As well as the list of below land based activities to enjoy in this area, there are also many more activities to be enjoyed and things to do in West Cork such as Romantic Walks, sailing, Fishing, and Golf at Skibbereen.
Dún na Séad Castle
Is a beautifully restored 13th century castle, set atop a hill overlooking Baltimore harbour. This O'Driscoll castle fell into ruin and was uninhabited for over three hundred years. The McCarthy family purchased the castle in 1997. They put great love and care into restoring it to its former splendor, then opened the castle to the public in 2005. Tour the great hall on the first floor, recreated to feel like a grand home. It has its original two fireplaces and dressed sandstone windows. See furnishings and old photographs, as well as archaeological findings from the castle grounds. Sit in plush couches and peruse photographs of the reconstruction process.
Major features to a visit of the castle include:
A stroll through the great ball on the first floor, whicb contains furnishings, tapestries and an historical description of the castle’s 800 year history
Pirate exhibition giving qraphic detail of Baltimore’s piratical history, including “Sack of Baltimore” 1631
A view of archaeological details on Castle grounds and a display of archaeological finds.
A walk onto the battlements, which offers an unimpeded view of the roof restoration and provides a commanding view of Baltimore harbour and the islands.
There are many walks in and around Baltimore. Whichever way you head, be it past the Dun na Sead Castle, the Baltimore RNLI lifeboat station, the Baltimore Beacon, Spain tower & deserted village of Spain, gardens, Ringarogy Island, Lough Hyne or the hills round and about, you'll have a great time.
Has Breathtaking views of Baltimore Harbour , Sherkin Island , the Atlantic Ocean and the estuary of the Ilen river is an ideal area for a quiet peaceful walk.
Walking - Lough Hyne
Anybody interested in marine biology must visit Lough Hyne, Ireland’s only Marine Nature Reserve. It is situated 10 km from Baltimore in West Cork and is a fascinating place. There is an information board at the lakeside describing its origin, geology and unusual wildlife. A 5km loop walk starting at the lake takes you past a prehistoric ringfort, gives spectacular Atlantic Ocean views, descends to Barlogue pier at the sea-entrance to the lake and finally follows the lakeshore back to the starting point. Another, rather longer walk, takes you climbing through the woods to the summit of Knockomagh Hill which offers views not only of Lough Hyne but also panoramas of the West Cork coastline from Galley Head to Fastnet Rock to Mizen Head and beyond. The walker can choose to return to the starting point by descending the hill or can continue walking north over the back of Knockomagh Hill and returning to the lake via a small green road past a couple of ancient holy wells.
By studying the relevant Ordinance Survey maps enthusiastic walkers can devise many more walks to suit their time and energy in this superb area.
West Cork Places:
Short ferry trip of just 10 minutes across the harbour from Baltimore boasts of beautiful golden sandy beaches including Silver Strand and Trabawn and scenic walks Cape.
Is an excellent location for bird watching, megalithic standing stones, and a heritage centre that traces the history and folklore of the island with ferry services from Baltimore –on a scenic passage journey time 40 Minutes.
The Glebe Gardens & Gallery Baltimore:
Is open from May to end of September.
Is situated in Roaring Water Bay with a beautiful sheltered beach and quiet walks has an all year ferry Service from Cunnamore near Church Cross or Summer time only from Baltimore at 11am and 2.15pm.
Are situated in Baltimore, Sherkin, Cape Clear, Old Court and Lough Ine RNLI Lifeboat Centre is on the seafront at Baltimore Harbour. Fastnet Lighthouse: may be views by Ferry from Baltimore weather permitting, Summer time only.
The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition commemorates the tragic period in the 1840s that is known in Irish History as the Great Hunger. Skibbereen was one of the worst affected areas, and the events of the era are depicted using local characters and events.
The Lough Hyne Visitor Centre explains the unique nature of this salt water marine lake, Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve.
Other features include an archaeology trail of the Skibbereen area, displays on the Old Gasworks Building and information on the species living on the River Ilen.
The Skibbereen Heritage Centre now offer Genealogical RC church records for Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands of West Cork Ireland as well as the Griffith’s Valuation for the greater West Cork area, the Tithe Applotments etc.
