Schull to Toormore Walk
|Type of Route
|10 km (one-way)
|2 hrs (one-way)
This walk is along quiet country roads with great views initially into Roaring Water Bay and its many islands, before crossing the peninsula and looking down into Dunmanus Bay and Sheep’s Head. From the Schull Trailhead, walk west up through the village, turning left for Toormore at the Y-junction at the top of the village. After 6km, cross the R592 and continue on the old grassy boreen to Toormore. The walk finishes by turning left into a lovely forest and river trail to the old Church in Toormore.
Schull to Toormore
Schull to Toormore Walk route is marked with yellow arrows which you need to look out for.
Starting at the trailhead (1) opposite the hotel, follow the road west through the village passing the Bunratty Arms and the library. Press on up Air Hill until you reach CopperPoint housing development and immediately after that a country road branches off at a Y-junction (2).
Take the LEFT, climb steadily uphill past farmyard and tractors and as you gain height enjoy the views back to Mt Gabriel and Schull harbour. Soon you pass roads going off left and right but you should keep STRAIGHT ON and eventually start to descend enjoying the views to the west. You’ll pass Gubbeen Farm on your left and about 3km from your start point you will cross a small stream and reach an ochre coloured house on a cross roads (3). This is known locally as the “five cross roads”. If you have a moment to spare, perhaps go and sit on the bridge where the stream enters Croagh Bay and see if there are fish swimming in the pool or birds wading.
At this juncture, the Gubbeen Loop Walk separates from the Schull-Toomore walks. Follow the Toormore waymarkers STRAIGHT ON keeping the ochre house on your left. After a short distance the road steepens, rounds a sharp bend and passes a right turn which you can ignore. The road continues to rise steadily and the Fastnet lighthouse will come into view again. Eventually, after a last steep leg, you reach the crest of the hill (4) and after admiring the view, you turn sharp RIGHT uphill again. On your left you’ll see a restored signal tower built in 1804 to give warning of a French Invasion. Soon you pass three water tanks which supply mains water to the local community and the road levels off and starts the descent to Lowertown. You pass over a cross roads and very soon you’ll see Lowertown Church (5) in front of you. Turn LEFT here and follow the main road for about 200m and then turn RIGHT where you see signposts for Drinagh Co-Op.
Continue up this side road for just 250m and you will see the Drinagh Co-Op building – turn LEFT just before the Co-Op (6) and follow this small road up between fields. Soon you will see an old burial ground, Arderawinny, on your right which is worth a quick exploration. The road steepens a bit and as it levels off you’ll see a road going off LEFT (7) which you need to take.
You pass a couple of houses on your left and the road soon starts a steady descent. After a bit more than one kilometre, the road bends left and steepens. As you reach the bottom of the hill look out for a farm gate on the left with signposts to Toormore and of course a yellow arrow. Go through the gate and after 15 metres look back to your right at the interesting old bridge under the road.
Continue down the path about 500 metres and emerge through a small gate onto a lane which leads you down to Altar Church and the Toormore Trailhead.
From here you might catch the bus back to Schull, collect your car or of course retrace your steps.
Toormore to Schull
The route is marked with yellow arrows which you need to look out for.
From the trailhead (9) at Altar Church (‘Teampaill na mBocht’ 1847) walk up beside the stream with burial ground on your left. After a few winding bends and a steep rise, look out for a small gate to the LEFT. Through the gate follow the grassy path across the field and up a lovely woodland valley beside the stream. At the north end of the track, after ten minutes, you will reach a farm gate onto a minor road (8) where you need to turn RIGHT.
The road rises quite steeply for a while but eventually levels out (with Dunmanus Bay your left) and after passing a few houses on your right you reach a junction (7) where you go STRAIGHT ON.
Descend steadily past a farmhouse and a burial ground on your left and you will see the Drinagh Co-Op yard and buildings on your left. At the road junction (6) turn RIGHT, leaving the Co-Op behind, and walk down to the main road at Lowertown (5) where you need to turn LEFT on the main Schull-Goleen road at Lowertown and walk as far as the Church where you turn RIGHT up a small road opposite the church.
Taking care crossing the main road follow on for approx. 200mtrs where the road swings to the right up towards Leamcon Tower (Signal Sation 1805). With Leamcon Tower on your right you can now look down on Croagh Bay to your left and the beautiful vista of Carbery’s Isles and Fastnet Rock off in the distance to the south. You pass three water tanks which feed the local water mains and descend steadily, with splendid views, to a T-junction (4) where you turn sharp LEFT.
The road now descends steadily for over a kilometre to reach the junction (3) known locally as “five cross roads” where the stream enters Croagh Bay.
Continuing forwards round a bend, cross the stream and keep STRAIGHT ON up the hill ignoring the left turn.
Soon you pass through farm buildings, the road narrows a bit and then widens out as you pass the entrance to Gubbeen Farm where the famous cheese and meats are made. Continue up the hill passing a number of houses and as the road starts to level out there are side roads left and right which can be ignored. Finally, you start to descend with views of Mount Gabriel and Schull Harbour ahead then pass through a farm yard where tractors are often lined up along the road. You reach a junction with a major road (2) and bear RIGHT to walk past Copper Point development on the right and down Air Hill until you pass the library and Bunratty Arms.
You are now in the main street where you can find refreshment and at the far end you will find the Trailhead almost opposite the Harbour View Hotel.