Bere Island – Home of the Sea Safari
Bere Island lies at the entrance to the magnificent Bantry Bay and guards the deep water harbour of Berehaven. The island lies just 2 kms offshore from the town of Castletownbere, the largest white fishing port in Ireland. The Slieve Miskish and Caha Mountain ranges of the Beara Peninsula tower over the island providing a dramatic backdrop.
The island is roughly 11 kms x 5 kms in size (that’s about the same size as Manhattan!) and has a population of just over 200. Despite its proximity to the mainland it retains that distinct, easy charm of rural places – distant from cities and crowds. It’s a quiet paradise of a size that is manageable for strolling or cycling. Bird watchers and plant lovers will delight at the many species to be found on land and at the waters edge.
The island is rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through medieval times, the majority of which consist of ring forts, standing stones, wedge tombs and burial sites. Due to its strategic location Bere Island has a very interesting military heritage. At the height of their Empire, the British had a particular interest in the island constructing military barracks, two Martello towers, a signal tower and a military fortification which hosts two six inch guns, all of which can be seen today.
The many activities include swimming, sea angling, walking, and cycling routes, diving and a variety of water sports. Fishing trips, guided walking and boat tours are also available. Did you know Orca whales, basking sharks and bottle-nose and common dolphins can all be sighted around Bere Island? Or why not take a day trip and visit neighboring towns and villages on the Beara Peninsula with its stunning scenery and friendly people.