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Fitness
Hiking trail

Adrigole to Castletownbere

Hiking trail · Ireland
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • A colourful welcome to Castletownbere
    / A colourful welcome to Castletownbere
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Views of Bere Island
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Looking back up to the summit of Hungry Hill
    Photo: Macs Adventure
ft 1000 500 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 mi

A quite strenuous but spectacular walk from Adrigole, skirting the lower slopes of Hungry Hill and other mountains in the Caha range, to the popular fishing town of Castletownbere.

difficult
22.6 km
7:00 h
752 m
768 m

Starting in Adrigole, a small coastal settlement overlooked by Hungry Hill (685m) you initially make your way along tarmacked road past the seafront before heading inland. Once you pick up the Beara Way track you’re now on often steep open hillside for the majority of the day. As there is little in the way of a track from here you’ll need to rely on your friends the “Yellow Men” signs to point the way. Whilst you work your way towards Castletownbere enjoy stunning views of the Caha Mountains, Atlantic Ocean and Bere Island. Past the halfway point you will cross a couple of small but beautiful waterfalls each with a pool making a great spot to enjoy a stop for lunch. The final sections skirt the edge of a large peat bog before joining the main track downhill to Castletownbere.

This is a fishing town so fuel up on the “catch of the day” or a bowl of steaming seafood chowder at one of it’s many fine restaurants.

Author’s recommendation

Be sure to stop for a pint at MacCarthy's Bar, made famous on the cover of Pete McCarthy's book "McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of discovery in Ireland".

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
331 m
Lowest point
1 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Although this route does have the benefit of the Beara Way's "Yellow Man" marker posts, they are very spaced out and often only visible from higher ground. If visibility is low this could make navigation difficult. We recommend using the Macs App on your smartphone if you can.

Most of the terrain crosses open grassland with little in the way of an obvious track so do think twice about attempting this during bad weather or low visibility. If the weather does close in whilst you're en route there are a couple of escape options to make your way down to the main road.

 

 

Tips, hints and links

Food & Drink

There is a small store in Adrigole at the beginning of the route where you can pick up some snacks. Alternatively, to save stopping, there is the local store in Glengarriff which has a deli that can make you some delicious fresh sandwiches, open daily from 8am.

Points of interest

Hungry Hill

Standing at 685m tall, and straddling the county lines of Cork and Kerry, Hungry Hill is the highest mountain in the Caha range. Its name derives from the Irish "eadar goil" meaning "between an inlet of the sea" but if you were to ask a local they may tell you "It's got quite an appetite for bodies!"  However, dont let this put you off as you'll be keeping to its lower slopes on this walk rather than attempting the summit. It has also lent its name to a famous 1940s novel by the British authour Daphne du Maurier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_Hill

Aghakista Bridge

The Aghakista Bridge over the Kista stream was part of the original route from Glengarriff to Castletownbere. This ‘old road’ to the town preceded the current south road and the bridge was replaced by Brandy Hall Bridge a little way downstream. Across the stream you can see the remains of a 19th century Tuck Mill known locally as “Florry Kelly’s Mill”. The Tuck mill was powered by diverted water from the stream and used to shrink woolen cloth by churning it in vats.

D.F.MacCarthy's poem "The Old Mill" celebrates this spot and the families that once lived here.

Start

Primary School in Adrigole. (28 m)
Coordinates:
DD
51.695610, -9.720032
DMS
51°41'44.2"N 9°43'12.1"W
UTM
29U 450235 5727429
w3w 
///opener.sleek.strides

Destination

Centre of Castletownbere.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – Standing with your back to the orange & cream primary school TURN RIGHT and follow the road for almost 2km. Beware of traffic at this point as there is no pavement.

0.16 km – On your left you will pass a small shop, as there’s nowhere else to eat en route you may wish to stop here to fill up on snacks and perhaps a sandwich from the deli.

1.80 km – After the bridge TURN RIGHT onto the single-track lane signed “L8949” and “Beara Way”.

2.40 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON as the road splits.

3.60 km – TURN LEFT to leave the road and cross a set of green steps then follow the yellow markers up the steep hillside.

3.80 km – BEAR RIGHT at the yellow marker then continue to the far end of a rocky outcrop, keeping it to your left hand side.

4.20 km – BEAR LEFT slightly at the next marker then head straight up towards a small col between the rocks.

4.30 km – 200m short of the col BEAR RIGHT.

4.60 km – At the top of the rocky ridgeline TURN LEFT to work your way across a grassy/rocky plateau. A heads up that at the time of writing this the ground here had been dug up by farm machinery, therefore you have to skirt around this area to find the bridge at 4.90km. If you follow the GPS tracks you will find the way with no problem.

4.90 km – After skirting the rocks to avoid boggy land you then cross a small wooden bridge spanning a drainage ditch. Continue STRAIGHT ON to re-join the track after a low drystone wall.

