Cork Attractions & Activities

Historic Houses and Castles

Fota House and Gardens
Fota House is a fine example of Regency architecture with magnificent neoclassical interiors. Fota is surrounded by a world renowned arboretum and superb gardens. The house re-opened to the public in April 2009 after a major restoration project undertaken by the Irish Heritage Trust. Guided tours are now available on a regular basis, where visitors can enjoy these wonderful interiors and a fine collection of art and furniture. A café is also open at Fota and family events take place throughout the season as well as evening concerts and seminars. Fota House is also available for weddings, conferences and private dining.

Charles Fort
This star-shaped military fortress was constructed between 1677 and 1682, during the reign of King Charles II, to protect the town and harbour of Kinsale in County Cork. William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham Dublin, and Superintendent of Fortifications, is credited with designing the fort.

As one of the largest military forts in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. These include the Williamite War in 1690 and the Irish Civil War of 1922 – 23. Charles Fort remained garrisoned by the British army until 1922.

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Dún na Séad Castle
Dún na Séad Castle was built in 1215 by an Anglo Norman, Sleynie. It become the chief residence of the O’Driscoll clan for 300 years and was the centre of administration for their trading and piratical activities. In 1631 the castle narrowly escaped attack by a band of Algerian pirates, who landed in Baltimore and took 107 captives to a life of slavery in North Africa. In 1649 it became a garrison for Cromwellian troops, after which it declined into a state of ruin.

In 1997 the extensive task of renovation began which restored the castle to its former splendour. A visit will include a stroll through the Great Hall on the first floor, which contains furnishings, tapestries and historical descriptions of the 800 year history. View archaeological details and finds and climb to the battlements to view Baltimore Harbour & the Islands.

Annes Grove Miniature Castle
Situated in picturesque surroundings in County Cork, this medieval miniature castle at Annes Grove was designed by Benjamin Woodward of the distinguished firm of architects, Dean and Woodward, in 1853. Designed to impress, it is in a romantic Gothic style, the building being a medieval castle in miniature. Since Woodward designed only two gate lodges of this type it is of some architectural importance. It is situated at the junction of three small quiet country roads and surrounded by mature landscape and has not been lived in since the 1940s.

James Fort Kinsale
Located opposite Charles Fort, it has a commanding position guarding the small harbour of Kinsale. This fort was built in 1607 and was captured in 1690 by Williamite forces. The fort remains a most interesting example of 17th century military architecture and offers wonderful views of the town, river, harbour and Charles Fort.

Bantry House and Garden
Bantry House and Garden is a stately home owned and lived in by Egerton Shelswell–White and their family, descendents of the Earls of Bantry. Bantry House sits on an elevated position overlooking Bantry Bay, five minutes walk from the bustling market town of Bantry. The house offers self guided tours of the three floors, including drawing rooms, with tapestries from Versailles, the dining room and library. It has a collection of art treasures which were mainly collected by the second earl, Richard White, in the 1800’s. He created the gardens in the 1850’s and the gardens today have been restored to their former glory. Since 1946 the house containing its important collection of furniture, tapestries and objets d’art has been open to the public.

Macroom Castle
Macroom is dominated by castle walls and grounds with old stone arches and guns providing an elegant centre for the town. It is thought that the castle was built in the reign of King John, on the site of an earlier stronghold. Its story reflects the trials and tribulations of Irish society over the centuries, passing from the hands of the Carew Clan to the McCarthys, when they became overlords in the region. In 1650 Bishop Boetius McEgan failed to hold it on behalf of the McCarthys against Cromwellian forces, and McEgan was taken prisoner and hanged at Carrigadrohid. The castle was given, as a reward, to William Penn (whose son founded the state of Pennsylvania) who lived there for some time, and then sold it to the Hollow Sword Blade Company.

Desmond Castle / Wine Museum
Desmond Castle was built by Maurice Bacach Fitzgerald, the 9th Earl of Desmond, c.1500. A good example of an urban tower house, the castle consisits of a keep with storehouses to the rear and domestic offices on the first and second floors.

Originally built as a Custom House, Desmond Castle has also served as an ordnance store, prison and workhouse. It was occupied by the Spanish in 1601 during the Battle of Kinsale. In the succession of European wars in the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle was used as a place of confinement for French and Spanish prisoners of war. During the Great Irish Famine, (1845-1850) Desmond Castle was used as a workhouse for up to 200 people. It was declared a National Monument in 1938.

