The Friendliness of Bere Island, Cork

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The Friendliness of Bere Island

Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: We’re on a road to nowhere......Passed the village of Glengarriff, along by the stony hills and rippling water around the exotic Garnish Island we headed south. Passed the fields of lonely cows and reeds as the land got worse and worse. Despite the deterioration it got more beautiful. Yellow orchids and buttercups took over and introduced us to the Beara Peninsula. The worse the land got just meant that the mountains got steeper and the views of the sea better. Today we wouldn’t have the chance to take it all in as the destination was Bere Island. Taking a break from Frisbee in the car park waiting for the ferry, I looked across at Bere Island and how close it was. It really did look like a few short strokes with our bags on our backs and we would be there.  Ferry arrived, cars reversed, all aboard and 20minutes later we were on land off the coast of Ireland visiting Bere Island and got an immediate introduction to the friendliness.

Friendly Out

Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: How Rerrin Village and the east side of Bere Island looks from the centre.We arrived in the hostel only 100mtrs from the ferry to be greeted by a very enthusiastic landlady complete with fresh scones and jam for the lot of us. We got our rooms sorted and tucked into the scones with a cup of tea. The weather was good so we talked nonsense outside and admired the rocks and huge whale bones that were there. How could anything float in the water with the weight of them! The main question was how the friendly hostel dog still had hair considering the amount that was coming off him with every rub of his back! Again the land lady came up trumps in telling us a good beach in the beautiful Scairt Beach, how to get there (map below) and that she would ring the hotel to let them know what time we would be coming at for dinner.

Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: Scairt beach is petit and beautiful (and freezing).Heading from Rerrin ‘village’ (consisting of two pubs and a shop) we headed east on the Beara Way down a road we filled with 3 abreast. From the top of a small hill the views were super. Cliffs, the calm sea, green grass, old houses, the island of Ireland and surprising enough not many beaches. From the amount of stone houses without any roofs it is clear that life on the island used to be more prosperous and that emigration had taken its toll. Even today there is a primary school on the island (up to 12 years old) but children must make their way to the mainland everyday to go to secondary school (up to 18 years old). The ferry must be a great excuse for being late! Although we saw plenty of activity in the houses dotted around the island it was also clear that these were holiday makers were only staying for a few days and not some of the 150 people that live on Bere Island permanently.

Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: Abandoned houses are all the rage in Bere IslandWe eventually met another friendly local who showed us down a little used road split down the middle with grass to Scairt beach in a gorgeous cove. We definitely needed her help. For an island surrounded by water, Bere Island has very few sandy beaches but this one was so good it should have been the only one. Very small but perfect. It’s a pity they borrowed the water from the Antarctic. It was freezing!

More walks in the country air passing flowers and fantastic views got us back in a loop to our hostel. Then again the landlady came up trumps. She gave us her car. Now I don’t know how dearly you rate your car but I certainly wouldn’t be giving mine away to a random group of strangers you only met a few hours ago. No problem for these folk and rather than having to walk the few miles to the hotel bar for food we now had a lift. Perfect! The lift was needed too as the hills have excellent views of the island but are steep. The ‘hotel’ is actually O’Sullivans bar right in the centre of the island and not a hotel at all.

The same photo on the way over and the way back! The weather reflected the state of my thinking.

Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: Photo 1 of the wreck and port. Taken on the way to the island.Bere Island, West Cork, Ireland: Photo 2 of the wreck and port. Not so clear now

The next morning after fun and frollicks the night before we weren’t in the best mood for any sort of human contact but were greeted with fruit, fry, tea, coffee scones. They couldn’t have been more helpful and the food nicer even though I probably didn’t show my appreciation fully through the tiredness and hangover.

And as if to really show us that she really truly was friendly she ran after the ferry from the hostel because somebody had left a charger behind.

Now that is customer service!

Practicalities – About Bere Island and how to get there

  • Important Info: If you are bringing a car onto Bere Island make sure to have a full tank of fuel as there is no petrol station on the island. There is also no ATM (bank machine) on the Island so make sure to have enough money with you although in Rerrin Village they do accept AIB bank cards. All doctors and pharmacies are on the mainland.
  • Size and Location: Bere (Beara) Island is 11km long and 5km wide located at the end of the Beara Peninsula in West County Cork. Approximately 5hrs drive from Dublin and 2.5hrs drive from Cork city to Castletownbere which is the nearest town on the mainland.
  • How to get to Bere Island: The only way to get to Bere Island are the two ferries. They both land several miles apart on the island so be careful which one you choose. Murphy’s Ferry (www.murphysferry.com) sails from the Pontoon (3km east of Castletownbere) to the East End of Bere Island, to Rerrin Village. The second ferry (www.bereislandferries.com) leaves from Castletownbere and sails to the West End of Bere Island to Oilean na gCaorach.
  • Bus to Castletownbere: Harrington’s Bus (027-74003) leaves every day from Parnell Place (beside main bus station) in Cork City to Castletownbere (and also the return journey). The journey takes 2hrs 15min.  Bus Eireann buses leave Cork for Castletownbere (and the reverse journey) twice a day only on Mon, Wed and Fri. Buses go on the in-between days as far as Glengarriff. Go to www.buseireann.ie for more details.
  • Accommodation: We stayed in Lawrence Cove Lodge on the East Side of the island and as mentioned several times above it was very friendly. And we got their car, I still can’t get over that. There are several other B&B’s on the island as well as self catering apartments. Visit www.bereisland.net for more info.

Map of Bere Island

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A Visit to Bere Island

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Bere Island - Rerrin Village: 51.634112, -9.818645
Bere Island - Oilean na gCaorach: 51.638777, -9.900270
Bere Island - Scairt Beach: 51.634486, -9.801865
Bere Island - Cloughland Beach: 51.628732, -9.821219
Bere Island - Martello Tower: 51.633954, -9.847441
Bere Island - O\'Sullivans \'Hotel\': 51.636196, -9.868727
Bere Island - Heritage Centre: 51.634880, -9.885635
Bere Island - Ardnakinna Lighthouse: 51.618531, -9.917393
Bere Island - The Pontoon: 51.655540, -9.856110
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Bere Island - Rerrin Village
Rerrin, Ireland
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Bere Island - Oilean na gCaorach
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - Scairt Beach
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - Cloughland Beach
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - Martello Tower
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - O'Sullivans 'Hotel'
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - Heritage Centre
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - Ardnakinna Lighthouse
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Bere Island - The Pontoon
Bere Island, Cork, Ireland
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Ross Travellingforfun

About Ross Travellingforfun

I have ducked, dived, bungeed, burned, skydived, surfed, volunteered, volcanoed, crossed continents, conquered mountains, got robbed, got sick and got drunk and I hope this website will inspire you to do the same.