From the quiet seaside village of Ahakista, walk the Sheep’s Head Way Section 9 to Durrus
The route takes you via a low ridge, across open land and then through fields, tracks and boreens to Durrus village at the head of Dunmanus Bay. It’s the gateway to the Mizen and Sheep’s Head peninsulas.
Distance: 12km (7.4 miles)
This route climbs to a low ridge from above Ahakista and then descends to a short road section before crossing open land to Brahalish. After another road section, it crosses over a ring fort and then crosses fields, tracks and short road sections. After passing a fortified manor house it joins the road again and enters the village of Durrus.
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This section starts where the path turns off the road (462 IV 86665 40082). It heads up to a low ridge where there are two small lakes. It then descends towards a small road at 483 which you follow down to the next junction.
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Turn left at the road junction, and then left again at the next.
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After 500 metres, the path turns right off the road and goes across open land towards the low ridge.
At 498 (IV 89079 41538) the path turns left onto a track which passes lakes. A fine view towards Durrus is available here.
Turn right onto the road. The Glanlough route joins the route you have just walked from the left.
516-517 Brahalish ring fort
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At 516, turn right off the road over a stone stile and at 517 you come to Brahalish ring fort. This is an impressive example and is in a good state of preservation.
After crossing the fort, the path heads for the corner of the field. It then turns to the left, goes through a gate into another field and joins the road again. Shortly after at 524 (IV 90560 42280) the path turns off to the left onto a track. crosses some fields and then joins the road again at 530 (IV 90550 41944).
At 532 (IV 90648 41837) the path leaves the road again and heads off across fields and at 536 (IV 90942 41861) there is a cillín – a little churchyard – hidden in trees just down a farm track.
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Turn right onto a track and follow it to where it joins the road at 553 (IV 92083 41916). Turn left onto the road and then, at 554 (IV 92460 41988), leave the road again over a stone stile under some trees in the corner of a field.
558 Fortified House
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Cul na Long – Nook of the Ships – is a seventeenth century fortified manor house. It is now in a sad state of repair, but very atmospheric. The track here is thought to be part of the old road that once ran down the Sheep’s Head peninsula to the signal tower. At the end of this tree-lined track, turn left onto the road at 560 (IV 93268 41964) and follow it down to St. James’ Church where you go through the church-yard and turn left onto the main road which you follow into Durrus (94653 42044).
At 512 you can take a left turn to join the Glanlough Loop and follow it (in reverse) back to Ahakista.
At 562, instead of heading through St. James churchyard, you can turn left and follow the road past St. James’ School and up through Coomkeen (home of Durrus Cheese and Cronin’s Forge) for 4km to Boolteenagh where you can join the Sheep’s Head Way North and either go into Bantry, or back towards Ahakista via Glanlough. Do check your map carefully, as this is not a shortcut by any means!