Mizen Head, on the Wild Atlantic Way in southwest Ireland, shouldn’t be a place where one ends up accidentally, but that is exactly how John and I visited there in County Cork when we were on our 7-day road trip around Ireland.
Mizen Head is located at the very end of the Mizen Peninsula in the district of Carbery in County Cork.
The narrow roads and confusing layout of driving in Ireland had us somewhat confused, and maybe even a little bit terrified (I’m speaking for myself here!), nearly prompting us to turn around several times.
Despite the challenges, we continued on that tiny, narrow road that didn’t seem to be going anywhere except toward the end of the world, and found….a paradise of stunning beauty!
While Mizen Head may not truly be the end of the world, it is the end of this part of Ireland. The most south-westerly point of the Emerald Isle, Mizen Head juts out into the Atlantic Ocean like a serrated knife blade.
Here, the currents from the west and the south coasts meet, making waves that crash and spray against the magnificent, steep cliffs that rival the beauty of the famous Cliffs of Moher.
The stunning beauty of the coast of Mizen Head is unsurpassed. With deep ravines and spectacular rocky outcroppings, the true power of Mother Nature is on display, both on land and on the sea.
The undulating show of water and waves is completely mesmerizing.
The extreme tip of the Mizen Head peninsula is almost an island. To reach it, you cross the arched suspension bridge that hovers over a deep blue swath of the ocean below.
Once on the other side of the gorge, you can walk a narrow path to the old signal station, weather station, and lighthouse.
Exhibits feature an extensive map collection, boat displays, and an old radio room such as that used for communication between the land and the passing ships.
Visitors can uniquely sense the solitude of the light keeper’s quarters. Seemingly far from civilization, it’s easy to imagine the isolation of a man alone with the whipping wind, pounding waves, and the light that guided the boats away from this rough shore as his only company.
Just outside the lighthouse windows is a panoramic view that will take your breath away. As the layers of blue sea melt into the sky, you may see dolphins jumping against the horizon and seals with their pups seeking the protected rocks within the inlets.
This area is also known as one of the best places to see minke and humpback whales.
Mizen Head Location
Mizen Head Hiking Paths
There are four paths you can choose from when visiting.
- Sea Arch– a steep path down towards the ocean ends in an observation platform with views of the Sea Arch and back to the Bridge and Signal Station.
- Bridge View– a level path to an observation platform where you can look down at the Bridge and up north to the Beara Peninsula. This path is good for those unable to take steep climbs
- Dunlough View– over the Bridge and up by the Explosives Hut where the cordite for the explosive Fog Signal used to be kept there is a path that takes you to a breathtaking observation platform. The views are sublime in every direction.
- Derrick Path – a short path leading down to the Derrick stand that was once used to supply the Station from boats before the Bridge was built in 1909. The views under the Bridge are fascinating.
Mizen Head Hours
Hours vary by season so be sure to confirm hours on the website before visiting. For those visiting in 2020, Mizen Head will be opening on July 14th with visiting hours from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm for the remainder of July and August.
Mizen Head Cost
Adult admission is €7.50, and admission for children age 5 to 14 is €4.50. Children under 5 are free.
Have you ever gone somewhere unexpectedly and found beauty beyond words? Let me know about your experience in a comment below.
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