Since 1997, Desmond Castle has housed the International Museum of Wine. This exhibition documents the fascinating story of Ireland’s wine links with Europe and the wider world.

Barryscourt Castle
This castle was the 16th century seat of the Barry family. The present castle, wtih its largely intact bawn wall and corner towers, is a fine example of an Irish tower house. Extensively restored and reinstated with fittings and furnishings, both the Main Hall and the Great Hall are now open to the public. The ground floor houses an exhibition entitled “”The Arts in Ireland from the Invasion to the Plantation 1100-1600″”. The Orchard has been restored to an original 16th century design. In the castle courtyard, within the bawn, a 16th century herb garden has been reinstated.

Access to the Castle is via steps. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Conna Castle
Conna Castle is very dramatically situated on a rock overlooking the River Bride. The tower was built around 1500 by one of the earls of Desmond. Only one ceiling is retained while there are also some scant remains of the bawn. The Castle was the scene of fighting with the Earl of Essex in 1599. In 1645 it was captured by Lord Castlehaven and was assaulted but not taken by Cromwell in 1650. Conna Castle was burned in 1653, killing three daughters of the occupant and afterwards passed to the Duke of Devonshire’s family.

Carrigaphooca Castle
Situated on the outcrop of rock called The Friary Rock, this is a 16th century tower of 4 storeys below a vaulted roof and turrets on opposing corners at the top. There is also a stone circle two fields to the east of the castle.

Kanturk Castle
The Castle was built for MacDonogh MacCarthy, Lord of Duhallow. The Castle was probably started at the end of the sixteenth century. Kanturk Castle combines a number of different architectural styles, making it difficult to pinpoint a specific date for its construction. However, it was normal for a major work such as this to span several years, and the date of completion/suspension of work was probably close to 1618.

Mallow Castle
Mallow Castle, probably built by Sir Thomas Norreys, is a long rectangular building with polygonal turrets at the corners of the north wall. Wings project from the centre of the north and south walls, the northern one containing the entrance with a finely moulded doorway. The castle was besieged by Mountgarrett in 1642 and in 1645 Lord Castlehaven took the Castle which was abandoned some time after.

Blarney Castle and Rock Close
This historic castle is most famous for its stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it. The word blarney was introduced into the English language by Queen Elizabeth I and is described as pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending. The stone is set in the wall below the battlements and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards, (grasping an iron railing) from the parapet walk.

Blarney Castle has long been famous because of the Blarney Stone but the less-known Rock Close and castle grounds are well worth a visit in their own right. The Rock Close is a mystical place where majestic yew and oak trees grow around an ancient druidic settlement. Follow the trail through giant gunnera leaves and bamboo and you will find such features as a dolmen, wishing steps and a witch’s kitchen. A water garden with waterfalls is presently being constructed which will add the soothing sound of water to the visitor’s experience. Below the castle are mysterious caves and an arboretum filled with rare tree.

There are pleasant walks along the riverbanks where you can sit and contemplate the reflections of the castle. In Spring the castle grounds are filled with thousands of bulbs while the autumn leaves glow in glorious shades of red, amber and gold.

Belvelly Castle
Belvelly Castle is a typical medieval square tower dating from the fifteenth century, located in magnificent natural scenery. It stands on a very narrow piece of land, bounded by Belvelly bridge road on one side and the shore on the other. Described as “in ruins” since the middle of the nineteenth century, it can still be considered as in a reasonably good state of preservation for such an ancient building.

Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle was originally built on the River Lee in 1582 by the Cork citizens as a fort to protect the city against pirates and invaders.

Such defence measures were necessary as Cork was a city of trade and merchant ships required a safe harbour.

The watch tower re-opened to the public in August 2007 in its new guise as Blackrock Castle Observatory.

“”Cosmos at the Castle”” is an international, award-winning, interactive astronomy exhibit. Four cinema-sized screens explain about astronomical features such as the Big Bang, the evolution of life on Earth and pose the question “”Are we alone in the Universe?’.

The Observatory offers daily ‘behind the scenes’ theatrical tours for Cosmos visitors. Lady Castle, a 16th century time travellers, leads visitors on twice-daily historical tours, from the dungeon up to the 85 steps to the watch tower.

