Best places to visit


Click here for a Google map of you're route Map of West CorkFor those visitors of a less energetic disposition the rebel county provides the world famous Blarney Castle, allegedly the source of the Irish ability to charm in conversation.blarney
Cobh is also well worth a visit. A thriving sea town with a history to match Cobh was the main point of exit for Irish man and women throughout the famine period and beyond. More Irish people fled the country through Cobh than any other place in the island and a visit to the Cobh Heritage Center brings this home in a powerful manner. With the history of the county, hinted at in its well-earned nickname of the Rebel County it's hardly surprising that a great many castles and manor houses dot the countryside, each with its own story to tell Ireland's tragic history.



1. Crookhaven 'First in Telegraph'

Co Cork, Crookhaven, Barley Cove
Crookhaven harbor is as picturesque as it was useful being a large sheltered harbor. You pass the old Road stone Quarry on the side of the mountain, which provided metaling for the roads of Wales until 1945. There are numerous Bronze Age field monuments in the hills around Crookhaven. The Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map 88 will indicate their whereabouts for you. The village of Crookhaven has a distinguished history as the last port of call for ships going to and from America. Over the centuries ships stocked up with provisions here before tackling the Atlantic Ocean. All the shipping lines had agents here to tell the ships in which port their cargo had been sold. At the beginning of the 20th. Century it was said that you could cross the harbor on the decks of boats. 700 people lived and worked in the village against the 29 permanent residents today. Marconi came here to try to get his first radio message across the Atlantic and he fitted the first telegraphic equipment to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse to communicate with the passing ships

2. Kinsale 'A Gourmet Capital'

kinsaleThe Battle of Kinsale, fought in 1601 between a combined Spanish, an Irish force and English armies, was a turning point in Irish history.
The harbor is guarded by two very fine star-shaped fortresses built in the 17th century: Charles fortis well worth a visit (guided tours). See also the old Courthouse, now a museum; St Multose Church, built in the 13th century and still in use, and 'French Prison', the 16th century Desmond Castle. There is a signposted tourist trail to this fascinating town with a guide booklet. Take a trip too to the Old Head of Kinsale for magnificent cliff scenery. It was off here that the Lusitania was sunk in 1915 with a loss of over 1,500 lives.

3. Castletownshend "Met me under the tree"

The attractive village of Castletownshend is situated on the coast about 8km from Skibbereen. The village developed around the castle, which was built in the mid 1600s by the Townshends and is the seat of the family. The steeply inclined main street runs down to the castle, the quayside and the harbor.

The village sits on the north side of Castlehaven Harbor in the parish of Castlehaven, which owes its name to the castle that protects the haven. Anciently it was called Glanbarrahane, named from a deep rocky glen dedicated to St. Barrahane, a local 5th century hermit saint.

A unique feature of Castletownshend is the two sycamore trees growing in the roundabout in the center of the village. The present sycamores replace two trees planted in the 1800s. Also to be visited Egon Ronay pub and restaurant - Mary Anne's.

Village Church
Saint Barrahane's Church (church of Ireland) stands on a hill overlooking the village close to the castle. It contains beautiful stained glass windows and many historic relics and memorials to the families of the village. Of particular note are three large stone tablets, which tell the history of the founding families, many of whose members are buried in the graveyard attached to the church.

Somerville and Ross
Somerville and Ross were the pseudonyms of cousins Dr. Edith Somerville (1858-1949) and Violet Florence Martin, pen name Martin Ross (1862-1915), who wrote a series of humorous novels and short stories. Most of their books were set in a background of West Cork at the turn of the century and told of the experiences of an Irish Resident Magistrate. Their best know writings were first published in 1928 under the title The Irish R.M. Complete and later Experiences of an Irish R.M. The Irish R.M. and The Real Charlotte were serialised for television in the 1980's. During their life together the cousins resided at Drishane House on the outskirts of Castletownshend village. Violet Martin died in 1915 from the effects of a riding accident some years earlier. Edith Somerville continued to live at Drishane between her travels abroad until her death in 1949 at an advanced age. Somerville and Ross are buried in the graveyard at the rear of St. Barrahane's Church, marked by two simple headstones. In the church is the organ Dr. Somerville played for many decades.

