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The St Finbarr's Pilgrim Way Walking Tour

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Sat 15th & Sun 16th April 2017 (National Pilgrim Paths Week)

Sat 19th & Sun 20th August 2017

The cost of our 2017  two day pilgrim walking breaks is €130 per person sharing

This price includes:

  • Two nights Bed and Breakfast at Top of the Rock in a standard or family sized pod. We also have two luxury pods (extra supplement €20 pps)
  • Light Supper on arrival at 8pm on Saturday evening.
  • Transport to and from all walks.
  • Elizabeth, David or another guide will accompany you on all walks.
  • A Guidebook and our specially crafted St Finbarr's Walking staff are yours to keep.
  • Lunches are included each day.

A DEPOSIT of €100 per person is payable to Top of the Rock at the time of booking.


Day One: Easter Saturday  (or Saturday August 19th)


The origins of this pilgrim walk go back to around 600AD when St Finbarr is said to have arrived at Barr na Carraige or the Top of the Rock.The local oral tradition is that ''he admonished the people to return to Christ, and then he went on his way to Gougane Barra''. A strong tradition of St Finbarr developed in the area and the Big Fair of medieval times was always held on St Finbarr's Day which is the 25th September. For centuries people have assembled here to walk the 23 miles (36km) to the hermitage of St Finbarr at Gougane Barra. Some years ago this ancient tradition was restored and the pathway was once again opened mainly through private lands and small road networks.

The St Finbarr's Pilgrim Way is among five pilgrim paths in Ireland which can be undertaken with the Pilgrim Paths Passport. Passports are available at our Walking Centre and they can be stamped at Gougane Barra Hotel on arrival there. (see www.pilgrimpaths.ie) At Easter we generally have up to fifty people join us for this pilgrim walk. David will lead the walk from the Top of the Rock to Kealkil. This is a pilgrim walk and the commentary will be both historical and spiritual in nature. You will walk through some beautiful inland scenery, with Castledonovan to your right and lovely views of the West Cork coastline to your left. Lunch will be provided. This walk is officially 20km in length, but we will have a car running alongside to help you on if need be! After a visit to the Kealkil Stone Circle we will arrive in the lovely village of Kealkil. From here we will make our way back to the Pod Páirc by bus. If you wish to stop off in Bantry for a meal we can arrange to pick you up afterwards for a small fee.

Pgm 1
Drimoleague Heritage Loop

Contributors: Jim Collins, Barry Deane, Mary Goggin, David Ross, Elizabeth Ross

Download Name Play Size
download Drimoleague Heritage Loop

13.7 MB

Pgm 9
Mealagh Valley Walk

Contributors: Quentin Gargan, Claire Heardman, Sean O'Brien, David Ross, Owen & Teresa O'Sullivan

Download Name Play Size
download Mealagh Valley Walk

13.7 MB

Day Two: EasterSunday (or Sunday August 20th)  [Map]

On Monday morning our bus will take you to Carriganass Castle in Kealkil where we will rejoin the St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way. Your guide will once again give a commentary on the  historical and contemplative aspects of this walk: the flight of the O Sullivan Bere clan, the history of the castle and the folklore of the surrounding areas. After lunch on the wayside we will face the high ascent over Conigar followed by the spectacular descent into Gougane Barra is particularly described by Carl O Brien of The Irish Times as follows: “There is mountain on all sides rising hundreds of feet above a lake, forming a vast amphitheatre. Around the valley rim are gigantic boulders and purple rock. There is a magical, mystical beauty to it all. On the valley floor below, the chapel and cloister are evidence that this has been a special, peaceful place for hundreds of years. It’s a stunning vista.” On reaching your destination there will be time for silence and reflection, followed by a warm welcome and stamping of the passport in Gougane Barra Hotel. You may wish to book into this hotel for the night. We can arrange for you to pick up your car in Kealkil. and continue onwards to your destination or stay in Gougane Barra Hotel

You will certainly be tired but hopefully well refreshed in heart and mind, following your two day adventure on St Finbarr's Pilgrim Way.

Pgm 10
Pilgrim Route: Top of the Rock to Gougane Barra

Contributors: Niall Lucey, John McCarthy, David Ross, Dan O'Sullivan

Download Name Play Size
download Pilgrim Route_ Top of the Rock to Gougane Barra

13.7 MB


  • The level of fitness among a group can vary. The distance to walk each day varies from 12 to 20 kms. We do not imply that the ENTIRE route needs to be walked. Each day we will aim to walk at least two thirds of the prescribed route. We will have a car available each day to convey you to the end of the walk if it becomes too strenuous.
  • Single pods are available and incur a total extra supplement of €20 for the two nights.
  • If you wish to book in on the Friday night please contact us.
  • Please read our terms and conditions below. 

Click here to prebook your tour!

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This project is supported by the West Cork Development Partnership Ltd. Under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013