Visitors can also tackle The Comet Chaser game and try to save the planet from a comet on a collision course with Earth.

Blackrock Castle Observatory also houses a team of scientists working on the latest technology in their search for planets around distant stars.

Blackwater Castle
Blackwater Castle, a 12th Century castle located in the south of the Ballyhoura region and the heart of the Blackwater Valley, in the award winning village of Castletownroche.

The history of Blackwater Castle extends back to the 8th and 9th Centuries and the ancient fuses beautifully with the modern in this exquisitely renovated castle. The castle is located on a protected nature reserve of over 50 acres of woodland. Members of the public are welcome to fish in the private river and avail of the extensive sporting opportunities in the nearby Ballyhoura region or browse through the walled garden.

Overnight guests can sample the organic fruit in the walled garden, browse through the library or simply relax in the lounge or tearoom. Tours are available on a daily basis, however by appointment only.

Waterloo Round Tower
The Round Tower at Waterloo, just outside Blarney, is a curious folly built in the mid 19th Century by Father Matt Horgan, then parish priest of Blarney.

Museums and Attractions

The Jameson Experience Midleton
If you are touring through County Cork, be sure to stop off in Midleton for a walk through this beautifully restored industrial distillery.

Unique within Ireland and Britain, you can see the fully operational water wheel, large grain stores, mill buildings and the largest pot still in the world.

Then experience the famous tutored Irish whiskey tasting in the Jameson Bar (minerals available for children). After a complimentary glass of Jameson, you can visit the extensive gift shop, or have lunch in the Malt House Restaurant.

There are also horse drawn carriage tours of Midelton available which takes approximately 45 minutes. For an real old world experience why not get collected from the train station by horse drawn carriage which can take you to the Midleton Distillery(ring to arrange this in advance).

Michael Collins Centre
The Michael Collins Centre, in Clonakilty County Cork, explores the life and times of the famous leader with a 15 minute video and a guided tour of an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia. The tour includes a walk through a life size replica of an ambush site with Crossley Tender and a Rolls Royce armoured car.

Private Michael Collins tours to his birth place at Woodfield and Béal na mBláth and his place of death are available by appointment.

The Heritage Park interprets the history and folklore of West Cork through a Heritage Centre theatre and life size replicas of historical monuments found in the landscape.

Special presentations can be organised for groups which include storytelling and baking on the open fire.

Call of the Sea
The Call of the Sea Centre tells the story of copper mining in the area, the naval history of Bantry Bay and the development of the fishing industry. Lighthouses and other signal towers also get attention as do smuggling activities and the Vikings.

The centre is located in Castletownbere, County Cork

Schull Planetarium
Schull Planetarium, part of the local Community College, is the only Planetarium in the Republic of Ireland and provides a unique educational resource.

Sitting under the hemispherical dome in a darkened auditorium, spectators can see an amazingly realistic and accurate reproduction of the star studded night sky. The audience sees the heavens portrayed with such realism they feel they are sitting out of doors on the clearest of nights.

On the Planetarium’s eight metre dome, the Carl Zeiss single sphere sky projector shows an accurate representation of the night sky from anywhere in the northern hemisphere.

Star shows are 45 minutes long and are thus unsuitable for the majority of children under the age of seven. During star shows the rest of the building is closed to the public.

Located in the seaside village of Schull in West Cork, the 70 seat Planetarium has a beautiful situation beside the harbour and in the shadow of Mount Gabriel.

Prince August Toy Soldier Factory & Visitor Centre
Prince August Toy Soldier Factory is one of Ireland’s best hidden secrets situated between Killarney town and Cork City on the N22 main road, only a short distance from Macroom Town.

A trip to the Visitor Centre is both an educational and fun experience for all the family. The Factory produces hundreds of different black vulcanised rubber moulds that allow you, the customer, to cast your own model soldiers, chess sets and other figures and animals in metal as many times as you wish.

Thousands of tourists every year visit the Toy Soldier Factory and experience firsthand how to cast a miniature. You can also take part in a friendly tour of the factory.

The gift shop is filled with hand painted soldiers and themed chess sets from many time periods in history as well as fantasy creatures, even jolly little leprechauns. The Visitor Centre also has an impressive collection of gorgeous jewellery, statues, pewter, silver, pottery, glass and leather giftware from many local Irish artists.

