Beara
Welcome to the Beara Peninsula
Things About Beara Beara Bookshop Broadband News Activities Accommodation
Beara Tourism O'Sullivan Clan Societies Sports News Beara Food Archaeology Beara Way
Movies in Beara Cycling Route Shops Events Ring of Beara Beara Crafts Beara Breifne Way
 
Allihies Loop Walks

North Engine Loop

Loop 139A. North Engine Loop

Trailhead     Heritage Centre, Allihies, Co Cork

Services       Allihies Village

Dist/Time    7km / 2hrs – 3hrs

Difficulty      Moderate

High/Ascent  160m/200m

Terrain        Minor roads, coastline, hillside tracks.   

To Suit         Average levels of fitness

Min. Gear     Hiking boots, raingear, fluid and mobile phone.

Grid Ref.      OS Sheet 84, V586 448
 

Loop Guiding  

A-B. Leaving the trailhead at the Heritage Centre, follow the green (and blue and purple) arrows downhill through the village. The blue and purple arrows are for longer loops. After 200m pass a crossroads and 500m later reach a 4-way junction where you turn right onto the ‘beach road’. Note that you have now joined the long-distance Beara Way waymarked with yellow arrows. Follow this road for 600m past the beach and public toilets and join a sandy roadway which takes you across a stile and onto the coastline.

B-C. Follow the green (blue, purple and yellow) arrows as the loop takes you along this superb coastline for 2km. Joining a surfaced road cross straight over and follow this road for 300m to reach a stile where you turn left. Follow the green arrows as the loop takes you by farm buildings and uphill to the disused Mountain Mine area. Joining a surfaced road, turn right and travel downhil for 200m to reach a narrow track on your right. You turn right here - following the green (and yellow) arrow.

C-A. Continue to follow the track downhill for 500m to reach the edge of the village. Enjoy the last 1km back to the trailhead through this picturesque fishing village.

Directions to Trailhead
Start from Castletownbere (or Castletown Berehaven) on the R572 on the southern side of the Beara Peninsula.
Follow the R572 for 15km to reach a junction with the R575 near Bealbarnish Gap – keep right here following the signs for Allihies. Another 3km will take you to the picturesque village – the trailhead is located at the Heritage Centre.

---

Kealoge Mine loop

Loop 139B. Kealoge Mine Loop

 

Trailhead     Heritage Centre, Allihies, Co Cork

Services       Allihies Village

Dist/Time    10km / 3hrs – 4hrs

Difficulty      Moderate

High/Ascent  160m/220m

Terrain        Minor roads, coastline, hillside tracks.   

To Suit         Average levels of fitness

Min. Gear     Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snack, and mobile phone.

Grid Ref.     OS Sheet 84, V586 448

 

Loop Guiding  

A-B. Leaving the trailhead at the Heritage Centre, follow the blue (and green and purple) arrows downhill along the surfaced road. The green and purple arrows are for other loops. After 200m pass a crossroads and 500m later reach a 4-way junction where you turn right onto the ‘beach road’. Note that you have now joined the long-distance Beara Way - waymarked with yellow arrows. Follow this road for 600m past the beach and public toilets and join a sandy roadway which takes you across a stile and onto the coastline.

B-C. Follow the blue (green, purple and yellow) arrows as the loop takes you along this superb coastline for 2km.
Joining a surfaced road cross straight over and follow this road for 300m to reach a stile where you turn left. Follow the blue arrows as the loop takes you by farm buildings and uphill to a disused mine area. Joining a surfaced road, turn right and travel downhill for 200m to reach a narrow track on your right. The green loop turns right here - but you continue straight on following the blue (and purple) arrows.  

C-D. Follow the roadway for 300m to reach a stile on your left. Cross this stile and follow the blue arrows past old mining buildings to join a minor roadway. After 500m you join a surfaced road and turn left. Follow this road for more than 1km to a junction where you rejoin the Beara Way (yellow arrows). Continue to follow roadway past Kealoge Mine (on your right) to reach a narrow laneway on your right where the purple loop goes straight - but you turn right following the blue (and yellow) arrows.

D-A. The surfaced laneway soon becomes a grassy laneway as it descends. Near the edge of the village you join the surfaced road on which you started out - turn right and enjoy the last 200m back to the trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead
Start from Castletownbere (or Castletown Berehaven) on the R572 on the southern side of the Beara Peninsula.
Follow the R572 for 15km to reach a junction with the R575 near Bealbarnish Gap – keep right here following the signs for Allihies. Another 3km will take you to the picturesque village – the trailhead is located at the Heritage Centre.
---

Ballydonegan Loop

Loop 139C. Ballydonegan Loop

 

Trailhead     Heritage Centre, Allihies, Co Cork

Services       Allihies Village

Dist/Time    18km / 4hrs – 5hrs

Difficulty      Hard

High/Ascent  220m/300m

Terrain        Minor roads, coastline, hillside tracks.   

To Suit         Above average levels of fitness

Min. Gear     Hiking boots, raingear, fluid, snack, and mobile phone.

