Sheeps Head

From Irish Climbing Wiki


Sheep's Head O.S. Sheet 88 Discovery Series. The Sheep's Head peninsula is not too widely known to the outside world. It deserves better, having much to offer the climber, walker and cyclist. As to the climbing, the rock is clean and sound, the gear good, and the situations inspiring. There are still many possible lines awaiting a first ascent so, if at some stage you tire of following someone else's chalk marks, grow weary of playing the numbers game, feel like breaking away from the herd and making your own personal contribution to the Irish climbing scene, why not pay a visit.

There is a campsite 4km south of Durrus on the road to Schull (Dunbeacon Campsite, ph. 027 61246). For details of self-catering and B&Bs, see, or drop in to the cafe cum information centre at the turning table near the tip of the Head, where the road ends, (run by a local woman, it serves tea and home-made pastries). Naturally, every village has at least one pub, and pub-grub is available in Kilcrohane and Durrus. For some really excellent local produce try 'Good things to Eat' just outside Durrus, on the road to Kilcrohane.


Grid. Ref. V 798 356 Follow the road through Durrus, Ahakista and the village of Kilcrohane. About 2km beyond Kilcrohane take a turn on the left signposted Dooneen Pier. At the bottom of the hill, just after passing a large bungalow on the right, where the road swings sharp left, there is limited parking on the right. Follow the track through a gate (close it after you) and strike off right, heading for the highest point on the headland, which is just above a blowhole with some fence posts around it. The central inlet is on the seaward side of the blowhole. Less than 5 minutes walk from the carpark. In general, the west side of each of the inlets is the more attractive as this is the side that receives the full force of the sea.

East Inlet.

The most easterly (left looking out to sea) of the 3 inlets is bounded on the west (right, looking out to sea) by a long slab. A vertical fault-line divides the slab into two sections. The inner section is provided with plentiful holds; the outer section is smooth with some thin cracks and offers delightful, delicate slab climbing. The climbs are described from left to right when facing the rock.

Sheeps head.png


East Inlet

A = Be Not Afraid. B = Trup. C = Samuelito.

Fin & Minke, Sheep's Head.jpg

Fin & Minke VS 5a

Be Not Afraid. VS 4b/c
G. Moss, L. Convery, H. Herzman 6/6/2005
Scramble in from the head of the inlet along narrow ledges or abseil down the fault-line and move left down a ramp to a good ledge on the high-water mark. Belay below some thin cracks in the slab. This climb follows left-hand crack slanting up left . Climb the crack. Small wires and friends useful.


Be Not Afraid VS4b/c

Fin & Minke VS 5a

P Concannon, M Creedon, 10/8/2020.

Takes a thin right wards trending line left of Pegasus and R of BNA small wires useful, picture of line below,

Pegasus. S 4a
G. Moss L. Convery H. Herzman 6/6/2005
Start as for Be Not Afraid, below the thin right-hand crack. Climb the crack. Small wires and friends useful.

Eileen’s Bar 15m VD

Barry Watts, Gerry Galligan, 1/7/2018

Start 3m left of Trup Trup Trup. Climb the wall to a large ledge. Continue up the left-facing corner to the top.

Trup, Trup, Trup D
L. Convery H. Herzman G. Moss 6/6/2005
Start at the foot of the shallow corner formed by the vertical fault-line. Climb the corner, moving a little left. near the top.


Trup, Trup, Trup.

Morning Dew. S
J. Bergin, P. Britton, 16/11/2013
Start to the right of Trup, Trup, Trup at the end of the ledge where it rises a little. After some in-cut steps, follow the crack line directly up.

Cormorants’ Parade. VD
P. Britton, J. Bergin, 16/11/2013
Start just beyond the ledge and right of Morning Dew. After a slabby start, it’s all edges and ledges and three steps right.

Tide Line Breach. S
P. Britton, J. Bergin, 16/11/2013
This route starts at an obvious shallow square cut depression about 4m left of Samuelito. Step into the depression and follow the crack line on the right above. (Grade needs confirmation on a dry day.)

Misty. VD
J. Bergin, P. Britton, 16/11/2013
Start 1m left of Samuelito. Step across the void onto the slab at some left facing holds, then straight up.

Samuelito. VD
H. Herzman G. Moss L. Convery 6/6/2005
Scramble down the gully at the head of the inlet and belay halfway along the inner section of the slab, below two diverging cracks. Pull up onto the slab and foot traverse left along a ledge system to where it ends. Climb straight up from here.