Drombeg Stone Circle
The Drombeg Stone Circle, or as it is locally known as the Druid’s Altar, is located on the edge of a rocky terrace overlooking the sea about a kilometre away, in Glandore County Cork.

This is a circle of 17 standing stones which on excavation showed that there had been an urn burial in the centre. It has been dated to between 153 BC and 127AD. Excavations in 1957 and 1958 revealed cremated bones in a deliberately broken pot wrapped with thick cloth and buried near the centre of the circle along with 80 other smashed sherds, four bits of a shale and a collection of sweepings from a pyre.

To the west of the stones is a hut site with fulacht-fia cooking place. This prehistoric kitchen had a flagged trough in which water was boiled by dropping red-hot stones into it. Recent tests confirmed that using this method, 70 or more gallons of water could be boiled for almost three hours.

The midpoint of one of the stones at Drombeg was set in line with the winter solstice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills; the alignment is good but not perfectly precise.

Cork Butter Museum
The Cork Butter Museum describes the culture of dairying in ancient Ireland and the growth of the Cork Butter Exchange, at one time the biggest in the world, when tens of millions of pounds worth of butter was traded annually.

Learn about the craft of traditional butter making. This part of the museum includes a brief video presentation showing the making of butter by hand and an attractive video presentation of the development of Ireland’s most famous butter brand, Kerrygold.

New to the Museum’s collection of dairying parnaphelia including milk churns and a keg containing one thousand-year-old butter, is a display of butter bricks.

Mizen Head Visitor Centre
Mizen Head Signal Station, built to save lives off the treacherous rocks at Ireland’s most south-westerly point, five miles from Goleen, is open to the public.

In all weathers, the Mizen is spellbinding. Mizen Head Signal Station Visitor Attraction is three experiences in one exciting package. Firstly there is the dynamic visitor centre displaying: the navigational aids simulator, the Fastnet Hall, the geology of the Mizen, the Fastnet Rescue Tide Clock, the SS Irada Propellor and much more.

Secondly there is the walk to the Signal Station down the famous 99 steps, and over the Arched Bridge amid stunning scenery with the possibility of seeing seals, kittiwakes, gannets and choughs. One of the best places in the world to see Minke, Fin and Humpback Whales and Dolphins.

Lastly there is the Keepers’ Quarters in the former Irish Lights Signal Station. Here you can view the engine room with the Marconi Radio Room and the Workman’s Quarters with the Mizen Map Collection, CIL Boats displays and much more.

Ahakista Air India Plane Disaster Memorial
A memorial garden and sundial that honour the memory of the victims of the 1985 Air India disaster can be found in Ahakista in County Cork.

Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal–London–Delhi route. On the 23 June 1985 the airplane operating on the route, a Boeing 747-237B, was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 9,400m and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.

A total of 329 people were killed, including 280 Canadians, 27 British citizens and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history.

The sundial was sculpted by Cork sculptor Ken Thompson and was donated by the people of Canada, India and Ireland.

Lusitania Monument and Graveyard
The sinking of the the Cunard Liner the Lusitania on May 7th 1915 resulted in the deaths of 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. It was torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale County Cork, by the Germans during World War I.

Many of the victims were brought to Cobh and many are interred in the Old Church Graveyard near Cobh town. The monument, which is in Casement Square in the town centre, designed by Jerome O’Connor commemorates those who died in the tragedy. It depicts two fisherman who went to the rescue of the ill fated liner. Over them is the Angel of Peace.

The event turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the American entry into World War I and became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns of why the war was being fought.

West Cork Model Railway Village
Take a trip to the Model Railway Village for a fun and memorable day out on your visit to Clonakilty and West Cork.

Walking into the model village you step back in time and see life as it was in the 1940’s. See the old West Cork railway line portrayed in delightful miniature serving the towns. The models and figurines are handmade at the model village to a scale of 1:24.

Depicting busy market days, this is a joyful discovery for young and old alike. Relax in our unique tea room set on one of our authentic train carriages with a view of Clonakilty bay.

Train rides are available on weekends only from October to May and daily June to September. There is also a children’s indoor play room and an outdoor play area.

Lios-na-gCon is a Ringfort in Darrara, Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland, which has been reconstructed on its original site.

