National Pilgrim Paths Week Easter 2017

St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Walk from the Top of the Rock, Drimoleague to Gougane Barra. Pilgrim Paths Day, Easter Saturday 15th and Easter Sunday 16th April 2017.

2017 is the fourth year in Ireland many pilgrim paths will be walked during the Easter Weekend.

The order of events for St Finbarr’s way is as follows:

Good Friday 14th April 8pm at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc & Walking Centre. Starting with a light supper, time to meet, prepare and orientate to the Pilgrim Walk. A  short reflection will be given on the challenge ahead.

Saturday 15th April 9.15am. Depart from the Top of the Rock, heading for Castledonovan, Mullaghmesha and the Mealagh Valley. Lunch 2pm. Arrival in Kealkill 5pm. We’ll have completed the first 19km of the walk.

Easter Sunday 16th April 10am. Depart from Carriganass Castle in Kealkill for the 16km walk over the mountain to Gougane Barra. Sandwich lunch at a stop near Lackavaun before the steep ascent. A bus will be available for those who wish to take a less strenuous route walking into Gougane by road. Arrival in Gougane approx. 4pm, followed by a short time of reflection and prayer. Gougane Barra Hotel will host tea and sandwiches for the walkers.

For map of the walking route

Cost is divided into two components:

1.Cost of the walk:  €40/person.  Includes lunches both days, bus transfers and guides.

2.Cost of Accommodation: Contact The Gougane Barra Hotel and the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc to find out how best to avail of special offers on their accommodation.

Bus transfers will be provided over the weekend  to Gougane Barra and to Drimoleague via Bantry


Country Gospel and Walking Weekend 10th – 14th May 2017

Selected Walks Planned for each day with John Schmid a country gospel singer.

Thursday 11th May.  Sheep’s Head Lighthouse Loop Walk.

Friday 12th May. Whiddy Island Loop Walk & Bantry Heritage Walk, free time to wander around Bantry market in the morning.

Saturday 13th May. St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Walk from Top of the Rock Pod Páirc & Walking Centre to Castledonovan and over Mullaghmesha towards the Mealagh Valley.

Sunday 14th May.  Afternoon walk, at Gougane Barra National Forest Park.

Come and join us for the day, enjoy the walks and songs along the way.

Cost per day €15

Bus transfers will be available, from the Top of the Rock.

There are concerts each evening in different locations around the area.

Accommodation can be arranged.

To book a place or for more information please contact

Hazel on: 086 3502607 /

Patrick’s Weekend Walks Sunday 19th & Monday 20th March 2017

Sunday 19th March 2017 at 3pm, History of Castledonovan Castle, followed by a river walk at Waterfall Alpaca Farm. No dogs allowed. (No charge for the river walk but donations welcome).

Monday 20th March 2017 at 10am, History of Carriganass Castle, Kealkil. Followed by a walk in Gougane Barra National Forestry Park. Dogs on leads welcome. Wheelchair Accessible.

Contact:   Hazel   086 3502607

Drimoleague Feile Beag 2015

The Drimoleague Feile Beag takes place over May Bank Holiday Weekend. The opening parade, led by St. Fachna’s Silver Band, sets off at 8.15pm through Drimoleague Village on Friday 1 May.  There will be a host of family, fun activities to enjoy over the three days. There will also be a number of free, guided walks to partake in.

Saturday 2 May
5.30am: The Dawn Chorus Walk; assemble at the Top of the Rock. Led by Lesley Lewis. Tea served afterwards in the Pod Pairc.

10.00am: Mullaghmesha Hill Walk; assemble at Castledonovan Car Park.

4pm – 6pm: Guided Tours of Castledonovan Castle

Sunday 3 May
10.30am: Hill Walk – Castledonovan to Loch Bofinna; assemble at Castledonovan Car Park, return bus transfer available if required.

Monday 4 May
10.00am: Hilll Walk to Nowen Hill; assemble at Cullinagh, Dunmanway.

For more information on all the Feile Beag events click here

Contemplatives St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Walk: 15 and 16 August 2015

THE CONTEMPLATIVE ST FINBARR’S PILGRIM WALK takes place on a weekend of 15th & 16th August 2015.

The Walk will be scheduled as follows:

Saturday 15th August: You can park your car for the day in at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre. At 9am we depart from the Top of the Rock, heading for Castledonovan, Mullaghmesha and the Mealagh Valley. Lunch will be served in the Mealagh Valley community hall at approx. 2.30pm. Arrival in Kealkil having completed the first 12.5 miles of the walk at approx. 5.30pm.
A bus will convey you back to Drimoleague for around 6.30pm.
Sunday 16th August: Park your car at Carriganass Castle in Kealkil for a 9am start from Carriganass Castle in Kealkil for the 9.5 mile walk over the mountain to Gougane Barra. There will be a sandwich lunch at a stop near Lackavaun before the steep ascent. An alternative will be available for those who wish to take a less strenuous route to walk into Gougane by road. Arrival in Gougane at approx. 4pm with a short time of reflection.

REFLECTION: On the contemplative walk we stop about every hour or so at places where St Finbarr might have stopped, eg An tobair Ur, the Glanaclohy rock, the stone circle etc. We reflect on the life and message of St Finbarr and then resume our path.

COST: The lunch and bus costs €8 and €6 respectively each day. This year we are requesting an extra €4 each day to extend a gratuity to extra guides who will lead us. We expect between 40 and 50 walkers.

LEVEL of FITNESS: We have had people in their seventies do the pilgrim walk but they need to be extraordinarily fit . Particularly on Sunday the gradient can be steep and demanding over an extended period. The area is subject to dense fog and we have to stay together at all times. The path is well marked and discernible at all times.

The contemplative talks will be led by David Ross.

For more information and to book contact David and Elizabeth Ross (028 31547) at the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc.

For more information about Pilgrim Paths of Ireland go to

Community St Finbarr’s Walk: 8 and 9 August 2015

The ANNUAL COMMUNITY ST. FINBARR’S PILGRIM WALK will take place during the weekend of 8 and 9 August 2015.

This two-day walk – 37km in distance –  has become a popular event for participants over the past six years.

At 9am on Saturday, the group will leave Top of the Rock, Drimoleague, for Kealkil. After the day’s walk a bus will be arranged for a return to Drimoleague from Kealkil and back again the following morning to Carriganass Castle in Kealkil, where the group will resume the walk for the final stretch over the mountain to Gougane.

This walk is not for the faint-hearted, but the sense of camarderie and support makes the whole experience an enjoyable and unforgettable one.

Everyone is welcome!

For more details contact Mike on mobile:  087 7641420, or email:


Free Weekly Guided Walks: July and August 2015

The weekly guided walks of Drimoleague Heritage Walkways were a great success last year, and they will return in 2015. For the months of July and August there will be free guided walks of Drimoleague Heritage Walkways every Tuesday.

So if you always wanted to get out there and try Drimoleague Heritage Walkways but just needed a little push, then come along to the Railway Yard Car Park in Drimoleague Village for a 6.30pm start. Each Tuesday walk may take a different Walkway and will last between 1 – 2 hours. All walks will suit most abilities and all walks are free. But, most importantly, everyone is welcome! For more information ring Mike O’Sullivan on: 087 7641420.