MACAU: Magical Charm
AUSTRALIA, TA: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
USA, NM: Santa Fe – Downtown Retreat & Mountain Ranch Resort
PERU: Lake Sandoval, Amazonia: Mundos Intocados – Untouched Worlds.
AUSTRALIA, SA: Hopping Across to Kangaroo Island
USA, WY: The Legend of Buffalo Bill
AUSTRALIA, SA: Dishing It Out In South Australia
USA, NV: Top 10 Las Vegas Travel Tips
KIWI: Stewart Island's Natural Beauty
KIWI: Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track - Stairway to Heaven
KIWI: Sitting on the DOC of the Bay - A Campervan in the Coromandel
HONG KONG: Top Ten Must See Attractions
MACAU: A Macanese Affair to Remember
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 2
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 1
KIWI: Top 10 Kiwi Coastal Department of Conservation Campsites
KIWI: South by Southwest Auckland
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Campervan Adventures on the Great Tropical Drive
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s Adventurous Atributes
KIWI: Top 10 Adventure Activities to Experience in Auckland
KIWI: The Gems and Jewels of the Tutukaka Coast
AUSTRALIA, NSW: A South Coast & Southern Highlands Tasting Seduction
USA, WY: Unadulterated Wilderness - Yellowstone National Park
KIWI: Island’s in the Gulf
USA, SD: Famous Faces in Great Places
USA, MT: Montana’s Forgotten Ghost Towns
UAE: Abu Dhabi - More Than A Flight of Fancy
WESTERN SAMOA: In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stephenson
TONGA: Vava’u Island Group
KIWI: Unpack, Inhale and Unwind – Breathing Easy on Auckland’s West Coast
KIWI: Waiheke Island – Paradise Found
USA, ID: Sun Valley Lodge, Ketchum
USA, ID: A Big City with a Small Town Heart
SOUTH KOREA: Temple Tourism Where Silence is Golden
AUSTRALIA, TAS: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
AUSTRALIA, TAS: A Taste and a Tipple in Tassie
KIWI: Conjuring Up Some Matakana Magic
FIJI: Cavorting on the Coral Coast
USA, CA: Jamaica Bay Inn, Marina Del Rey
NEPAL: Kartwheeling in Kathmandu
KIWI: Going With The Flow - A Day on the Dart River
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 2.
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 1.
SINGAPORE: Capella Hotel, Sensosa Island
USA, HI: Hairpin Highway to Hana and Beyond
KIWI: Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown
ENGLAND: Haunted by Heathcliff - Yorkshire's Bronte Country
USA, CA: Handlery Union Square Hotel, San Francisco
KIWI: This Restless Land – Hiking the Tongariro Crossing & Mt. Ruapehu
KIWI: On My Bike - Mountain Biking and the Queenstown Bike Festival
ENGLAND: Mark it in Your Calendar – Visit Skipton, Yorkshire
SCOTLAND: A Scottish Highland Fling
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: 48 Hours in Cork
ENGLAND: The Land of Romans, Myths and Medieval Castles
SCOTLAND: 48 Hours in Edinburgh
WALES: Wandering North Wales
USA, CA: In Yountville Pushing the Epicurean Envelope
ENGLAND: On The Trail of Lancashire’s Pendle Witches
THAILAND: Sky High in Bustling Bangkok
TAHITI: Lazy Hazy Days of Winter - Tahitii and Moorea
AUSTRALIA, QLD: In Seventh Heaven
VENEZUELA: Where Angels Dared To Tread
NORFOLK ISLAND: Isle of Exiles
NEW CALEDONIA: Flavours of New Caledonia
KIWI: The Wonder Country - Campervan Ventures in Southland
MALAYSIA, Sabah Borneo: In The Land of the Red Ape
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Taste of the Tropics

REPUBLIC of IRELAND: Wrestling Wrasse on the Beara Peninsula

The Beara Peninsular is one of the least explored regions in the west of Ireland. This is a rugged landscape but with a good fishing guide you can soon be spinning for pollack, float fishing for wrasse, fly fishing for sea trout, fishing with a strip of mackerel for lesser spotted dogfish or a sandeel for thornback rays. Most of the shore fishing is easily accessible on flattened rock formations.

AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2011


Here are a few names to warm a fisherman’s cold hands – wrasse, pollock, cod, dogfish, mackerel, plaice, whiting, flounder, mullet, conger, coalfish and bass. It reminds me of some early Rick Stein episodes when I hear those names mentioned, names I hadn’t heard since I was a teenager and summer deck hand on a boat called the ‘Sea Witch’ in Wales.


The ‘Sea Witch’ was skippered by a character called Nobby Clark who’d taken me under his wing in 1968. We’d leave the Rhyll dock very early with a boatload of punters who were in North Wales for a short holiday and a spot of fishing. First though Nobby would load us both up with a mixed grill breakfast, “This’ll coat the stomach,” he’d tell me, as he knew that the fishermen would more than likely throw-up once the sea got rough.”


However, I was now on the south coast of Ireland and all those fish species were local inhabitants. I was here to try something new . . . rock fishing from the shore. I’d booked into Dromagowlane House, a B&B on the Beara Peninsular where Paul my host, a transplanted Englishman from the Midlands arranges for his guests to go fishing locally.


The Beara Peninsular is one of the least explored regions in the west of Ireland. This is a rugged landscape but with a good fishing guide you can soon be spinning for pollack, float fishing for wrasse, fly fishing for sea trout, fishing with a strip of mackerel for lesser spotted dogfish or a sandeel for thornback rays.  Most of the shore fishing is easily accessible requiring only a short walk to stepped or flattened rock formations. Another interesting feature on this peninnsular are the depths near the shoreline as it is not unusual to be fishing in 10 metres of water with only a medium cast out.