Venture underground in the original Souterrain ( a tunnel for storage and defence), sit by the camp fires, rest in the thatched central round house and visit the 10th century defended farmstead.

The Ringfort is situated on a gentle slope of south-eastern aspect in a landscape of undulated pastoral farm land. On a clear day the mouth of Clonakilty Bay can be seen from the site.

Archaeological investigation of Lios-na-gCon found that the earthworks once formed a substantial defensive enclosure. The original entrance was identified as an earthen causeway in the southeast, which gave access to a gravel paved interior, dominated by a central wooden round house. Several small outhouses and animal pens stood against the stone reveffment wall of the banks inner face. Underground, the site was honeycombed by three earth cut souterrains.

Finds included iron slag and tool fragments, quernstones, a blue glass bead and crude bone stones and hammer stones.

Evidence of economic activity took the form of charred remains of the bones of cattle, sheep, pig, and red deer, as well as of wheat, rye, barley, flax, radish and hazel nut.

Henry Ford Ancestral Site
Henry Ford was the man who first made cars of a type and a price which almost everyone could afford to buy. The car of course, was the famous Model T Ford of which he sold millions.

On the main road in Ballinascarthy County Cork one can see a monument replica Model T Ford erected to honour Henry Ford’s father William, who was born in Ballinascarthy.

Less than two kilometres away is the Henry Ford Ancestral Site which is located on part of Lisselan Estate. There are a number of vintage Ford vehicles which are on display for visitors to Lisselan Estate Gardens.

John Ford was a tenant farmer in Madam Ballinascarthy, (which is now a part of Lisselan Estate) farming 30 acres of land. John’s landlord at the time was William Bence Jones of Lisselan Estate. John was married to Thomasina and had 7 children one of whom was William.

In 1847 when the Great Famine hit Ireland John Ford left with his family and headed for the United States of America. When William was thirty five years old and a successful farmer he met and married Mary Litogot. Mary lost her first child, but on the 30 July, 1863, they had a son who was called Henry.

Visitor Farms

The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary has taken in about 2,400 donkeys rescued from all parts of Ireland. Many have been abandoned or put in a field and given little or no attention after having worked for their owners for years, hauling peat or pulling a cart.

There is a strong feeling at the Donkey Sanctuary that supporters have the right to see how their money is spent on caring for the large donkey family.

Facilities include a visitor information centre with tea/coffee machine, picnic area as well as disabled access and toilet. Tours can be arranged with advance notice.

Cléire Goats
Cléire Goats has a herd of 12 milking goats plus associated males and kids. Individual visitors are welcome to meet the goats at any time of year and organised groups are also catered for.

Cheese, ice-cream and sausages made from the herd are for sale most of the year, and always during the summer. The seasonal craft shop, Harpercraft, located at North Harbour, sells a variety of products from the farm and lovely gifts.

Loughbeg Farm
Loughbeg Open Farm, vegetable garden and hill farm walk (1.5 km). Lots of farm animals and poultry, 80 raised vegetable beds, and greenhouse. Views over Cape Clear, the Fastnet Rock, Crookhaven Bay, Dunmanus Bay, Sheep’s Head, Lissacaha Lake, Rathtoora and Mount Gabriel views from around the hill farm walk.

Whiddy Island
Only a short ferry ride from Bantry Town, in West Cork, lies Whiddy Island. This Island is a haven for wildlife and a great place to spend a day wandering.

The island’s climate, like other parts of South West Cork, is influenced by the Gulf Stream creating a unique ecology and wealth of wildlife.

Beautiful red and purple fuchsia is abundant on the island throughout the summer and autumn and the common Butterwort is also found here, one of the few ‘insect eating’ plants found in Ireland.

It’s easy to spend a quiet afternoon rambling Whiddy’s fields or birdwatching at the island’s two lakes.

Dursey Island
The most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands, Dursey lies across a narrow sound and is a great getaway from the fray of modern living.

This rugged island is accessed via Ireland’s only cable car, which runs about 250m above the sea and takes six people or one large animal at a time! The journey takes about ten minutes crossing the infamous Dursey Sound where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous.

The island is part of the Beara Way walking trail and having no shops, pubs or restaurants offers the day visitor a unique experience of calm with spectacular views of the Beara peninsula. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with rare birds from Siberia and America to be spotted there.

