An excursion to Mizen Head — the ‘land’s end’ of Ireland — takes you to some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the country. Once past the pretty villages of Ballydehob and Schull the landscape becomes ever wilder and more romantic, but even this does not prepare for you for the breathtaking spectacle of sea cliffs and stacks that awaits on the Head itself.
The modern visitor centre on the clifftop and the old signal station at the very end of the headland house the two parts of a fascinating exhibition of the life of the sea, lighthouses, navigation, shipwrecks, radio and all things nautical. The station itself, on a small island, is reached by means of a spectacular arched bridge across the sea.
Between Mizen Head and Brow Head to the east is Barley Cove, one of the finest Blue Flag beaches in West Cork. To the north lies Three Castle Head, site of one of the most ancient and atmospheric of West Cork’s castles. It is approached by a 15-minute walk across moorland to what feels almost like the edge of the world. The three castles are actually the three towers of a single fortification called Dunlough, perched on the edge of a vertical precipice. Together with the adjacent man-made lake and the sheer cliffs on all sides, it made the remote headland into a virtually impregnable fortress.