Click on an area of the map or chose from below:
- Cape Clear Island
- Lough Hyne
- Sherkin Island
Known as the “capital of West Cork”, Skibbereen is a thriving market town, filled with shops, restaurants and pubs. The West Cork Arts Centre is based here, along with many social organisations and educational institutions. The Skibbereen Heritage Centre includes The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition and The Lough Hyne Interpretive Centre.
The busy port of Baltimore is home to festivals throughout the year celebrating local history, seafood & produce, music, water sports and port life. There are several water sport activity centres. The town is a gourmet’s paradise with several acclaimed restaurants.
Sherkin Island, a ten minute ferry ride from Baltimore, is home to a 15th Century Franciscan Friary, and one of the ruined O’Driscoll Castles, Dun-na-Long. Visitors also come to the island for its sandy beaches and crafts shops.
Cape Clear Island, is Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island with megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year-old passage grave, a 12th century church ruin, and a 14th century O’Driscoll castle cannonaded in the early 1600′s suggest times past. The island is known for its Bird Observatory and is a good spot for watching out for whales, dolphins, leatherback turtles, sun fish and shark. The island holds an Annual Storytelling Festival, but unofficial sessions break out regularly in the local pubs. Cape Clear is part of the Gaeltacht, one of several areas in Ireland where Irish is the official language, though these days everyone speaks both Irish and English.
A salt water lake, Lough Hyne (or Ine) contains rare sea life and is Ireland’s only Marine Wildlife Reserve. The nearby woods are popular amongst walkers for the spectacular view from the top of Knockomagh Hill.
Castletownshend – The Townshend family still inhabit the castle that this town has grown around. The historic St. Baharrane’s Church, which boasts two Harry Clark stained glass windows, holds a series of classical music concerts each summer. The town’s most famous daughter, Edith Somerville (1858-1949), and her cousin Violet Martin collaborated on numerous novels and short stories which were published under the names “Somerville and Ross,” including “The Real Charlotte” and “Some Experiences of an Irish R.M.” Visits to her home and gardens can be arranged by appointment.
Ballydehob is a small town with a wealth of interesting shops and restaurants. The Gurtnagrough Folk Museum tells of the area’s history with some items dating back to the 1700′s.
Schull, is a busy port town on the Mizen Peninsula. Mizen Head is the southernmost point on mainland Ireland. The lighthouse has been transformed into the Mizen Vision Visitor Centre with information on the history of the lighthouse and the area in general. There are many archaelogical ruins, from the Neolithic through the Bronze ages. There are ruins of two medieval castles, O’Mahony and O’Driscoll, the dominant clans of the period. Amongst the activites in the area are Sult Scoil Mhuire, a newly formed street theatre group, and Schull Ceili Group. The only planetarium in the Republic of Ireland is located here.
In nearby Bantry, West Cork Music (www.westcorkmusic.ie) hosts the famous West Cork Chamber Music Festival, as well as other festivals and concerts throughout the year. Bantry House & Gardens is a popular tourist attraction and also contains the 1796 Bantry French Armada Exhibition Centre.
Rosscarbery is best known for the steeple of its grand cathedral overlooking the swan filled lagoon. The town grew up around a monastery which was established by St. Fachtna in the latter half of the 6th century. Rosscarbery is home to several festivals throughout the year – from the Family Festival to the Horse Fair. There is a very active Historical Society based here.