4. Baltimore "Gateway to Sherkin Island"

baltimorevillageBaltimore is a small but busy and lively port and popular sailing centre, south of Skibbereen and facing onto Roaringwater Bay and Carbery's Hundred Isles. Regular ferries operate from here to Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands.

The ruined castle which overlooks the harbour was a holding of the O'Driscolls, who were one of the most important clans in West Cork. They controlled the fishing of the area and could levy dues on all the fishing fleets who came to these rich fishing grounds.
Baltimore West Cork Ireland
An extraordinary event in the history of the town was a raid in 1631 by Algerian pirates, when many of the inhabitants were slaughtered and about 200 others shipped off as slaves to North Africa.

Baltimore has a reputation for fine boat building. The Saoirse, in which Conor O'Brien sailed around the world in 1923, was Baltimore-built, there is a sailing school center in the village.


5. Schull "A Planetarium town"

Co Cork, Schull Village irelandA small but very attractive and lively town nestling between the foothills of Mount Gabriel and Schull Harbour. It is one of the most popular resorts of West Cork, especially to visiting yachtsmen.

It is a good place to search out your ceramic sculpture or batik wall hanging. And you'll eat well in this corner of Ireland!

Here you will be most welcome to visit the Planetarium (the only one in the Republic of Ireland) where Star Shows are given during the visitor season.

Mount Gabriel rises above the village. The two large white globes on the summit, like giant golf balls teed up for some celestial golfer, are for aircraft tracking. On its slopes can be found the audits where Bronze Age miners worked the copper deposits.

6. Mizen head 'Ireland's most southerly point'

Mizen Head Signal Station is open to the public for the first time since it was completed in 1910. The Mizen Vision! Visitor Center in the Keeper's House and the Engine Room, the famous Suspension Bridge, the 99 Steps and the views up the South and West Coasts combined with the exhilaration and excitement of the wild Atlantic waves and ancient tortured rocks guarantee a unique and authentic experience.

In any weather the Magic of the Mizen is spellbinding. 206.jpg (7485 bytes)Mizen Vision the Mizen Head Signal Station Visitor centre has been open since June 1st, 1994. In April 1993 the fog signal station was demanned and went automatic. A local co-operative, Mizen Tourism, was formed to develop the location into a visitor center to create rural employment. In July 1993 a lease was signed with the Irish Lights and the exciting Mizen Vision! became a reality.

There are spectacular views on the Bridge 207.jpg (7086 bytes)and at the end of the peninsula and the houses have been equipped with an audio-visual room, a map and archive room; the Keeper's kitchen and bedroom have been retained and there is a bird and sea watch room. Imagination takes over in the Mizen environment cave, the Fastnet Room, the Underwater Room and the Storm Room.

7.Allihies "A Copper Town'


Near the tip of the Beara Peninsula. This was the centre of a rich copper-minning district. Cornish workers were brought over in the 19th Century as technical experts and some remains of their 'Cornish Village' can still be seen. Around the workings you can pick up nice rocks glittering with pyrites - 'fool's gold' - but please be extremely careful if exploring here as there are dangerous unguarded mineshafts and other hazards

The drive from here along the north coast of the peninsula to Eyeries and Ardgroom following the signposted 'Ring of Beara Drive' offers superb views of the coast and mountains of Iveragh, the peninsula across Kenmare Bay which contains the 'Ring of Kerry' tourist route


9. Glandore " A Stone circle town"

glandoresThe village of Glandore has a place in the hearts of visitors and local people alike. Although little more than one street, the village is acclaimed as one of the prettiest in Ireland. It overlooks Glandore Harbor and as a result is a favorite amongst the boating and sailing fraternity in summer. Its position in the path of the Gulf Stream ensures a mild climate all year round. Consequently its flora is diverse and of great interest. Due to the location, plants can be found in bloom here even if they are out of season elsewhere.

Glandore, or the 'Harbor of the Oaks', was one of the earliest settlements in West Cork. The Normans arrived and built two castles in 1215. They were later taken over by the O'Donovan and have been inhabited continuously up to the present day.