After a short drive down a narrow lane lined with bramble bushes laden with wild raspberries we hiked over a farmer’s field to a spot Paul had named, ‘The Doorstep.’ It was a secluded place with nothing but a few gulls for company.  Paul rigged up two rods, one with a bottom lead and paternoster hook and another with a sliding float where the depth could be varied.


Earlier that morning Paul had thrown a fine meshed net into the harbour to catch small crabs, but in the process he ended up grappling with a conger eel that had slipped into the net for a quick feed! As he pointed out, “That eel managed to eat half of our bait before I got him outta there!”


Back on the rocks, we started catching small pollack on rag-worm but it wasn’t until Paul baited the size 4 hooks with tiny crabs that we hooked some good sized, three-pound plus wrasse. These great fighting fish immediately dived into the kelp that meant literally wrestling the wrasse to shore with almost every cast. On light tackle, bending the rods almost double proved to be every bit a fisherman’s perfect way to end a day.


After a hearty cooked breakfast the next morning, the plan was to combine a scenic drive with a spot of afternoon fishing with Paul down at the south western tip near Dursey Island. This is on part of  ‘The Ring of Beara,’ a coastal driving route that wiggles its way around the Beara peninsula stretching from the town of Kenmare in the east to Dursey Sound on the south-western tip where Dursey Island projects its needle nose tip into the Atlantic sea. The return route then threads its way back to the peninsular largest town, Glengarriff.


My first challenge was to drive across the 334 metre high Healy Pass. It cuts through the two highest peaks in the Caha Mountain range on a winding road that starts from the bridge in the tiny town of Adrigole in Co. Cork, across the border to the bridge in the village of Lauragh in Co. Kerry, a distance of just eight miles. It lays claim as one of the finest mountain roads in Ireland. It was once known as the Bealach Scairt (the way of the sheltered caves), the name of an ancient track through the mountains between Cork and Kerry.


As the road twisted higher the land changed from gently sloping bottle green-coloured meadows to horse chestnut-coloured moorland where hardy sheep clambered across rising crags. The road at times was narrow, steep and winding.  The route became increasingly steeper until it buckled and slithered its way past the final rock face. By this time I was right in the thick of low cloud blanketing the mountains on the Cork side.  Forty-five meters beyond, this rocky mountain curtain of cloud opened up to reveal the green sweep of Co. Kerry, nearby Glenmore Lake, and the distant mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula – with full-on breathtaking views.


From Lauragh I slowly breezed past small bays, ports, inlets and into and out of picturesque villages and quaint hamlets with verdant pastoral scenes, the sort of places the Travel Channel would use in an opening sequence of images on this part of the world.  On past the brightly painted villages of Ardgroom, Eyeries and Urhan to the settlement of Allihes that uses the catch phrase, “a beauty unspoiled and a wilderness untamed.” Yet this was once a rich, load-bearing copper mining town where mine ruins are still highly visible.

After a quick pint with Paul in the local pub called O’Neill’s, we made our way to where the cable car (the only one of its kind in the country) crosses to Dursey Island. In a howling wind we gathered our fishing gear and made our way onto sheltered rocks below the bluff as rain slashed sideways above our heads.

On the first cast I landed a nice sized pollack and as the weather deteriorated further the fish just would not stop biting. In less than an hour I caught more fish than I would often do in a day on a boat fishing trip in New Zealand. As Paul explained, “This place is stocked better than Cork’s fish market.  We are lucky to have a temperate climate, the Gulf Steam sweeps across this coastline and there’s no commercial fishing to deplete the stocks. Oh and look around you . . . no one else bothers fishing from the shore!”

After another pint of Guinness on the way back to Paul’s B&B I remarked that he had the best of both worlds living in this part of Ireland and he agreed. “Wrestling wrasse for a living,” he said, “sure beats working in an accountant’s office in Northampton doesn’t it.”


Fact Box:


Paul and Anne Harris

Dromagowlane House

Adrigole, Beara Peninusular, Co. Cork

T: +44 (0)353 276 0330



About 110km (2hrs 15mins from Cork)

Double/Twin Room €33.00 to €35.00, Single Room €47.00 to €51.00

All rates are per person per night in an on-suite room including full Irish breakfast, dinner is available by prior arrangement

Paul also supplies guests with fishing gear as part of your B&B stay package.


Tips and tackle for making your shore fishing more memorable:


Fishing permits are not needed

Take wet weather gear

Wear sturdy boots not gum boots or trainers

Locate the high tide mark

Have a selection of baits such as small crabs

Use a whole fillet for conger eels

Change your tactics from float to spinning to ledger

Have an extendable landing net

Take a thermos and hot drinks

Use a good fishing guide and stay safe


Note: The Beara Peninsular has a 138km long cycling route and a long distance walking route of 208km that winds its way through the peninsular. It has numerous archaeological sites some of which date back from 2500BC and include standing stones, stone circles, cairns, souterrains, megalithic tombs, burial grounds, forts, castles and signal towers.


For more walking information use the following link



Shane Boocock flew to Europe courtesy of Etihad Airways in their wonderful Pearl Business Class flat bed service from Sydney to Manchester via Abu Dhabi. Go to: and was hosted and flew to Ireland from the UK courtesy of Tourism Ireland (NZ). Go to:

If you would like to read this article in full or licence it for your own publication, please click here to contact Shane.