Allihies at 16:30 and arrive for 17:30)
I love this drive.
It hugs the coast and takes you along many a quiet road en route to the colourful little village of Eyeries.
Take your time on this drive and stop whenever the notion takes you.
Here’s what awaits you in Eyeries.
And that’s a wrap on our 4 day road trip
Our West Cork road trip comes to an end in Eyeries.
You can finish the trip here, or you could always extend it into Kerry and beyond by following our 18-day coastal road trip guide.
If you’re still reading, I salute you – thanks for the support.