The Signal Tower stands on the furthest west hill and has commanding views north to the Skelligs and south to the Mizen. It was built 200 years ago as a line of defence against the French.

Monks from Skellig Rock are said to have founded the ancient church of Kilmichael on Dursey, now a ruin. O’Sullivan, Beara’s Dursey castle, was sacked by English forces in 1602 and local inhabitants thrown into the sea. There are three small villages on Dursey and many of the once derelict houses have been restored by the islanders as holiday homes.

Heir Island
Heir Island, or Hare Island, is located in the spectacular Roaringwater Bay in West Cork. It is surrounded by a panorama of Sherkin Island, Cape Clear, the Calf Islands, the East and West Skeams and Mount Gabriel to the North.

Heir Island is one of the most accessible and sheltered of the Carbery’s Hundred Isles. The extensive marsh land at the centre of the island has a vibrant reed bed where you’ll find many unusual birds as well as over two hundred varieties of wild flowers.

The sheltered bays and sandy beaches are perfect for sailing, windsurfing, swimming and diving. The Island sailing school is the best way to make the most of these water sports. One can also explore the Island easily by foot or an a bicycle.

Heir Island is also home to many well known artists, who were drawn to the island because of its breathtaking landscape and peaceful atmosphere.

Food lovers travel from far and wide to get a table at the famous Island Cottage Restaurant. With no pubs, but quality B&Bs and self catering homes, Heir Island is a great place to get away from it all.

Bere Island
The community of Bere Island, in West Cork, are extremely proud of their Island. Every effort is made to promote everything the island has to offer to individuals and families, walkers, cyclists, yacht and fishing enthusiasts.

Bere Island has been voted Ireland’s tidiest Island for the past five years and the Islanders extend the warmest West Cork welcome to all their visitors.

Bere Island lies at the entrance to the spectacular Bantry Bay and guards the deep water harbour of Berehaven, in West Cork.

Due to its strategic location Bere Island has a very interesting heritage. The island is rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to Medieval times, including ring forts, standing stones, wedge tombs and burial sites. The British had a particular interest in the island, with remnants of British Imperialism visible throughout. At various stages they constructed Martello towers, a signal tower, military barracks and a military fortification which hosts two six inch guns, all of which can be seen today.

The island offers breathtaking scenery organised activities and great hospitality. Berehaven Harbour and Lawrence Cove are very safe and sheltered harbours for large and small boats and the marina has full facilities for visiting sailors.

Together with its friendly people, Bere Island’s greatest asset is its unspoiled and unpolluted environment.

Garinish Island
Garinish Island is home to a garden of rare beauty, that garden lovers from all over the world travel to see. It is located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay in West Cork.

The gardens of Ilnacullin owe their existence to the creative partnership of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer.

Access to the Island is by small ferry boats and licensed 60 seater water buses. Please note there is an admission charge to the island. There is limited access for visitors with disabilities.

Cape Clear Island – Cléire
This wildly romantic island can not help but impress those that visit. Cape Clear, or Oileán Cléire, is a Gaeltacht island 13km off the coast of West Cork. It is Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island.

Only 5km long and 2km wide Cape Clear’s remote isolation has created a unique and fiercely proud culture.

Heather, gorse and wild flowers cover the rugged hills between dry stone walls. Megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year old passage grave, a 12th Century church ruin and a 14th Century castle are testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Cape Clear’s rugged scenery, sheltered sparkling harbours, cliffs, bogs and scenic pebble beaches all contribute to the island’s unspoilt charm.

You’ll be steeped in wildlife on the island: rare migratory birds, whales, sun fish and shark are spotted from the Island every year, as well as the regular visitors, the dolphins. The plethora of flora and fauna makes for fabulous walking.

The Islanders of Cape Clear are a friendly bilingual community removed from the hustle and bustle of mainland life. Whether you come to Cape Clear to get close to nature, learn a bit of ‘an Ghaeilge’, taste some goats milk ice cream or enjoy the island’s famous hospitality: Oileán Cléire offers relaxation, nature and peace.

Sherkin Island
Across from the fishing village of Baltimore, in West Cork, is the inspiring retreat of Sherkin Island.

One of Carbery’s Hundred Isles, Sherkin is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan whose castle lies just above the pier. Nearby, you can also roam the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan abbey.

Wander along lane ways past banks of red fuschia, bright orange mombrisha and rocky fields hemmed in by dry stone walls.

Sherkin buzzes with activity during the summer months and locals are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. Come to hear great live traditional music or enjoy the activities of the Sherkin Family Regatta, a big splash in the island’s social calendar.

Sherkin’s three sandy beaches make great secluded swimming areas and walking along the shore you may see seals, otters, schools of dolphins or the porpoises which gave the island its name. A number of artists live on the island and Sherkin is unique in running a Fine Arts Degree Course.

Inishbeg Island
Inish Beg is a private island estate in beautiful West Cork. The Island is just a few miles from the thriving market town of Skibbereen and the idyllic little port of Baltimore with its sailing, fishing and diving centres.

Your hosts at Inish Beg, Paul and Georgiana Keane, have undertaken a uniquely sympathetic renovation and rejuvenation of this island paradise. The Estate with its beautiful woodlands, parkland, farmland, gardens, foreshore and various activities will enchant all who choose Inish Beg for their luxury self catering holidays in scenic West Cork.

Staying on Inish Beg Estate you will have access to the fitness complex located within the restored walled garden, with its 13m heated indoor swimming pool, small exercise room and steam room.

Inish Beg is registered for civil weddings and can offer a truly unique wedding experience.

The gardens at Inish Beg Estate were listed in the Hundred Best Gardens in Ireland 2011 and are open to the public all year round.

Other activities on the Island include horse drawn carriage rides, walks with private access to woodlands and local shoreline and bird watching.

Irish Water Sports, Ireland’s Premier Power Boating Centre, is located on Inish Beg Island. They offer power boat courses, with certified expert instructors and you can earn your ISA National and International Certificates, rib rentals and sales with a full fleet of new fully equipped Joker 5mtr Ribs and safety equipment. They also run days out to nearby islands including Baltimore, Schull, Heir Island and Cape Clear.


The Warren Blue Flag Beach
There is a Blue Flag Beach located at Warren, Rosscarbery, County Cork.

Owenahincha Blue Flag Beach
A Blue Flag Beach is located in Owenahincha, Rosscarbery, County Cork.

Tragumna Blue Flag Beach
A Blue Flag Beach is located in Tragumna, Skibbereen, County Cork.

Barleycove Blue Flag Beach
Barley Cove is an ideal family beach set in wild and beautiful scenery on the remote promontory of Mizen Head. Just one of the attractions of beautiful West Cork.

Garnish Beach
Garnish Beach, at the southern tip of the Beara peninsula (1.5 miles from Dursey Island) holds the only Green Coast Award in Beara. Garnish beach was given this Award in June 2010.

Green Coast awards are presented each year to rural beaches that meet EC bathing quality water standards and that also have a clean environment and natural beauty. Garnish beach and its sister beach Trá na gCloch both meet these standards as well as having two of the very few sandy beaches in Beara. Garnish beach also has newly refurbished wheelchair accessible toilet facilities that include changing rooms and baby changing facilities.

Claycastle Blue Flag Beach
A Blue Flag Beach is located in Claycastle Youghal County Cork.

Front Strand Blue Flag Beach
A beach is located in Front Strand ,Youghal, County Cork.

Garryvoe Blue Flag Beach
Garryvoe boasts one of the finest Blue Flag beaches in the area and is a popular holiday destination for families.

Garrylucas Blue Flag Beach
There is a Blue Flag Beach located at Garrylucas, at the Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork.

Garrettstown Blue Flag Beach
A Blue Flag Beach is located in Garrettstown, Co. Cork.

Inchydoney Blue Flag Beach
This Blue Flag Beach is located at Inchydoney, Clonakilty, County Cork.

The sinking of the the Cunard Liner the Lusitania on May 7th 1915 resulted in the deaths of 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. It was torpedoed off the Old Head of Kinsale County Cork, by the Germans during World War I.

Many of the victims were brought to Cobh and many are interred in the Old Church Graveyard near Cobh town. The monument, which is in Casement Square in the town centre, designed by Jerome O’Connor commemorates those who died in the tragedy. It depicts two fisherman who went to the rescue of the ill fated liner. Over them is the Angel of Peace.

The event turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the American entry into World War I and became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns of why the war was being fought.