9. Clonakilty "a musical town"

Michael Collins, who was leader of the IRA and later the Free State movement, which campaigned for independence from Britain 1920-21 period, lived in Clonakilty. He is widely regarded as one of Ireland's leading historical figures. He was killed by republicans during the Civil War. He gave many an oration from O'Donovan's Hotel on the Main Street of Clonakilty

Clonakilty's position as a centre of music, both traditional and contemporary, has helped this small town to become a thriving melting pot of musicians. Clonakilty's bars host live music nights throughout the year and it is possible to find quality live music on most nights. Many famous musicians have found a welcome and a home here, and have contributed much to the energy and vibrancy of this small town. The late Noel Redding made Clonakilty his home and was always regarded as an adopted son. Roy Harper, singer-songwriter, is another of those famous people who finds a home here amongst some great local and national stars such as Christy Moore, Bill Shanley, Pete Best, Pat Horgan and bands such as Chucklehead, The Legendary Acoustic Blues Club, Anto, The Smokin' Blues Band, John Cullinane, Gavin Moore, and De Barras. Monday Night Trad Sessions, O'Donovans Tuesday Trad and Shanley's Famous Music Bar a mainstay of Clonakilty's love affair with music. De Barras Folk Club is the most famous pub in the town. Famous acts like folk legend Christy Moore play here regularly.
Clonakilty is also known for its world famous black pudding, which is fried or grilled pig's offal in intestines.There is a butcher's shop (Twomey's) in Pearse Street which many tourists are fooled into believing is the place where the puddings are actually made. However, the truth about Clonakilty Puddings is that they have not been produced in Clonakilty for some years. The real source of the puddings being a factory located somewhere in Cork City. "Irish Yogurts" is a well-known brand produced in the town from local milk.

 10. Cork "A City Built on Seven Hills"


The city's name is derived from the Irish word corcach, meaning "marshy place", referring to its situation on the River Lee. Cork has a reputation for rebelliousness dating back to the town's support of the English pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1491 following the Wars of the Roses. Cork County has the nickname of "the Rebel County", and Corkonians often refer to Cork as the "real capital of Ireland". The River Lee flows through the city, an island in the river forming the main part of the city centre just before the Lee flows into Lough Mahon and thence to Cork Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbours. The city is a major Irish seaport — with quays and docks sited along the broad waterway of the Lee on the city's East side, while Cork plays host to the World's second largest natural harbor, after Sydney, Australia.

Cork was originally a monastic settlement founded by St. Finbarr in the sixth century. Its city charter was granted by King John in 1185. The title of Mayor of Cork was established by royal charter in 1318, and the title was changed to Lord Mayor in 1900. Over the centuries, much of the city was destroyed and rebuilt after attacks by Vikings or Norsemen. It has been proposed that, like Dublin, Cork was an important trading center in the global Scandinavian trade network. The city was once fully walled, and several wall sections and gates remain today.

In the War of Independence, the center of Cork was gutted by fires started by the Black and Tans, and the city saw fierce fighting between Irish guerrillas and British forces. During the Irish Civil War, Cork was for a time held by anti-Treaty forces, until it was retaken by the pro-Treaty National Army in an attack from the sea.


The Fastnet Rock, the teardrop of Ireland!

Characteristics of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse
51º 23.3’ North 9º 36.1’West
Fl W 5s White Flash every 5 seconds, also exhibited by day when the fog signal is sounding: nominal range 27 nautical miles.
Radar Beacon
Morse ‘G’ on vessel’s radar display.
Fog Signal
4 blasts every 60 seconds
Height of Tower
54 metres
Height of Light above mean high water springs
49 metres

Three-ImmigrantsThe Fastnet Rock (Irish: An Charraig Aonair, meaning "Solitary Rock or Lone Rock") is a small clay-slate island with quartz veins and the most southerly point of Ireland, 6.5 km southwest of Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire) in County Cork, which is itself 13 km (8 miles) from the mainland. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean 11.3 km south of mainland County Cork, at latitude 51.37°N.[1] It rises to about 30 m above low water mark. Study of the documentary record suggests that the English name is derived from Old Norse Hvastann-ey meaning 'sharp tooth island'.

Divided into Fastnet Rock proper and the much smaller Little Fastnet to the south by a 10 m (30 ft) wide channel, it also had the nickname 'Ireland's Teardrop' as it was the last part of the country seen by Irish emigrants to the United States in the 19th century as they sailed past it.


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