Walks and Trails
There is an abundance of walking trails in the area, with walks to cater for all age groups and fitness levels. Most of the walks offer spectacular views over lakes, bogs, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, Brandon bay, and the Owenmore estuary. The mountains around the area harbour deserted villages and uninhabited valleys and offer an almost unique wilderness, in stark contrast to the stress of everyday living.
For those who want to explore the area by foot there are short walks to Loch a ‘Dúin, Loch an Mhónáin, Mullach Bhéal and Fermoyle Beach walk to name but a few.
For walks of greater length and a little more strenuous there is the Sás creek trail, Más an Tíompáin trail and the Old Green Road trail (the top section of which is a step up in the level of difficulty). Experienced walkers can combine two walks together to ensure a longer day.
The most challenging of the walking trails in the area and those that require some level of fitness and experience are the Mount Brandon Pilgrimage trail, Brandon ridge and the top section of the Old Green Road trail. Each year in June there is an annual pilgrimage to the summit of Mount Brandon where locals and visitors all come together to climb the mountain.
Angling & Fishing
The area is a paradise for anglers. Cod, pollock, ling, various species of dog fish, mackerel, turbot, skate, bass and shark may be caught off the coast if you charter a boat. There are also a number of fine fishing beaches in the area with Ballyguin, Cappagh and Fermoyle strands the perfect venue for the beach caster.
The magnificent valley set between the mount Brandon range and the famed Connor Pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland, provides unsurpassed game fishing for wild salmon and sea trout in the Owenmore River and lakes. For the fly angler sea trout fishing is excellent after dark.
There is an abundant supply and variety of bait available in the area and there is a local boat hire service in Brandon.
Boating and Boat Hire
Self-drive boat hire is available in Brandon village where engines, oars, lifejackets, VHF and flares can be rented.
Brandon Bay is a perfect destination for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the shape of the bay and can accommodate nearly every wind and swell direction. Visit Jamie Knox Watersports to enquire about lessons and rentals.
Brandon Bay has been voted #1 Windsurfing destination in the World by the ‘Sunday Times’. The Professional Windsurfers Association PWA Tour has also come to Brandon Bay and the Red Bull Storm Chase hit Brandon Bay as recent as 2013.
There is an abundance of beaches in the area, with most safe for swimming. The beach that Hillside Cottage overlooks, Trá Bhán, would not be recommended for beginners as there is a strong current but it is definitely worth a visit just to sit and take in the scenery and remoteness.
The Cloghane-Brandon area includes a wide range of habitats from a tidal salt-water estuary and floodplain to the extensive river system that stretches up into the mountains. The bogland, natural meadows, rolling hills and rugged mountains are home to a rich and bio-diverse flora and fauna. Local residents include curlews, oystercatchers, herons, as well as gannets, fulmars, cormorants, choughs, razorbills and guillemots.
For those who enjoy a round of golf visit Castlegregory Golf and Fishing Club, a par 68 nine-hole course set between the scenic Lough Gill and Brandon Bay and where the magical colours of Mount Brandon act as magnificent backdrop. There are also par 72 championship links located in Dingle (25 minutes) and Tralee (45 minutes), the latter designed and built by Arnold Palmer.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
There are numerous locations around Brandon Bay that are ideal for whale and dolphin watching. Bottlenose dolphins are regularly spotted in the Bay while Whales have been spotted although not as frequently. Local boat hire is also available to anyone who wishes to get closer to the action
Located at the local community centre ‘Halla le Chéile’ are a racket ball alley, a games room, an indoor basketball area and an outdoor soccer pitch. There is also an outdoor children’s playground.