The Beara Breifne Way
The Beara Breifne Way is an ambitious undertaking which will see the development of a walking and cycling route along the spine of the country, from Beara in Co. Cork to Breifne in Co. Leitrim. All aspects of the route’s heritage will be presented along the walk, and archaeological and ecological surveys are currently being undertaken. Plaques and map-boards will be erected along the way, covering topics ranging from local mythology to bird life and hedgerows. More importantly, the route is being developed to the highest standards required by the National Trails Office and will be subject to their inspections.
The Beara Breifne Way follows the line of the historic march of O’Sullivan Beara in 1602. In the aftermath of the Battle of Kinsale, Donal Cam, Chieftain of the O’Sullivan Beara clan, and his followers undertook this epic 14-day march. Many clans were involved in both the march and in the skirmishes which took place, and the story lends a fascinating historical and heraldic theme to the route.
The natural beauty of the area is complemented by the numerous archaeological sites and ruins which dot its path, which will be assessed and appropriately presented to walkers. A reconstruction of the march has been broadcast several times on RTÉ and the same community groups shown in teh programme are currently participating in this project. It is astounding that such a distant event should give rise to so many local legends - some of which are still hotly debated!
The Beara Breifne Way is unique in Ireland in terms of its size - when completed, it will pass through Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim. Walkers will be able to experience the whole range of beautiful landscapes that Ireland has to offer - seascapes, mountains, woodland, bogs, riversides and rolling farmlands.
On a local level, the route is divided into a series of smaller 'ways', some of which are already complete - including the Beara Way and the Ballyhoura Way. Around these local walks and cycles, a number of loops and spurs are planned where there are features of interest away from the main route. In time, all associated routes will benefit from the high standards implied by the Beara Breifne branding.
As with many walking routes in Ireland, the Beara Breifne Way is based on the cooperation of community groups and the good relations they maintain with local landowners. This is absolutely fundamental, as no walk can exist without access agreements, usually arranged by someone known to the landowner. With 240 farmers living on the Beara Way alone, the scale of community collaboration becomes clear.
For detailed maps of the route go to www.irishtrails.ie (sections not covered include Sli Muscraí, Ormonde Way, Lung Way).
Completed sections of the route as of 2012 (starting in Cork)
West Cork: Beara Way www.bearatourism.com
West Cork: Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí www.sligaeltachtmuscrai.com
North Cork: Duhallow Area
Limerick: Ballyhoura Way
South Tipperary: Multeen Way www.multeentourism.com
Galway: Hymany Way www.bearatourism.com
Galway/ Roscommon: Suck Valley Way
Roscommon: Minors Way & Historical Trail
Cavan: Cavan Way
Sections of the route to be completed in 2012/13 or upgraded
North Tipperary: Ormonde Way (to be developed)
Roscommon: Lung Way (to be developed)
Leitrim: Leitrim way (to be upgraded)