Suggested days out while staying in Bothar Bui;
If you can tear yourself away from relaxing in Bothar Bui and would like to do more than a wander down the wood and a dip in the sea below, here are a few places you might like to visit:
Go right at the top of the drive and head around Kilcatherine where you will come across some antiquities including Kilcatherine church, "the Hag of Beara" and one of the finest examples of an Ogham stone in the world featuring writing in the ancient Ogham alphabet. You might like to continue on to Eyeries village, a very pretty colourful village where you can eat in Beara Necessities, a lovely café and restaurant oppposite the playground at the south end of the village.
Derreen gardens: This is a wonderful place to visit and quite nice even in wet weather, kids love the jungle feel about it. you can have lunch in Helen's bar a mile further along the road on Kilmakillogue pier. Recommended are mussels and brown bread and delicious fresh salmon sandwiches. The gardens are exceptional for rhododhendrons, azaleas and camelias in April/May/June.
Climb Knockatee hill: Above Kilmakillogue pier, it's an easy climb with a spectacular view, you could follow your climb with a pint in Kilmakillogue and dinner in Josies restaurant on Glanmore Lake.
Dursey Island: If you're up early you can head for the cable car, its a 50 minute drive, bring a picnic as there is no café or pub there and walk the island, it's a 4 hour round trip walk. Another alternative walk on the mainland would be to walk from the Dursey Cable car car park up over the hill to Garnish Pier which offers beautiful views on a clear day, aproximately 2 hours.
Garnish beach/pier: take a picnic and visit Allihies on the way home. Drive via Allihies, follow signs to Dursey cable car and you will see signs for Garnish Strand. There are two beaches in Garnish, both are sandy and most often very calm. Take a boat tour from Garnish Pier, out around the Bull, the Cow and the Calf Islands, with Dursey Boat Tours. Perhaps arrange a boat trip for sunset (weather permitting) and watch the sun set next to the Skellig Islands - you might even see some whales and dolphins.
Ballydonegan beach, Allihies: Balydonegan beach is an unatural beach of ground quartz, left over from the copper mines, you will notice that the sand is quite coarse, it is still a very popular and beautiful place on a sunny day but be cautious of sudden drops under the water as it can get deep quite quickly. The side next to the car park is safest and on the far side there is a slow sandy river which can be perfect for small children. During the summer there is a lovely food truck, the Beara Barista right next to the car park and a sauna in the campsite over looking the beach. Maybe start the day with yoga on the beach during warm weather, check out local yoga practitioners Ella Benham or Trudy McQuaid. Wild Atlantic Seaweed Baths often come to Ballydonegan pier as well although they travel around so are not always there. Or if you want an easy stretch of the legs take a blustery walk from Ballydonegan along the cliffs and take in the incredible view.
Castletownbere: where you will probably do food shopping, you can have a nice lunch in McCarthy's bar, crab sandwiches recommended, or Breens on the square for lunch or dinner. Curiosities Cafe is also a lovely option for breakfast and Murphy's Restaurant is another great option for dinner. There’s also playground at the top of the town. Make sure to visit Sarah Walker Gallery on the pier and keep an eye out to see what events mights be coming up at the gallery - over the summer months there are often gigs and new exhibitions. From Castletownbere, Dzogchen Beara Buddhist center is a 15 minute drive and offers incredible peacful views, stop in for a coffee and cake or take a stroll down to the stupa and silent garden.
The cascades is a waterfall into a swimming pool in the river near Eyeries village. Teenagers love jumping in, it’s a beautiful place, not recommended for young children. To find the Cascades, heading towards Castletownbere, take the right turn shortly after Eyeries signposted for Urhan and Allihies. Immediately on your right you will see a green sty over the ditch into a field next to a gate. Pull in here and you will hear the sound of the waterfalling, climb over the sty and cross two fields, it is down to your left, follow the sound of the water. If you are thirsty afterwards Causkey's bar in Eyeries village has a great view. There is a great playground in Eyeries with Beara Necessities across the street.
Glen Inchiquinn waterfall: about half an hour drive towards Kenmare, this is a spectacular waterfalll, a good thing to do on a wet day when the waterfall will be at its best.
There is a lovely coastal walk around the Beara way route from Eyeries village to the coast guard station looping all the way back to the village via Eyeries strand, visit Shea’s bar in the village to catch the evening sun outside.
The walk from the Urhan Inn over the old mine mountain road to Allihies is about 2 hours, there’s a beautiful lake hidden at the top.
Kenmare: great for shopping, Cleos, Nest and PFK goldsmith. The Purple Heather is great for lunch, the best pubs are Crowleys or Florry Batts. The market in Kenmare is on Wednesday mornings.
Glengarrif: If you felt like the drive, 50 minutes via the Healy Pass or 1h 10 via Kenmare, Glengarrif is a lovely little village from which you can get a boat to Garnish Island, renowened for its gardens. Grab lunch from one of the food trucks (summer months) parked in the Quill's carpark and sit in the evening sun outside the Blue Loo for a pint.
If you are prepared for the big boat trip and a drive to the boat (about an hour and 40 mins) organise a day out to the Skelligs, it's a trip of a life time. You need to book up to months in advance and it is weather dependant. John Lar O’Shea 087 6898431
Sarah Walker Gallery, Castletownbere.
8 Cows Gallery, Allihies
The Mine Museum, Allihies, café and exhibition space.
There is a lovely small cinema in Bantry with all the latest releases, Tuesday night is Arthouse night. (one hour drive from Bothar Bui) 027 55777
Ardgroom Post Office has a nice café.
Kenmare Butter Market, Kenmare
Carnegie Arts Center, often hosts music, comedy and theater, Kenmare
Beara Tourism: www.bearatourism.com
Kenmare Tourism: www.kenmaretourism.com
Skellig Tours: www.skelligtours.com