Courtmacsherry Coastal Loop
The coastal loop in Courtmacsherry is a section of the 42.5km Seven Heads Walk. Most walkers start out from the carpark, which overlooks the small strand in Courtmacsherry village. The trail begins by winding through the woods. It’s vivid with bluebells in the spring and carpeted in leaves during autumn. The sea is visible between the beech trees, and if you stop to listen, you’ll hear waves breaking on the rocks below. Along the path, slippery steps lead down to hidden coves.
At the edge of the woods, the trail bursts out onto open cliffs. The cliff track is narrow, lined with grassy banks and prickly gorse. On one side, the sea foams against the base of the cliffs and on the other, horses graze in sloping fields. The path winds around rocky inlets and on a clear day, Garafeen Strand is visible on the opposite side of the bay.
After following the path through fields, you’ll end up with a choice. You can either wander down to the sandy Broad Strand Beach, which is often deserted, or you can take the shorter option and follow the road back to Courtmacsherry village. The Fuschia Walk is a narrow road that joins the end of the of the coastal path. Lined with deep purple and red flowers, it’s particularly beautiful during the summer months. From there, country lanes lead back to the village.
Walking the entire Seven Heads trail is a big ask for most people. But if you want the views without all of the kilometres, you can hike a short route up the nearby Coolum Cliffs. The 100m cliffs overlook the north end of the Seven Heads Bay. On a good day, you can see Barry’s Point, the Old Head of Kinsale, and the Seven Heads.
Courtmacsherry to Timoleague
An easy walk, the flat route to Timoleague was once an old railway line. With the estuary on one side, and some old farmhouses dotted along the other, the path stretches for 5km and is glorious in the sun. If you’re still bursting with energy after your hike, it’s a lovely way to spend an evening.
Stopping at The Golden Pheasant Cafe for a post-walk coffee is a must in Courtmacsherry. The downstairs shop is filled with Irish crafty things, and the cosy upstairs café serves homemade cakes. It would be easy to miss it, because the shop and café are hidden by trees and lush greenery. There’s also an aviary in the garden, that’s home to some rescued owls and pheasants.
If you happen to be in Courtmacsherry on a Friday during the summer, stop off at the Country Market. It runs every Friday morning (9.30am – 12pm) from July until the end of August. You can knock back cups of tea, or buy some locally produced cakes, vegetables, jams or sauces.
Planning a visit?
- Courtmacsherry is 27 miles south-west of Cork City, which takes an hour by car.
- Killarney and the Ring of Kerry are also a 1-hour drive from Courtmacsherry.
- The Courtmacsherry Hotel is a Victorian mansion in the village. The award-winning Cork Tree Restaurant is part of the hotel.
- You might also like: Walks in Cork