Bere Island lies at the entrance to the magnificent Bantry Bay in Co. Cork and guards Berehaven Harbour, one of the deepest harbours in Europe. The island lies 2 km offshore from the town of Castletownbere. Just over 200 people live on the island.
The island is 11 km long and, at its broadest is 5 km wide, with the main axis of the island orientated east-west. It has a land area of 17.68 km² . This undulating island is typical of the mountainous character of the Beara Peninsula. The southern side rises steeply from the sea, the highest point being Knockanallig (270m), while the northern side sweeps gently down to the shore. The main areas of productive land are concentrated on the northern side and the gently rolling peninsula at its eastern end. These lower areas are dominated by species-rich peaty grasslands, with well-developed heathland dominating the higher areas. On the southern side, there is a maritime influence on this heathland from salty spray. Roadside banks also provide species-rich habitats due to the lack of traffic and road widening. There are two lakes on the island, Lough Alimin and Lomanagh Lough (Bere Island Conservation Plan).The biodiversity of the island has not been studied in any great detail, so there is much yet to be discovered.
The shores and surrounding waters have good habitat diversity, with some beds of maerl (a soft white sediment, high in calcium) off the coast and the presence of many warm-water species characteristic of the south-west.
Because of its strategic position in the mouth of Bantry Bay, it has a rich military history from the 18th century up to the present day. Martello towers, a signal tower, a military barracks and military fortification are still prominent features of the landscape.
Already 303 species have been recorded from Bere Island. A list of the species recorded from Bere Island can be downloaded here: Bere Island species list
If you would like to assist with the recording on Bere Island contact [email protected]
For further information about Bere Island and to book accommodation see http://www.bereisland.net/
Island Wildlife Festival programme
Daily events –
Whale & Dolphin watching trips with Sea Safari.
Tuesday 7th June
10:00hrs Talk on beekeeping – Barry Hanley – Bere Island Heritage Centre
14:00hrs Walk to Cloughland Lake – Daniel Moriarty – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
Wednesday 8th June
10:45hrs Walk with Chris Sullivan – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
14:00hrs Nature walk to Cloughland Tower – Clare Heardman – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
Thursday 9th June
12:00hrs Talk on Bere Island Oyster & Seaweed Farm – David Andrews – Bere Island Heritage Centre
14:00hrs Talk on medicinal herbs – Rosari Kingston – Bere Island Heritage Centre
Friday 10th June
11:00hrs Butterfly walk – Damaris Lysaght – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
17:00hrs Introduction to Dexter Cattle – Steve Collins – Bere Island Heritage Centre
Evening Music in island bars – Desy’s bar & The Hotel
Saturday 11th June
10:00hrs Nature walk and Pond Dipping – Geoff Hunt – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
12:00hrs Launch of Island BioBlitz 2016 – Bere Island Heritage Centre
14:00hrs Guided bird watching walk – Niall Tierney – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
21:00hrs Dusk chorus walk – Niall Tierney – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
Evening Music with Michael Harrington & Co. – Bere Island Heritage Centre
Sunday 12th June
05:00hrs Dawn chorus walk – Niall Tierney – Meet at Murphy’s Shop, Rerrin
09:00 hrs Island BioBlitz surveying
12:00hrs Island BioBlitz – finishes
12:30hrs Island BioBlitz – winners announced