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

Your Tour Guide

Your guide, Carina from Garnish, is a member of the Beara Historical Society. A writer and storyteller, she conducts guided historical tours throughout the Beara Peninsula in South West Ireland. She aims to give the visitor an appreciation of the deep history, culture and dramatic beauty that is Beara. Her Mountain Skills qualifications are accredited by Mountaineering Ireland, and she operates under their ‘leave no trace’ policy. Carina is passionate about the layers of history woven into the landscape, and deeply appreciative of the magnificent environment that surrounds her. Her interests include the sustainability and protection of life in rural Ireland.

Private and specialised tours arranged by request, buses arranged. Accommodation and restaurant bookings can also be organised. Please contact Carina for further details.

‘group tours in French and German available on request.’

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. 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.

Garnish

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.

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