Combining history and stunning coastal scenery, Mizen Head is a fantastic destination to visit while cruising Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The area is the most southwestern point of the Emerald Isle and is located on a small headland in West Cork.
From the visitor center to the famous walkway and iconic station station, here’s your complete guide to Mizen Head.
Located at the southwestern tip of the jagged Kilmore Peninsula, Mizen Head is a spectacular area of cliffs that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The area is one of the southernmost points in all of Ireland and is almost separated from the rest of the peninsula by a deep gorge. The point of Mizen Head is the last piece of European land that sailors would have seen before embarking on the Atlantic crossing.
Because it is one of the westernmost points in all of Europe, it is arguably the closest point to America. For this reason, the famous Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi chose the place to build his radio signal tower to send the first transatlantic telegraphic messages.
Mizen Head is not technically the southernmost point in Ireland (that title belongs to the nearby Brow Head), however it is common to refer to Ireland as “Malin Head to Mizen Head”.
Things to do in Mizen Head
Mizen Head’s location on the edge of Europe meant that it was the first or last land transatlantic ships would encounter. The rocky shoreline also made it a dangerous place to navigate, so a signal house was built to warn passing ships. Visitors can buy a ticket for 7.50 euros to go down the 99 steep steps to reach the signal station. Once you’ve crossed the stunning coastal paths to reach the signal station, visit the Marconi Radio Room and the Station Guardian Rooms, which showcases what life was like for the people who once lived here and maintained the station. signal in operation.
The ticket also grants access to the visitor center that has exhibits on local lighthouses, marine life, geology, and the history of Mizen Head.
After learning about the area and braving the aisles that line the cliffs, sit down in the cafe for a coffee or sandwich, and browse the gift shop that specializes in boat-themed souvenirs.
The wild location is also ideal for observing local animals. Be on the lookout for seals near shore and numerous seabirds. Look just beyond the waves to see whales and dolphins.
Place and how to visit
The best way to get to Mizen Head is to drive a private car, but certain bus tours also stop at this attraction on the Wild Atlantic Way. Depending on the direction you are traveling from, take the R591 or R592 towards Goleen. Pass through the village and follow the signs to Mizen Head Drive. Upon arrival, there is ample free parking in front of the visitor center.
Tickets for the visitor center and signal station can be purchased on the spot. All roads are paved and well maintained, but sturdy shoes are a good idea for those planning to make the hike to the signal station.
All of the coastal paths connecting the different buildings have guardrails that add an element of security even in rainy weather, but the area is best on clear days when more of the beautiful scenery can be enjoyed. (Note that access to cross the bridge itself may be restricted in stormy conditions.)
What else to do nearby
Mizen Head is a popular destination for its relatively wild and remote landscape. Apart from the observation decks, the coastal paths and the small visitor center with a cafe, there is little else to do on the site. However, the attraction is close to the small towns of Durrus, Ballydehob, Crookhaven, Goleen and Schull, which offer a glimpse of traditional life in rural West Cork.
To get even closer to nature, try sea kayaking in good weather and enjoy the opportunity to explore the rugged coastline from a new vantage point. There are also several companies offering bike rentals in the area.
After discovering West Cork from land and sea, explore the area further by taking the ferry across Roaringwater Bay to Sherkin, one of Ireland’s finest islands.