Hog’s Head is the name of the little island flanking the eastern entrance into Ballinskelligs Bay. Often the name Hog’s Head is used for the entire peninsula that protrudes into the sea of Ballinskelligs Bay, between Waterville and Caherdaniel. Even the new golf course outside Waterville is named similarly. About time to check it out so!
The furthest point on the small peninsula you can reach by land is a hill called Reenearagh. A small country road takes you all the way to the foot of this small hill (162 meters tall), first on its northern side overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay, after which it crosses over to Hog’s Head southern side with views towards Derrynane and the Beara peninsula. Just above the point where the road crosses sides, you’ll find the remains of the Napoleonic-era military barracks. The resemblance with the barracks on Bolus Head, on the other side of Ballinskelligs Bay, is striking.
I started my little walk just after Baslickane bridge outside Waterville, which resulted in a handy 14km roundtrip over quiet tarmacked roads, with a little climb through grassland up towards the top of Reenearagh. The views were phenomenal: along Balinskelligs Bay you can see Waterville, Reenroe and Bolus Head and mountain clearly. The iconic Skellig Islands were clear as day on the horizon between the tips of Bolus and Hog’s Head. And the southern side of Hog’s Head offers vistas towards Derrynane, Deenish and Scariff Islands and the Beara peninsula in the distance.
On the way back I took in a small detour and turned right after the slipway at Rinneen. This extra little loop adds maybe a mile but leads past the Loher Stone fort, which was reconstructed in the recent past. Whilst called a fort, it was actually a reinforced farmstead with large 2m tall outer walls and two houses within its confines. This website has a good virtual tour of the place should you be interested. It’s worth checking out “for real” as well though!