Samuelito VD

Apprentice. D
H. Herzman G. Moss L. Convery 6/6/2005
Start as for Samuelito, below the left-hand of two cracks. Make a steep move up onto the slab and follow the crack to the top.

Sweet Marie. D
L. Convery H. Herzman 6/6/2005
Start as for above. Climb the right-hand crack.

Dream of a Sacrificial Lamb 40m HS 4b

Gerry Galligan, Barry Watts, Paddy O’Brien, 1/7/2018

An enjoyable rising traverse of the inner slab. Start as for Samuelito and follow the shelves leftwards until forced up to cross blank slab to reach the cliff crest (crux). Resist the temptation to top out; instead hand-traverse to finish at the top of Morning Dew.

Central Inlet.

This inlet, like the west inlet, culminates in a large cave.
Central Slab. The outer section of the spur dividing the central and western inlets narrows to a sharp arete as it points out to sea. The first two climbs are reached by back-climbing a two-metre step (this section can be protected by placing a large sling over a flake) and scrambling out along the arete to where an abseil anchor can be arranged. Abseil down the back of the slab to a ledge system and scramble around left to reach a narrow ledge on the high water mark at the front of the slab (it is possible to abseil down the front of the slab, but the ledge is narrow and care will be needed to keep the rope from getting wet).


Central Slab A = Mutton Dressed as Lamb.

Mutton Dressed As Lamb. VS 4c
G. Moss, L. Convery 26/6/2005
Start on the narrow ledge, just left of a shallow corner and below two small overhangs. Climb the crack to the first overhang, followed by the short corner, finishing up the thin crack above the second overhang.


Mutton Dressed as Lamb

Capall Mara. VS 4c.
G. Moss, L. Convery 26/6/2005
Start just right. of Mutton Dressed as Lamb. This climb takes the crack just right of the square-cut overhang and corner of the previous climb.

Capall Luascáin. VS 4b.
G. Moss H. Herzman 8/8/2005
Abseil down to a ledge on the high water mark, at the foot of a right facing corner at the right-hand end of the slab and just left of a small, narrow subsidiary inlet. Climb the crack in the corner, difficulties ease after the horizontal ledge.


Calum's Corner
A = Calum's Corner VD. B = Point to Point S. C = Capall Luascáin VS 4b.

Point to Point. S
G. Moss L. Convery 26/6/2005
Abseil down to a ledge on the high-water mark, at the foot of the long corner-crack just left (west) of the cave mouth and right of the subsidiary inlet mentioned above. Climb diagonally left to reach the arete at the edge of the inlet. Move up the arete to a large ledge and traverse left above the inlet. Step down left across a gap to gain the slanting crack on the face of the slab. Follow this left-ward to the top.

Calum's Corner. VD
L. Convery G. Moss 26/6/2005
The imposing-looking corner just left of the cave gives as good a V. Diff as you will find anywhere. Start as for Point to Point. Climb the corner, move out left at the overhang and finish up the chimney.

West Inlet.

The west side of this inlet is composed of a series of corners. The next climb takes a slab at the back of the deepest recess and access is by abseiling down the easy-angled slab..

Sheeps HeadWI1.jpg

Recessed Slab. D (A)
L. Convery G. Moss 26/6/06
Start on some large blocks at the foot of the slab. Climb the slab.

Blocky Rocky. D (B)
H. Herzman, G. Moss 8/8/2005
There are three corners immediately left of the cave mouth. This climb takes the left-hand one, which is the widest of the three, and ends up over some stacked blocks.

Old Grey Mare. MS (C)
G. Moss, H. Herzman 8/8/2005
Climb the long, central corner, the crux is at half-height.

Happy Cathy D

Start: Abseil down Recessed Slab to some blocks. Scramble on down to belay on a ledge just above the high water mark. Step L across the gap and continue diagonally L to the foot of the headwall, which is climbed near its R edge.

C. McGovern, G,. Moss 1/5/2023

Dooneen Wall

From the parking place mentioned above for Carrignacappul, walk back up the road to the stile on the left. for the Sheep's Head Way. Follow the Way to where it starts to head inland, away from the coast (there is a warning sign at this point). The wall is a few meters beyond the sign. About five minutes from the car. The climbs all start from the same point the right-hand end of the footledge (The Sheepwalk) that runs all the way across the wall, just above the high water mark.

This wall, and some slabs to the left of it, can be seen to the northwest from Carrignacappul.


Dooneen Wall A = The Golden Fleece VS 4c. B = Crooked Crack VD. C = Saltire HS 4a. D = Twenty Years HS 4a. E = Bo Peep VS 4c. F = The Sheepwalk MS.