5.00 km – Cross a set of green steps then BEAR RIGHT as you reach a stony vehicle track. Enjoy views across the bay and your first glimpse of Bere Island.

6.00 km – As the vehicle track bears left, just after a short descent, TURN RIGHT to leave the track and scramble up steep rocky ground to a small plateau. Be very careful on the rocks here during or after wet weather, as they can be very slippery.

6.60 km – Cross a stream just below a series of small waterfalls. Then BEAR RIGHT to head up hill and cross a second stream 50m on.

6.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON following the steep rocky trail.

7.50 km – Cross a small stream as you descend into a short gully, then TURN LEFT and continue downhill towards the lake and away from Hungry Hill.

8.00 km – TURN RIGHT onto the vehicle track to skirt the shores of the lake.

8.60 km – As the vehicle track BEARS RIGHT it begins to ascend and finishes as the path once again becomes rocky and muddy. Keep your eyes out for the yellow markers leading the way.

9.50 km – Once you reach the river TURN LEFT to follow the left bank downstream.

9.70 km – Cross the river using a short metal bridge then TURN LEFT again to follow the right bank downstream.

9.80 km – BEAR RIGHT slightly away from the river then continue STRAIGHT ON across open, often boggy, land. Keep following the yellow markers.

10.10 km – Cross the small stream then head uphill towards the next marker.

10.40 km – The track now weaves through some rocks than can be very slippery. Continue STRAIGHT ON.

10.90 km – After a short ascent cross a river using the metal bridge then continue STRAIGHT ON uphill.

11.00 km – TURN LEFT to follow the stony vehicle track for 100m then TURN RIGHT.

11.50 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON through the col as the track starts to descend.

11.80 km – BEAR LEFT slightly at the next marker and continue on downhill.

11.90 km – Cross the green steps then BEAR LEFT towards another set some 200m in the distance.

12.10 km – Cross the green steps then BEAR RIGHT across open land for 50m before your reach another set of steps at the edge of the river.

12.20 km – Cross the river using the metal bridge then immediately TURN RIGHT to follow the banks of the river back upstream. There is a lovely pool just below a small waterfall here, great for a dip if it’s a hot day.

12.30 km – TURN LEFT then head uphill for 100m before you TURN LEFT again as you join another stony vehicle track.

12.80 km – TURN RIGHT at the junction. There is the choice to turn left here and descend towards the main road for Castletownbere if you need to for any reason.

13.40 km – BEAR LEFT and continue to follow the track.

13.90 km – TURN LEFT as the track splits, after another 100m you’ll get a great view of Castletownbere and it’s harbour.

15.00 km – TURN RIGHT to join a muddy ascending track next to a metal gate.

15.10 km – TURN LEFT to leave the track and cross open, unmarked land.

15.20 km – Cross a small stream using the metal grate then continue STRAIGHT ON.

15.40 km – Cross another stream then BEAR RIGHT towards slabby rock faces in the distance.

15.70 km – Cross a set of green steps then TURN LEFT and join a stony track after 100m.

16.00 km – Go through the metal gate then continue STRAIGHT ON. There is a set of green steps to your left if the gate is locked.

17.20 km – TURN RIGHT at the junction onto a grassy track.

17.60 km – TURN RIGHT to follow the fence line and continue STRAIGHT ON uphill until you reach some more green steps.

18.10 km – Cross the steps then BEAR RIGHT towards some rocky land 100m in the distance.

18.30 km – At the bottom of a short descent BEAR LEFT towards two low upright stones then continue on down the hillside.

18.60 km – TURN LEFT as you join the vehicle track then continue to follow this.

19.80 km – Cross a final set of green steps and continue STRAIGHT ON past a couple of houses. The track soon becomes a tarmacked single-track lane as you follow it.

21.30 km – TURN RIGHT onto a two lane road signposted “Beara Way”. Beaware of traffic now, you wont have seen a car for a long time!

21,50 km – As the road BEARS LEFT take a moment to look at Aghakista Bridge which used to be part of the original route from Glengarriff to Castletownbere.

21.70 km – TURN RIGHT to cross the stone bridge and join the main road into Castletownbere.

22.10 km – Your walk ends here opposite the big blue building of Murphy’s Restaurant and the entrance to the harbour.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

DD
51.695610, -9.720032
DMS
51°41'44.2"N 9°43'12.1"W
UTM
29U 450235 5727429
w3w 
///opener.sleek.strides
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Along with your usual kit list for a day out on the hill you should consider packing gaiters, poles and an extra layer. After lots of rain, specially early on in the season this walk (when not walking on tarmac) can be very boggy and waterlogged. We recommend therefore that you use good quality waterproof hiking boots.

In complete contrast, if you're lucky enough to be walking this on a fine day you might regret not packing your swimsuit as there are a couple of lovely waterfall pools along the way.


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
22.6 km
Duration
7:00h
Ascent
752 m
Descent
768 m
Round trip Scenic

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