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Exploring the Mizen peninsula

Starting out in Durrus, leave the Bantry road just opposite Wiseman’s and bear right at the junction. Follow this small backroad past green fields and occasional houses. After 4km you will pass Ballycommane House & Garden on the left. Continue on the road until you meet a T-junction (staggered crossroads) where you turn right onto the N71. Follow this road across the wooded ridge of Barnageehy and down into the fertile pocket of Ballydehob (Bal an dh Chab "Ford at the Mouth of Two Rivers"), nestling amidst green fields. Note the Twelve Arched Bridge across the river, a remnant of the old West Cork railway system, when you turn right into the village. Keep right at the junction in the village and continue on the main R592 past mushroom-topped Mount Gabriel on the right to Schull. Keep right on the R592 when the road forks at the end of this pleasant village. The road sweeps round Toormore Bay past a church on the right and the R591 turning right. Take a right turn signposted to Mizen Head opposite the church at the end of Goleen. Follow this road straight ahead past a left turn to Crookhaven that you'll be taking on your way back. Take the next turn on the left and follow the road until it ends at Mizen Head, Ireland's most southwesterly point. Mizen Head Signal Fog Station with the famous suspension bridge, one of the first reinforced concrete structures in Europe built between 1908 and 1910, is open to the public.

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Three Castle Head

Return the same way to the junction you passed earlier and turn right across the causeway to Crookhaven. You will soon enjoy a nice view on the right over Barley Cove with its long golden sandy beach. Keep right at the junction opposite the next bay known as Crook Haven. Ignore a right turn to Brow Head and follow the R591 into Crookhaven. At the entrance to this sleepy little fishing village whose sheltered harbour is popular with yachtspeople stands St Brandon's Church on the left overlooking the bay. Return to the junction passed earlier, now keeping right on the R591 for Goleen. Enjoy lovely views across the bay to Crookhaven before reaching Goleen again. Drive back shortly in the direction of Schull before turning left at Toormore Bay onto the R591 to Bantry. Dunmanus Bay comes into view on the left. Return to Durrus where you could either take a sharp left turn onto Sheep’s Head peninsula or continue straight ahead in the direction of Bantry.

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Overlooking Dunmanus Bay from the cairn at Three Castle Head