The Golden Fleece. VS 4c
G. Moss L. Convery 27/6/06
Start just right of the crooked crack, at the right-hand end of the footledge (The Sheepwalk). A bouldering start leads to better holds and the short finishing crack directly above.


The Golden Fleece VS 4c

Crooked Crack. VD.
L. Convery G. Moss 27/6/06
Start at the foot of the obvious crooked crack slanting up left. Follow the crack up, across, and up again.


The Crooked Crack, VD.

Saltire. HS 4a.
G. Moss, H. Herzman, 10/8/2005.
Traverse out along The Sheepwalk to the foot of the first crack left of Crooked Crack. Climb this to the horizontal section of Crooked Crack, foot traverse back right along this and climb the thin crack above its right-hand end.

Twenty Years. HS 4a
H. Herzman, G. Moss 10/8/2005
Traverse along The Sheepwalk passing Saltire, to where two parallel cracks slope up left. Climb the right-hand one which continues all the way to the top.

Bo Peep. VS 4c.
G. Moss, H. Herzman 10/8/2005.
Traverse out along The Sheepwalk until below the final crack in the wall, which is about 2m right of where the footledge ends. Climb the crack which is fingery to start and finish.

The Sheepwalk. MS.
G. Moss, H. Herzman 10/8/2005
Traverse the footledge to where it ends. Climb the corner, move up onto the arete, make a step across and climb the headwall via the short crack.

Trá Ruaim

About 4km southwest of Kilcrohane there is a road junction at a two storey house (The Black Gate). Just beyond this junction there is a road on the left, signposted Trá Ruaim . Drive down this narrow lane until it ends at Trá Ruiam pier. Cross the stream, go through the gate and strike up along the inside of the fence on the right, following it to where it ends, at a large boulder. Five minutes, at most, from the pier. Scramble down towards the sea and contour around to the east on ledges just above the high water mark to a ramp below the Grey Wall. The first routes start from this ramp, which contains a narrow, cone-shaped pool about 4m long.

Grey Wall.

3 climbs have been added since the sketch below was created (1a, 1b, !c).

1a. Wooly Minded. Diff. G.Moss. C. McGovern. 10/7/22

Start just R of the cone shaped pool, below a L facing corner. Climb the corner and the pocketed wall above.

1b. Cathy. Diff. C. McG. G. M. 10/7/22

Start 3m R of Wooly Minded, below a white patch and corner on the wall above. Climb the corner and the pocketed wall above, pull and finish up over the small overhang on good holds.

The next climb tackles the left-facing corner that starts halfway up the grey slab and just left of the overhang. The climb culminates in an open-book corner with a good crack

Sheeps head 2.png

Ursula's Bisket. S
H. Herzman G. Moss L. Convery 8/6/2005
Start on the ramp, R of Cathy and below the slanting left-facing corner and just left of the overhang at half height.. Climb the groove and the open-book corner above.

1c Wool Gathering. V. Diff. G.M. C. McG. 10/7/22. Start below the ramp and R of Ursula's Bisket. Move up and climb the edge just R of the corner to a ledge below a small overhang. Take the overhang direct and finish on good holds.

Sheep May Safely Graze. HVS 5a
G. Moss H. Herzman L. Convery 8/6/2005
Start about 3m right of Ursula's Bisket and just right of the overhang, directly beneath a thin crack running up the lower two-thirds of the grey face. Climb to a small ledge and make fingery moves up the crack to better holds. Step right and finish direct. Low in the grade, small wires useful.


Sheep May Safely Graze HVS 5a

A = The Obvious Flake S. B = Ursula's Bisket S.

The Obvious Flake. S.
L. Convery H. Herzman G. Moss 7/6/2005
Start from a ledge at the bottom of a left-facing corner 2m to the right of Sheep May Safely Graze There is a prominent left-facing flake at the top of the corner. Climb the corner to the flake, up over this and continue more easily to the top.

Black Wall.

The Black Cleft. S
G. Moss H. Herzman L. Convery 7/6/2005
Start just right of The Obvious Flake. Move across right into the cleft and climb it direct.

The Black Sheep. VS 4c
G. Moss H. Herzman L. Convery 8/6/2005
Start from the wide platform to the right of The Black Cleft, below an undercut, fist-wide crack. Climb the crack to a sloping ledge. Climb the thin crack sloping up right and step around right to finish.

