This famous and epic march was undertaken by Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beara,  chieftain of the O' Sullivan Beara Clan, from the Beara Peninsula to Leitrim passing through the Counties of Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo & Sligo

It happened as a result of the the Irish and the Spanish defeat by the crown forces at the Battle of Kinsale which began on the 17th of October 1601. A force of 3,400 Spanish soldiers under the command of Aquilla were supported by O'Sullivan Beara , O'Driscoll and the O'Connors of Kerry. Aquilla surrendered on the 12th January 1602 and Donal Cam, rushed back to Beara to  to fortify Dunboy Castle home  of the O'Sullivan Beara Clan. The castle was attacked on June 6th and fell to the Crown forces after 11 days under cannon fire.

After both Dunboy and Dursey Island castles were wiped out in June 1602, O'Sullivan Beara went on a campaign of guerrilla warfare around West Cork, taking at least six castles. By December 1602  he and his followers were camped in Glengarriff. Crown forces, under Wilmot, attacked and took 4000 cattle and 200 sheep. Faced with overwhelming odds and starvation, the O'Sullivans left Beara on their epic march to Leitrim to meet the O'Rourkes.

Accompanying him was a group of 1000 men, women and children including members from other clans. It was the first large-scale exodus of people from Beara Peninsula. In mid January 1603 they reached their destination. Only 35 people remained, many having dies in battles or from exposure and hunger along the route and many others having settled along the route where descendants are still known as 'the Bearas' to this date


Beara Holiday Homes provides 4 star Bord Failte approved, self catering holiday homes, which will form the perfect stepping stone for anyone who wishes to embark on the adventures of this exciting trail. We are
situated in Allihies, Beara near the picturesque village of Allihies with panoramic sea and mountain views all around us. Our three bedroom homes can accommodate up to six people and our four bedroom homes can accommodate up to eight people - so as you can see we can cater for groups, both large or small as well as individuals and families alike.

Please click on map to enlarge


Information on towns and villages, situated along the historic route in Beara.

Allihies - The picturesque village of Allihies is the most westerly parish of County Cork and is home to the spectacularly located ruins of the Allihies Copper Mines and the beautiful, sandy Ballydonegan beach.

Castletownbere - This is the larges town on the Beara Peninsula and was the ancestral home of Donal O'Sullivan Beara, and is Ireland's larges white fishing port. Over 20,000 tonnes of fish are landed annually and exported to the gourmet restaurants of the Continent.

Bere Island - this is just a short ferry trip away, enclosing the natural sheltered harbour of Berehaven. Scattered about the island are the remains of Victorian military forts, Martello towers and ancient sites.

Eyeries - this village has beautifully painted houses and flower displays on nearly every window. many films and television advertisements have been filmed here.

Ardgroom - Like Eyeries this village displays many colourful houses and also is home to Glenbed & Derryvegal lakes, both of which provides good trout fishing. Beyond this village is a stone circle, one of the many archaeological sites on the peninsula.


The Heritage Council of Ireland has decided that the historic route from the Beara Peninsula to Breifne will form part of the European Greenways trail. It will be developed as a long distance walking, cycling,
heritage and clan route, eventually linking with walking and cycling routes in Northern Ireland.

So if your passion is waling, cycling, heritage, traditional music or Irish language and Irish culture throughout the centuries is or if your surname is associated with one of the famous clan names or heritage houses along the route, please check the list of events on

Click here for the Official Beara Breifne Greenways  Website

Beara Holiday Homes, Fuchsia Lodge, Filane West, Castletownbere, West Cork
T.: +353 (0)27 70219/71200 F.: +353 (0)27 71200