Welcome to Beara Baoi Tours

Discover the tranquillity and beauty of the Beara Peninsula on its bedrock of crystal.

Beara has often been called the treasure of Ireland’s South West coastline with its raw and rugged shoreline and breath-taking scenery. By car, bus or foot, Baoi Walking Tours combine folklore and local tradition whilst uncovering layers of history hidden within the landscape of this beautiful Peninsula; discover megalithic monuments, ruined vestiges of a vanished Gaelic aristocracy, Napoleonic war towers, and chimneys of the Industrial Revolution while enjoying the peninsula’s dramatic beauty. Learn about Irish mythology and legends of pirates, copper miners, lighthouse rescues, and The Bull, Cow and Calf Rocks. Wildflower and wildlife identification also included in the tours.


About the name

The Irish for Dursey Island, Oileán Baoi, recalls the ancient goddess Baoi. A version of the Cailleach Bhéarra (the Hag of Beara), she was a wise woman known throughout Ireland and Scotland. Her legacy lives on in many local name places e.g. Dunboy (Dun Baoi), Ballaghboy, Boharbui. Early names for Baoi meant ‘cow-like one’ and this bovine association has influenced the names of the nearby rocks, The Bull the Cow and the Calf which stand in the sea next to Dursey.

According to legend this rock is the remains of the 'Hag of Beara', staring out to sea awaiting her husband, Manannán mac Lir, God of the Sea, to return to her.
According to legend this rock is the remains of the “Hag of Beara”

The Cailleach Beara’s fossilised remains overlook Coulagh bay, Eyeries, awaiting the return of her husband, sea god Manannan.

Ancient Sites

Derreenataggart Stone Circle
Castletownbere, Beara Peninsula

Lehanmore Ring fort
Beara Peninsula

Wedge tomb
Barnes, Beara Peninsula

Ardgroom Stone Circle,
Beara Peninsula.

Enclosure and Burial ground,
Balydonegan, Beara Peninsula.

Gallaun Standing Stone
Cahermore, Beara Peninsula.

Teernahillane Ring Fort,
Beara Peninsula

Dursey Island Discs

Dursey Island Discs
From August 8th

Launches on Tuesday August 8th, 8pm, at Lehanmore Community Centre

Inspired by BBC Radio 4’s long-running series, Desert Island Discs, Beara Arts Festival presents its own series of podcasts, Dursey Island Discs.

Dursey Island Discs features three Dursey Islanders – Gerald Murphy, Rosarie O’Neill and Martin Sheehan – along with four others who have close associations with the island: Pat O’Neill, Penny Durell, Anne Finch, and Desmond O’Reilly.

All seven are interviewed by local writer Carina McNally and asked to imagine what records, book, luxury item and companion they would wish to have with them if they were ever marooned on Dursey, the only island in Ireland that is connected to the mainland by cable-car.

The interviews are available as podcasts below, and will also be broadcast at Lehanmore Community Centre, the last café on the mainland before the cable-car to Dursey, from August 8th.

Gerald Murphy grew up on Dursey. He now lives in Glenera, and returns to the island daily to farm.


Rosarie O’Neill grew up on Dursey. She now lives in Eyeries, where she runs Formanes House B&B. She returns regularly to the island.


Penny Durell lives in Ballinacarriga, overlooking Dursey Island. She is the author of the island history, Discover Dursey.


Martin Sheehan grew up on Dursey. He now lives in Castletownbere, and returns regularly to the island to farm and fish.


Anne Finch lives in Castletownbere and also has a home on Dursey. She maintains the website durseyisland.ie.


Desmond O’Reilly is a lawyer in London and has a holiday home in Adrigole. His mother, Kathleen Causkey, came from Dursey.


Pat O’Neill lives in Garnish. He has delivered the post to Dursey for the past 38 years.


Dursey Island Discs is presented by Carina McNally, recorded by Cormac O’Connor and produced by Marc O’Sullivan Vallig.

Allihies Artists Tour

An old mining village nestled between the Sliabh Miskish Mountains and Ballydonegan Bay, Allihies boasts a vibrant community of artists. The light and energy of the place has long been synonymous with Irish Art. This tour allows you to visit artists in their homes and studios as well as the area that inspires them. With an option to buy, this tour gives visitors a unique opportunity to engage with local artists.

You will visit between 4 and 5 artists per tour.


Dursey (named from the Viking Bull Island)

Dursey Island, accessible by Ireland’s only cable car, offers one of the most exciting day trips in Ireland. Learn of Pre-Christian divinities, Vikings, monks, mariners, bishops, press gangs, pirates and shipwrecks which are all part of the island’s story.

Dursey Cable Car
Dursey Island Cable Car

Dursey often found itself central to religious and political turmoil; The Napoleonic Wars, Elizabethan massacres and quarrelling Gaelic chieftains have all left their mark. Standing stones, holy wells, ancient monasteries, the Signal Tower and the O’Sullivan Bere’s family tomb stand as a testimony to the island’s past. Stories of the Bull Rock lighthouse and the 1881 Calf Rock rescue are all recalled on this tour.

Dursey Island is one of only 15 signature discovery points located along the Wild Atlantic Way. The views from the Dursey include Scariff and Deenish islands, the mountains of Iveragh, Skellig Michael and to the south the Mizen and Sheep’s Head. Dolphins, whales, seals, and otters are regular visitors to the rich waters that surround Dursey.

Kilmichael village Dursey
Kilmichael village Dursey

Dursey is 6.5 km long and 1.5 km wide and has no shops, pubs or restaurants, so walkers are advised to bring food and water.

Watch a video shot on the Dursey Island here

The Industrial Revolution – Allihies Copper Mines Tour

You are invited on a historical and social tour of Europe’s most westerly copper mines. Bronze Age people already knew that Beara’s crystal bedrock held precious copper ore but in 1812 mining began on an industrial scale. Allihies’ post-industrial landscape shows some of the best evidence of 19th century mining in the world today. The remains of mine related buildings litter the landscape; discover disused mines, a gun powder house, dressing floors and man made reservoirs. The engine houses that tower over the landscape once housed giant steam engines that pumped water from the mines, drove winding gear and lowered the miners far below sea level.

During the tour you are invited to imagine Allihies echoing with the sound of giant machinery crushing quartz rock to get at copper. Imagine walking through Pig Street, the walkway up to the mines that once housed hundreds of poor mining families. Imagine Berehaven Mine company’s schooners leaving Beara loaded down with copper heading for the smelting houses of Swansea. Learn about mine owners, the Puxleys, and their mansion at Dunboy. Bear witness to the phenomenal mining industry at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that changed the Allihies landscape forever.

The tour ends at the Copper Mine Museum, Allihies Village. Built in 1845, this was once the Cornish Miners’ Methodist Church.

Fact: Local people still refer to the village of Allihies as ‘The Mines’ e.g. Are you going to the Mines to watch the match?

Allihies and Ballydonegan beach
Allihies and Ballydonegan beach

Enjoy the stunning views over the beach of Ballydonegan, formed by quartz particles washed down from the mines on the mountain above.

Allihies Main Engine - Copper Mines
Allihies Main Engine – Copper Mines