The Beara-Breifne Way follows the 14-day march of the last great Irish Chieftan Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare following the siege of his castle at Dunboy. On New Years Eve in 1602, with 1,000 soldiers, men, women and children, O'Sullivan fled from the Beara Peninsula to escape the forces of Queen Elizabeth I. On this journey they were attacked many times, whilst also battling against starvation and the freezing cold weather conditions. The Chieftan had the responsibility to get his people to a safe place in Co. Leitrim, as it was their only hope for survival. After the 14 days, only 35 people arrived safely, with many having been killed, fallen ill or leaving to join other villages.
Development of the trail
The development of the Beara-Breifne Way trail is the largest community-led project in Ireland to date. Many community groups and committees along the trail route have joined forces to create the trail based on the epic journey of Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare, using local knowledge and expertise and taking in many sites of historical interest as well as landscapes of natural beauty.
This trail is a result of the hard work of the groups involved, and the kind co-operation of approximately 400 farmers and land-owners along the trail. To date the trail has cost over €3-million to develop and more funding has been made available in 2018 for the completion and further development of the trail. Stage 8, Suck Valley Way will be getting a wheelchair route.