Grid Ref.     OS Sheet 84, V586 448

 

Loop Guiding  

A-B. Leaving the trailhead at the Heritage Centre, follow the purple (and green and blue) arrows downhill along the surfaced road. The green and blue arrows are for shorter loops. After 200m pass a crossroads and 500m later reach a 4-way junction where you turn right onto the ‘beach road’. Note that you have now joined the long-distance Beara Way - waymarked with yellow arrows. Follow this road for 600m past the beach and public toilets and join a sandy roadway which takes you across a stile and onto the coastline.

B-C. Follow the purple (green, blue and yellow) arrows as the loop takes you along this superb coastline for 2km. Joining a surfaced road cross straight over and follow this road for 300m to reach a stile where you turn left. Follow the purple arrows as the loop takes you by farm buildings and uphill to a disused mine area. Joining a surfaced road, turn right and travel downhill for 200m to reach a narrow track on your right. The green loop turns right here - but you continue straight on following the purple (and blue) arrows.  

C-D. Follow the roadway for 300m to reach a stile on your left. Cross this stile and follow the purple arrows past old mining buildings to join a minor roadway. After 500m you join a surfaced road and turn left. Follow this road for more than 1km to a junction where you rejoin the Beara Way (yellow arrows). Continue to follow roadway past Kealoge Mine (on your right) to reach a narrow laneway on your right where the blue loop turns right following the Beara Way (yellow arrows). You continue straight ahead.

D-E. Continue to follow the surfaced roadway for approximately 500m to reach a roadway on your left into Beara Holiday Homes. Turn left here, but almost immediately turn right and cross a stile into a field. After 300m you exit the field and join an old laneway - turn left and follow the laneway as it takes you through a forested section and follows a wire fence over a hill and descends to join a surfaced roadway at Knockroe. Turning right the loop descends gently to the townland of Kilkinnikin where it turns sharp right and joins a sandy laneway and ascends again. After the laneway ends the loop joins a wire fence and crosses hillside westward toward Knockincrough. Here the loop turns north again and starts a descent on a sandy laneway to reach the R575 at Ballydonegan.

E-A. The loop just crosses the main road here and rejoins the Beara Way (yellow arrows) and turns right. Shortly afterwards you join an old laneway and turn left following the shoreline of Ballydonegan Bay. After Bayyydonegan Strand the loop joins the 4-way junction mentioned at A above. This time go straight on and enjoy the last 500m back to the trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead
Start from Castletownbere (or Castletown Berehaven) on the R572 on the southern side of the Beara Peninsula.
Follow the R572 for 15km to reach a junction with the R575 near Bealbarnish Gap – keep right here following the signs for Allihies. Another 3km will take you to the picturesque village – the trailhead is located at the Heritage Centre.

---

 

Allihies

Allihies

The walks start at the Allihies Copper Mine Museum. You follow the public road down to Ballydonegan beach. From here you follow the coast line with fantastic views of Ballydonegan Harbour. The route rejoins the public road for 400 metres. At this location you can return to Allihies Villlage or rise up the mountain track to Berehaven Copper Mines which are now disused. At the top of the hill you pass the famous North Engine Building. The route then meanders pass numerous disused mines using part of the public road at Kealoge. In this area you have the choice to return to your car via the company scout track or continue for another 3 hours up through Cahermeeleboe. At the top of the hill you have fantastic views of Ballydonegan Bay to the North and Bantry Bay to the South. The route then joins a very quiet country road for 1.5 Kilometres. At Kilkinnkin West the route travels along the Old Mass Road which linked Cahermore Church with the Allihies Village. Walkers will drop down to the coast line at Ballydonegan Bay and join the Beara Way back to the Allihies Copper Mine Museum and Village for a well deserved pint or refreshment

The Mountain Mine copper vein was discovered in 1813. It started as an open cast mine, following the copper bearing quartz vein, as can be seen in the huge gaping holes in front here. The Miners attacked the hard quartz with hammer, chisel and gun powder. In the early years the mining was completely reliant on manpower. Buckets with ore were man-handled from the depths and hand crushing and sorting took place at the surface just beside the open cast. Women and children took a big part in this laborious and painstaking process, the evidence of which can be seen in the resulting rubble around the site here.

The first engine house was erected in 1830, evidence of which can be seen on our left. Known as the “North Engine”, its role was to pump water from the depths to enable deeper and deeper mining.

These engine houses, which where the key to the success of this vast mining enterprise, housed the magnificent steam engines which where developed in Wales and Cornwall to serve the mining industry all over the world.

The large engine house in front of us is the “Man Engine House” which was erected in 1862 to operate the newly invented system of lowering and lifting the miners to and from the mines. This engine house is very unique, being the only man engine house in Ireland and one of only a few surviving in the world. In 2004 the Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland undertook extensive and vital conservation work on this building.

Mountain mine was the most productive mine in Allihies and from its opening in 1813 was in continuous production until 1882 when the mine closed, having reached a depth of 421 meters below surface. Approximately 280 meters of this is below sea level.

