Map depicting the Kealkil area and its way marked walks:
Directions and detailed route maps
Choose your walk from the following trails:
These walks were put in place with the active encouragement and support of the committee of the Sheeps Head Way with the aim of establishing a walking link between the Sheeps Head Way and the Beara Way.
Two of the walks are loop walks to the north of Carriganass castle. Follow the castle road along the river bank. After a few minutes you will cross a bridge and at the junction beyond the bridge you will have a choice between the two interlinked walks-both leading to the Beara Way.
The third walk is a linear route that goes from the castle to the Stone Circle south of the village. This is a significant archaeological site not only with a stone circle but also a radial stone cairn and a pair of standing stones. The site offers spectacular views with Bantry Bay to the west, Cnoc Baoi to the north and the Sheha Hills to the east.
The word Carriganass in Gaelic means the Rock of the Waterfall and this accurately describes the splendid setting of the most enduring castle of the O’Sullivan Beare Chieftains. Perched elegantly on an outcrop of rock on the north bank of the Ouvane River, this noble monument to Gaelic Ireland stands tall against a picturesque backdrop of the Caha Mountains with Cnoc Baoi (the highest peak in Co. Cork), the Sugar Loaf, and Hungry Hill in the distant skyline. The cascading waterfall underneath with naturally sculptured rock adds to the grandeur of the location. The history of the castle records the fortunes of the O’Sullivan Beare Chieftains, traces the decline of the old Gaelic Aristocracy and was directly influenced by the struggle for supremacy between England and Spain in the 16th century. Carriganass Castle has strong links with the Desmond Rebellion, the Battle of Kinsale, and the Flight of the Earls. The castle was built in 1540 by the O’Sullivan Beare Chieftain, Dermot of the Powder so called because he blew himself up with gunpowder in 1549.
The most famous occupant of Carriganass was Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare who commanded the Munster forces on the Spanish side at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. According to local folklore, his wife Aoife was murdered at Gougane Barra by St. Leger, an English settler and military commander. The story of the vengeance of Donal Cam is the subject on an epic poem, “The Revenge of Donal Cam”. St. Leger met his death in the rocky torrents of the Ouvane River having been thrown from the tower of Carriganass by Donal Cam who got access to the captured castle disguised as a monk.