The Beara Peninsula is a scenic, mountainous region set in the southwest of Ireland. Two towns act as tourist hubs for the peninsula: Kenmare to the north and Bantry to the south. Due to its rural setting, getting to the Beara Peninsula is best done by car. Thanks to Ireland’s extensive network of highways and national roads, both Kenmare and Bantry are linked to many major cities.
The closest city is Cork, which is east of the Beara Peninsula via road N72. Limerick—the hub for Ireland’s western international airport, Shannon Airport—is also a good starting point. And despite the distance, you can also start from Dublin. The capital city is well-connected to the southwest of Ireland by highways, buses, and trains, as well as regional flights to Kerry Airport.
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Cork is Southern Ireland’s hub and the closest major city to the Beara Peninsula. Driving is the best option, which takes about 1.5 hours along routes N72 and R585. A slightly longer, more scenic route is via road N71, also known as Cork Road. This coastal route passes near a few notable towns, including Ballydehob, Rosscarbery, and Courtmacsherry.
Ireland’s national bus service, Bus Éireann, is another option. If traveling to Kenmare, expect a 2.5-hour ride and a 30-minute connection in Glenflesk. Note that there are only two daily departures to Kenmare. If you’d rather go directly to Bantry, the journey is just 2 hours.
Once in Kenmare or Bantry, it’s best to navigate the Beara Peninsula by car. The scenery is some of Ireland’s best, but only enjoyed by smaller, rural roads that circumvent the peninsula. If you don’t have a car, you can still rely on local buses to reach most of the scenic towns along the way, including Eyeries and Castletownbere. It’s best to check bus schedules at the tourist offices in Kenmare or Bantry.
Many visit the Beara Peninsula for its famous walking and hiking trails. If you have extra time to extend your trip by foot, this 8-day walking itinerary might interest you.
From Limerick (Shannon Airport)
Duration: 2 - 3.5 hours
Limerick, which is near Shannon Airport, is connected to the Beara Peninsula by national routes N20 and N72. Rental cars and private transfers are the fastest option, with just 2 hours to make the journey. Buses follow a different route, connecting in Tralee and/or Killarney. Depending on departure time, buses take between three and four hours to reach the Kenmare or Bantry.
For travel between Kenmare/Bantry and the Beara Peninsula, see the previous option.
Duration: 2 - 6.5 hours
Dublin is well-connected to Ireland’s southwest coast. The fastest way to reach the Beara Peninsula from the capital city is by flight, with Aer Lingus offering two daily departures to Kerry Airport. From the airport, a 1-hour taxi or private transfer will get you to Kenmare. Rental cars can also be booked at Kerry Airport.
If you prefer to drive, major highways traverse the country and connect Dublin with both Bantry and Kenmare in about fours hours. Combining the train to Cork with the bus to Bantry also takes about four hours. The bus connects in Cork as well, but takes much longer to reach Bantry (about 6-6.5 hours).
For travel between Kenmare/Bantry and the Beara Peninsula, see the first option.