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Walking the Bolus Barracks Loop

The westernmost point of the Iveragh peninsula is home to the so-called Skellig Ring. A 20 mile extension of the Ring of Kerry, it loops around the western coastline of the peninsula passing through Ballinskelligs and Portmagee, with good views towards the Skellig Islands along spectacular cliffs.

Sheep on Bolus HeadWooly jumpers on Bolus Head

It is on this route that you will see signposts for the Bolus Baracks loop, a short (9km) looped walk over the foot of Bolus Hill (Cnoc Bhólais). The trailhead is well signposted and the walk starts from a carpark along a minor road turning off from the Skellig Ring just before St Finian’s Bay.

A sunny morning with Kaya in school seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out this walk. From the trailhead, you follow the tarmac road another 1.5km down towards Bolus, where the signposts send you into a field towards Bolus Head.

Bolus Loop primrosesLots of primroses up along the walk up to Bolus

As the walk leads through farmland many signposts inform you that because of lifestock, dogs are not welcome. I kept Apache on his lead and he was grand, as he doesn’t care all that much for sheep anymore. I think he finally got the idea they’re simply not that much fun.

At the highest point of the walk you will come across a small concrete lookout tower from World War 2. There were 83 of these posts at a 10-20 mile interval all along the Republic’s coast all the way from Louth to Donegal. Immediately behind it are the much bigger remains of the military barracks and lookout tower from Napoleonic times.

Another one of these structures is faintly visible across the water on Hogs Head. A left turn after the ruins quickly descend back towards the starting point of the walk.