The Skibbereen Heritage Centre houses the 1901 and 1911 Census records and provides helpful information for those seeking genealogy information covering Skibbereen town & District, West Cork Ireland. Their website lists the townlands recorded in each census. These records are available for sale in printed form and the staff of the heritage centre are often able to look up information requested via email. Please include all of the information that you have.
The attractive village of Castletownshend in West Cork
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 harbour.
The village sits on the north side of Castlehaven Harbour 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 centre of the village. The present sycamores replace two trees planted in the 1800s. Also to be visited is Egon Ronay pub and restaurant - Mary Anne's Pub and Restaurant, home base of the famous Castlehaven Gaelic Football Club.
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.
PLACES OF INTEREST
· Castletownshend Harbour
· Village Church
· Somerville and Ross Graves
· Toe Head
Glandore Stone Circle:
This lovely recumbent stone circle is locally known as the Druid's Altar and is located on the edge of a rocky terrace with fine views to the Atlantic Ocean.
Drombeg stone circle also known as The Druid's Altar, is a recumbent stone circle located 2.4km east of Glandore, County Cork, Ireland. Latitude: 51.564553N Longitude: 9.08702W), Drombeg is one of the most visited megalithic sites in Ireland. The area of the circle has been covered in gravel to protect it from the volume of visitors.
The stone circle consists of seventeen closely spaced stones spanning 9m in diameter, of which 13 survive. The most westerly stone (1.9m high) is the long recumbent and has two egg shaped cup-marks, one with a ring around it. A Cork-Kerry type stone circle, it is flanked by a pair of 1.8m high axial portal stones, which provide a south-west axis, and orientate the monument in the direction of the setting sun during the midwinter solstice. The stones in the circle have been shaped to slope upwards to the recumbent stone, the midpoint of which was set in line with the winter solstice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills. While the alignment is good, it is not precise.
The ruins of two round stone walled conjoined prehistoric huts and a fulacht fiadh lie just 40m west of the monument. Evidence suggests the fulacht fiadh was in use up until the 5th century AD. The larger of the huts had a timber roof supported by a timber post. The smaller hut had a cooking oven on its east side. A causeway leads from the huts to the cooking place (fulacht fiadh) featuring a hearth, well and trough in which water was boiled by adding hot stones.
Garnish Island Italian Gardens at Glengariff:
Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengariff in Bantry Bay West Cork, in Southwest Ireland, Garnish is a small island known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty.
The island is open to visitors each day from 1st March to 31st October. During the winter months, from November to February, it is closed to visitors except by special arrangement. Garnish is reached from Glengarriff by ferry.
Garnish is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, changing continuously with the seasons. The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas are at their best during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and shrubs dominate from June to August. Autumn colour, particularly on the magnificent heather bank, is rich during the months of September and October.
Because of its sheltered situation and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream the climate is almost subtropical, and favourable to the growth of ornamental plants from many parts of the world. Winters are mild, and frosts are light and of short duration.
Even for those who are not particularly interested in gardens, Garnish is an attractive place to visit. There are many attractive views of the scenery of the surrounding district from the island. Garnish and its surrounding waters are quite rich in wildlife, the seals which frequent the rocks on the southern shore being of particular interest to many visitors.
There is also a walkway to a Martello tower. Ferries leave from the seafront in the village of Glengarriff.
Clonakilty 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.
Bantry House contains furniture, paintings and other objects d'art collected in the 19th century. The gardens are laid out over seven terraces, the last four linked by a monumental flight of steps atop 100 stairs (the "Stairway to the Sky) - the only one in Ireland.
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 of Skibbereen & Baltimore, amongst others. The models 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 the tea room, set on one of the authentic train carriages with a view of Clonakilty bay.
Day trips around West Cork:
Enjoy a drive to the Mizen Head, Bantry House & gardens, Castletownshend, Union Hall & Glandore, to the Schull Planetarium or Lissard Garden in Skibbereen, or go to the West Cork Art Centre or The Heritage Centre, which are both located in Skibbereen
Schull Planetarium West Cork
This is the only planetarium in the Republic of Ireland. With an eight-metre dome it can display the night sky and any configuration of stars, which could have been seen from the northern hemisphere in recorded history. Its opening hours vary, July and August have the most extensive hours and there are daily demonstrations and simulations. There are also public shows and special events are advertised. It's possible to book privately also. Shows are on 8pm onwards.
10 Useful Baltimore Links: