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.
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'
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'
The Battle of Kinsale, fought in 1601 between a combined Spanish, an Irish force and English armies, was a turning point in Irish history.
3. Castletownshend "Met me under the tree"
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.
Somerville and Ross
4. Baltimore "Gateway to Sherkin Island"
Baltimore 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 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"
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'
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"
The 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.
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
The 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. 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.