7 May 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Ireland’s first Horse Trail, the much-awaited Beara Bridle Way, has been completed in West Cork with the assistance of Cork County Council. Managed by Beara Tourism, the Beara Bridle Way will allow visitors to take in the stunning landscape of the Beara Peninsula on horseback.
Straddling the borders of both Cork and Kerry, the main trail overlooks 17 kilometres of rugged mountainous scenery and spectacular seascapes with dazzling views of the West Cork Islands. Horse riders of all experience can undertake the trail, by availing of trekking services provided by local riding services.
The trail, spanning from Castletownbere to Allihies was developed following a successful Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) funding application with Cork County Council as lead partners. The total cost of the project was €83,000 with a €53,000 contribution from REDZ and Cork County Council funding the balance. As part of the trail, Cork County Council has also erected a bridge at a cost of €96,000 in Caminches, Allihies for safety reasons. This was funded largely by the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Local Improvement Scheme Grant, with match funding from Cork County Council and local landowners.
Jim O’Sullivan, Beara Tourism explains the process involved in developing the trail,
‘The project was initiated in 2016. The first step was to reach out to the British Horse Society who came to the area and carried out an assessment. As there were no other officially recognised Horse Trails in the country, it was important that we followed the correct procedures. We were given a list of criteria which included a large number of actions for Cork County Council to complete and then, with their assistance, we were delighted to get funding from the REDZ scheme. After infrastructural works were completed earlier this year, we got official approval and endorsement from the British Horse Society and Sports Island, which means that the trail is now considered ready to go. We certainly couldn’t have completed the project without the tremendous support we received from Cork County Council’.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Ian Doyle has welcomed news of the trail’s completion,
‘The Beara Bridle Way’ gives Cork County yet another touristic advantage in this emerging market. The impacts of COVID-19 have affected the tourism industry severely, but sustainable initiatives such as this will place Cork County in a strong position for recovery, once Government restrictions are lifted. I look forward to hearing of the trail’s opening in due course. What better way to explore the Wild Atlantic Way and the Maritime Haven that is Pure Cork than on horseback’
The Beara Bridle Way will officially open later this year. Further details are available at www.bearabridleway.com