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

Spiritual Tour of Beara

Beara is an oasis of heritage sites. Let Baoi Tours take you on a journey to some of these archaeological gems and allow them to conjure up a deep connection with our spiritual past. These sacred sites span in age from over two thousand years ago to the present day. Take time out for peacefulness and tranquillity with only wind and waves to break the silence.

Beara is a place steeped in its own history, connection to a pagan ancestry is palpable in the megalithic monuments that litter the landscape. Eyeries church’s stained glass celebrates our ancients, and nearby stone spirit, The Cailleach Beara’s fossilised remains overlook Coulagh bay awaiting the return of her husband, sea god Manannan. Let your spirit soar at the site of The Hag of Beara; leave a coin or trinket as you pass.

Evidence suggests that Christianity was in Beara long before St. Patrick; a cleric named Caitighearn was brought from France in the 3rd century by Beara sea traders Na Luingseachain (now Lynches). We visit the site of his church.

Mass Rocks were sites where mass was said in whispers during the Penal Times of the late 17th century, a time when Catholicism was forbidden. Feel the trepidation that must have accompanied the worshipers at this isolated Mass Rock where they gathered for their clandestine masses.

The spiritual tour incorporates further sites, including Ireland’s first Buddhist Temple at Dzogchen Beara, and a Methodist church built by Cornish miners in the mid 19th century. Coffee and cake or lunch, either at the Buddhist Centre’s café or The Copper Mine café, is inclusive of the price.