 

Kealogue Mine Mianach Chaolóige

This was a very extensively worked mine which was opened in 1842. It is a continuation of the same fault as Caminches Mine. Over eighteen shafts were sunk along a 2,000 metre long by 25 metre wide north-northeast tending quartz vein.

There were at least four engine houses erected along this vein, only one of which has survived. This is known as Puxley’s, and housed a 50 inch steam engine brought from Cornwall in 1845. It was a pumping engine lifting water from the bottom of the mine 400 meters below. This water was discharged underground into a tunnel that leads from Puxley’s engine to the stream below the graveyard in the Village.

Spread over this site at the height of its operation was an extensive complex of buildings which included a timber yard and stables as well as ore dressing floors further down the road. The quartz sand that was left over after the dressing process when all the copper ore was extracted was washed down to Ballydonegan where it made the beach that we enjoy today.

Between 1861 and 1868 there was a lot of unrest amongst the workers resulting in three strikes over pay and conditions.

After Henry Puxley sold the mines in 1868, Kealogue Mine continued to be productive for the new owners, the Berehaven Mining Company, who extracted a further 1,473 tons of ore before its final closure in 1882.

 

Coom Mine Mianach Chúim

Coom Mine was the last mine to be opened in the Allihies area having been opened in 1870 by the new Berehaven Mining Company who had recently bought the mines from Henry Puxley in 1868.

Two shafts were sunk and the engine house erected to house a 28 inch cylinder steam engine. The site was known as Bewley’s after the Dublin family who were board members of the Berehaven Mining Company.

The working in the mines was dangerous. A Mine Captain reports:

"On the 13 inst. we had a man killed by falling out of the whim bucket in the whim shaft (winding shaft), he fell 72 feet and was killed immediately. ... The whim bucket was coming up and he was rather late to get into it, when he laid hold of the edge of it with his fingers and was drawn up nearly to the top in that manner but was obliged to let go at last and fell to the bottom of the shaft. ... He was a very able young man - this day we intended to carry him across the mountain to Castletown a distance of 7 miles to have him interred but the weather is so bad with a fall of sleet and snow that it was not possible. ... We hope to do the last for him tomorrow."

Coom Mine proved not to be a very productive mine. It had only produced 70 or 80 tons of ore when it closed in 1882.

In 1917 a further attempt to extract ore was made by Allihies Copper Mines Ltd. which proved fruitless.

 

Caminches Mine Mianach Chúim Inse

Caminches Mine opened in 1818 and ore was extracted from a 116 metres long north- northwest quartz vein extending down 400 metres.

Not much remains at this site except several shafts and a few ruined walls of uncertain function. Two water driven stamping mills for crushing the rock are known to have operated here as well as two engine houses. One of these housed a 36 inch steam engine bought from the newly closed Ross Island Copper Mine at Killarney.

Several water wheels were employed in Allihies Mines, some as big as 30 feet high. They powered stamps on the dressing floors and a sawmill. Huge reservoirs where built high up in the mountains to ensure a constant supply of water to the wheels.

The reservoir in Caminches valley was the largest, and in March 1833 caused a tragic accident when it burst its dam and flooded this mine trapping four men and a boy.

Mine Captain Martin described the dramatic rescue attempt in a letter to Puxley:

“(On hearing there were men trapped) Bat Murphy and John Sonish went to the windlass and drew the buckets up and down to try if the men would get hold of the rope. Two of them were brought up at once fast to the rope. At this time one man and a boy sank under the water, the boy laid hold of the man in the back part of his neck, twice he had to cast off the boy to save his own life, while in this state the rope came in his way and he laid hold of it. … The poor boy drowned.”

Ore production at this mine was erratic, reaching its peak in 1835. The mine closed about 1850. There was a brief and unsuccessful opening of the mine by the Berehaven Mining Company in 1882.

 

Dooneen Mine Mianach Dhúinín

Copper mining at Allihies started here in 1812 by John Puxley, a local landlord, after the large quartz promontory to the left here was identified as copper bearing as can be seen by its bright Malachite staining.

Initial mining began with a tunnel or adit driven into this quartz lode from the beach below. In 1821 two shafts were sunk as can be seen either side of the road here. Flooding was a continuous problem and in 1823 the engine house was erected to house a steam engine brought over from Cornwall to pump water from the depths. The remains of this building with the base of the chimney can be seen across the road. There is also evidence of a steam powered stamp engine to the left of the chimney and dressing floors in front of the engine house. The high dam further inland is the remaining evidence of a water reservoir which stored the water that was pumped out from the bottom of the mine. It was used for the steam engines and needed to separate the copper from rock. All the rubble on the cliff at the sea side of the road is the crushed useless quartz rock left over after the copper ore was extracted.

This is one of six productive mines in the Allihies area and continued its operation until 1838 when it closed due to failing ore.

John Puxley died in 1860 and in 1868 his son Henry Puxley sold the mines to the new Berehaven Mining Company who reopened the mine and installed a new 22 inch steam engine in 1872. Little ore was produced though in this period and the mine was finally abandoned in 1878

 

     
.