Bonane’s convenient location – roughly halfway between the picturesque market town of Kenmare in South Kerry, and the village of Glengarriff in West Cork – make it an ideal base for an activity-filled holiday. However, in Bonane alone there is plenty going on to easily fill a week’s holiday or more.
WALKING AND HIKING
Bonane is located on the Beara Way, famous for taking in the Beara Peninsula’s stunning scenery. Approximately 220km (136 miles) long, the route follows quiet backroads, tracks and mountain paths. It is well signposted throughout and has no official start or finishing point, so sections can be walked following the marking posts or a good map. Follow Beara Way sections right from the doorstep of your holiday accommodation in Bonane, or take your car to where other sections meet a public road and start from there.
BONANE LOOP WALKS
Three Loop Walks have been developed by the community of Bonane in co-operation with South Kerry Development Partnership. Molly Gallivan’s Cottage & Traditional Farm is the Trail Head for all three of these walks.
Formerly known as the Esk Bridle Path, this route was once one of only two roads between the parish of Bonane and Glengarriff. When the ‘New Line’ between Glengarriff and Kenmare together with Kenmare Suspension Bridge opened in 1842, travels between the two counties became considerably easier.
The views from the top of Esk Mountain are spectacular, and the last couple of miles of this very scenic route leads through old oak woods and onto the main N71 Bonane to Glengarriff road.
BEARA LOOP WALKS
Other than the Bonane Loop Walks, there are currently 12 more Loop Walks on the Beara Peninsula. The Trail Heads of all of these are within a 15-80 minutes’ drive from Bonane village.
Unless you’re a wanna-be racing cyclist in lycra, enjoying life on the fast lane with little interest in what’s to be seen along your way, you might be better off taking your family along one of the three cycling routes leading through the Sheen Valley Heritage Area. The Sheen Valley Heritage Trail (20km / 12.5 miles) can be combined with the Currabeg Loop near Kenmare (23km / 14 miles) for a medium-length cycle; the demanding 60km (37 miles) long Priest’s Leap Loop incorporates the Borlin Valley in West Cork before skirting Kilgarvan village on route back towards Kenmare and Bonane. All of these routes travel mainly along quiet back roads and are well signposted.
Taking in the parish of Bonane, the Beara Cycling Route travels the length of the scenic Beara Peninsula and follows – for the most part – quiet country roads. It, too, is well signposted and (similar to the Beara Way) can be tackled in sections with no official start or finishing point.
Various types of bicycles can be rented on a daily or weekly basis from Finnegan’s Cycles in Kenmare.
Bonane is base to the Beara Outdoor Adventures company offering custom-made outdoor activities such as hill walking, rock climbing, canoeing, cycling and jeep tours. Equipment and transport is provided, and whether you’re a family with children, a group of friends or a seasoned Grizzly Adams-type, you’re sure to have a good time.
In Bonane, French chocolatier par excellence Benoît Lorge takes time out for Children & Family Workshops and Hen Parties (1.5-2 hours) but also offers more serious Chocolate Courses for Beginners (1 day), Advanced (2 days) or Pros (4 days). Keeping it sweet, new in his programme are Pastry Courses (2 days).
Fashion knitwear designer and former tutor at Limerick School of Art & Design Liz Spillane, is holding a creative series of varied textile workshops at her idyllically located studio in Bonane.