This easy to medium-difficulty guided walk starts at the Mills Inn in Ballyvourney, before following the ancient route south over the hills to Gougane Barra. Along the way we experience life the Iron Age, stunning scenery, the march of Gaelic lords, and finally the mountain hermitage of Cork’s patron saint.
The Mills Inn marks the start and end of our adventure. It is situated at the western-most end of the village of Ballyvourney, and if you arrive early grab a breakfast before we go!
- Introductions, let your guide know what aspects of the walk you’d most like to explore
- Gear check
- Explanation of route and safety precautions
- Drive to start of hike (own transport)
Please remember that this is a current place of worship for many, and we will be treating it with the respect it deserves.
- Religious complex dedicated to the local saint Gobnait, dating back to at least the Iron Age.
- Local graveyard is the resting place of some of Ireland’s most significant artists, writers, and musicians.
- Learn about the archaeological finds discovered in last century that reveal the type of activity that went on here.
Following the route of Slí Ghaeltacht Mhúscraí south towards Gougane Barra, we encounter beautiful landscape, medieval battles, and one of the earliest Christian churches in Ireland.
- Learn about the great Gaelic chieftain Dónal Cam Ó Suilleabháin and why he and a thousand followers followed this route north.
- Discover where the first armed attack on British occupying forces after the 1916 rising occurred in the Irish War of Independence.
- Visit the ruins at Eachros, recognized as on of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland.
The mystical Gougane Barra valley is glacial in origin, the still lake lying in a basin gouged out by the ice. As the climate improved and the glacier retreated, ridges of gravel were left behind, one of which forms St. Finbarr’s Holy Island. St. Finbarr built a monastery here in the sixth century and gave his name to the valley which means ‘rock cleft of St. Finbarr’. The island has been a site of pilgrimage for over a thousand years.