Tortoise Full o' Rigor Mortis HVS 5a
Duggan, R. Julienne, H. 08/2010
Climbs the thin finger crack to the left of The Black Sheep. Climb this to a ledge, and fix protection below small roof above. Climb the roof direct, topping out on good holds.

Barnacle Bay S
J. Reville, J. Byrne, G. Moss 16/07/2011
Start 2m R of The Black Sheep, below a sloping ledge. Difficult move gain the ledge. Continue straight up on good holds, finishing just R of the Black Sheep.

Purple Lamb VS 4c
J Bergin, L Storey May 2012. Start one meter right of Barnacle Bay, below a horizontal ledge. Mantleshelf with difficulty to gain this and continue straight to top of cliff on good but small holds - good protection.

The Black Arete. VD
L. Convery H. Herzman G. Moss 8/6/2005
Start from the wide platform, several m. right of The Black Sheep, at the foot of the arete sloping up left. Climb the arete.


The Black Arete VD

A = The Black Sheep VS 4c.

Morning Wall.

Walkover. D
H. Herzman G. Moss 8/6/2005.
Start around the corner from The Black Arete 4m left of the square cut chimney, at the foot of a right-facing corner. Climb the corner.



Morning Sun S.
J. Reville, J. Byrne, G. Moss, 16/07/2011. This climb takes the square-cut chimney and continues direct to the top.

Dark Corner S.
G. Moss, J. Byrne, J. Reville 16/07/2011. Start at the foot of the black, L-facing corner 3m R of Morning Sun. Climb the corner, move L to a ledge and continue straight up.


Morning Drink V.Diff.
J. Byrne, J. Reville 16/07/2011
Start almost 2m R of Dark Corner, below a short shallow crack. Move up over ledges to trend R over pock-marked rock.


An outcrop near the southwest point of the Head, situated roughly halfway between some old stone-walled enclosures along the top of the sea-cliffs and the Sheep's Head Way.

Park at the Turning Table Café, where the road ends. Follow the Sheep's Head Way south for about two hundred meters and then drop down left, heading roughly southwest, aiming for the southern end of some old fields down below. The crags are about 50 meters above the fields.

Square-faced Buttress

A small attractive buttress 50m left or West of Mizen View


Reville’s Edge 12m VS

Barry Watts, Gerry Galligan, 29/6/2018

Climb the wall just right of the left arete.

Specks in Space 12m HVS

Gerry Galligan, Barry Watts, 29/6/2018

Climb the cracks 2m to the right of the crack in the centre of the wall. Delicate, technical moves in the upper half.

and this one is above the remains of a stone wall that runs up from the southern end of the last field. The crag, which is split in two, stacked one behind the other, is distinguished by the numerous white quartzite streaks.

Mizzen View. HVS 5a
G. Moss H. Herzman 9/8/2005
Start from a boulder below the narrow, tapering left face of the lower crag. Awkward holds lead to the overhang, step left and back right and move up to belay on the arete.

Anniversary. HS 4b
H. Herzman G. Moss 9/8/2005
Start a little right of Mizzen View, at the left-hand end of a quartzy crack slanting up right. across the face. Climb the crack and, when it fades, finish up steeply to gain the arete. Move right, step across and climb the right-hand edge of the back wall.

Thin Crack VS 4c
G. Moss H. Herzman 9/8/2005
Start below the thin vertical crack near the right-hand end of the face. Climb the crack over two overhanging sections and continue steeply to the arete. Move a little left., step across and climb the back wall.


On the North coast there are a series of 3 headlands pointing SW into Bantry Bay below Gortavallig. Park at the slipway at Bunowen Grid Ref 761 368 and follow the Sheep’s Head Way NE wards to the headlands. The following routes were climbed on a south facing wall on a small headland between the first and second headland. The walk-in takes about 10 mins.


Bantry Boogie 10m VD

Barry Watts, Barney Crampton, Gerry Galligan, 30/6/2018

The left edge of the slab using pock marks and flakes to a ledge, finish up rightwards.

Mr Whippy 10m VD

Barry Watts, Barney Crampton, Gerry Galligan, 30/6/2018

Crackline 4m right of Bantry Boogie.

Hot Squelchy Tarmac 10m VD

Barry Watts, Gerry Galligan, 30/6/2018

Climb the ramp and wall 1m right of Mr Whippy.

Wild Atlantic Ways 10m VD

Gerry Galligan, Barry Watts, Barney Crampton, 30/6/2018

Climb the right facing corner right of squelchy tarmac to a ledge, the upper corner is over hanging and committing, escape left over flakes on the wall.