The villages of West Cork love a party but Baltimore and the Islands have more festivals than anywhere else. So what better place than Casey's of Baltimore to get all the advice and information you need on things to do in West Cork and what each of the Baltimore and Islands festivals have to offer? There is plenty to be enjoyed, so whether its music, food, fishing, sailing, arts or literature, there is something for everyone and much to celebrate…as we look forward to .......the comming Season
“A Taste of Baltimore” Baltimore Seafood and Wooden Boat Festival
In Association with Guinness
“A taster of shellfish over the weekend to be had in the Pubs with Guiness Products”
Things to do around Baltimore.
Go on the garden trail.
Visit Lough Ine, 5 minutes away.
Bring the children to the play ground.
Take a trip to the Beach on Sherkin Island
Take a trip to the Gaeltacht Island of Cape Clear.
Visit the art and crafts shop.
Take a stroll to The Beacon.
Visit the O’Driscoll Castle.
Or Simply enjoy a pint of Guinness
The facts and myths of the O'Driscoll clan are celebrated on the last full weekend of June. The charming coastal village of Baltimore is situated on one of the most south-westerly points of Ireland, renowned for its attractive landscape, unspoiled coastlines and Carbery’s Hundred isles.
The O’Driscolls having been having their annual Clan Gathering in this part of West Cork for the past twenty three years. Their name has long being associated with the area and in 1961 there was a one-off gathering attended by more than 400 people from around the world. The gathering in its current format, held over the last weekend in June, has been held annually since 1986.
The schedule for the clan gathering is organised as a festival known as the “O’ Driscoll Clan Mid Summer festival”, showcasing the area’s natural beauty and involving the local community. The festival has a full programme throughout the weekend. The registration of Clan members takes place in “Dun Na Sead” Castle followed by a talk on O’ Driscoll heritage by a local historian. There are boat trips to the nearby islands of Heir, Sherkin and Cape Clear as well as a trip around Carbery’s Hundred Isles. Back in Baltimore there is a lot of traditional Open Air music and dancing on the square each evening and on the last day (Sunday) the Chieftain addresses the Clan. A new chieftain is elected every two years and is chosen by the past chieftains along with the local committee that organises the clan gathering.
On this day there is also entertainment and face painting for the children making it a real family day out?
Actually, there is no Square in Baltimore, but in the Irish way, that’s what the Harbour front is referred to by the locals.
The Clan Gathering, in many ways, is like a large Family Gathering. There’s that celebratory, party atmosphere of family and friends meeting up who don’t see each other too often, but who are aware of who’s who. There the exchange of stories about others not present this time. There’s a mix of ages. Some clan members bring their children with them. There’s singing, drinking, speeches, and dining.
The “O” part of the surname was often dropped and the spelling of Driscoll changed by many O’ Driscolls once they had emigrated so even if you you are just plain Driscoll or one of its other versions you will be welcomed into the clan. Everyone is considered a cousin.
But why would you want to travel many miles – from Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, The United States and Wales to meet lots of people who have the same name as you but are not closely related. Many feel it like being part of an extended family all returning home (to their roots) to meet up with each other. Somewhere back along the line all of the O’ Driscolls originated in the area. They get to feel a part of the local community. A lot of those attending are back for the umpteenth time and intend continuing to return. Many build their annual holiday around the gathering.
Baltimore itself has a permanent population of just over two hundred, although it grows every summer with visitors who cannot help but return and who are now very much part of local life.
Fishing and the Sea have always played an important in the history and economy of the village. Many of the ruined castles standing sentinel on lonely headlands are the ancient homes of the piratical O’ Driscoll clan, who once held sway over a thousand square miles of south-west Ireland.
Although the quiet harbour resemble the Aegean during the summer, in winter violent storms blast in from the Atlantic. However the harbour and village is protected from the worst of them by Carbery’s Hundred isles, including Sherkin Island and Cape Clear.
Because of its maritime tradition, Baltimore is well known as one of the best places in the country for water-sports, including sailing, windsurfing, sea angling and diving. You can even learn how to do these while visiting.
Spring arrives earlier here than almost anywhere else in Ireland, owing to our extreme southerly position and warming influence of the Gulf Stream. Sharp frosts are rare, snow almost unheard of, and as you will see from nearby gardens many shrubs grow well all year round and there is no month where you can’t find a flower somewhere for your enjoyment.
Local wildlife, including a number of rare birds, also enjoy our mild climate. Out at sea, perhaps on the way to picnic on an uninhabited island you’ll often spot Seals sunning themselves on wave washed rocks or Whales and Dolphins following your boat. With plenty of restaurants and pubs in the village and nearby locality there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. With so much to offer in the locality there is no better place to come for a relaxing holiday.
Baltimore Pirate Festival
Middle Weekend of June
Pirates of Baltimore
The attack in June 1631 by Barbery corsairs was the worst-ever attack on the mainland of Ireland or Britain, also known as ‘the Sack of Baltimore’ - 107 slaves were taken and sold on the markets in Algiers. Recently an archaeological team discovered a pirate shipwreck, you can visit the pirate exhibit in Dún na Séad Castle and follow the history through the Heritage Walk, in books by local authors and artefacts & displays in local bars.
A weekend of events remembering in an entertaining and informative way one of the most remarkable events in Baltimore's colourful past – the attack by Algerian pirates in 1631 known as 'the Sack of Baltimore'. The festival includes attractions for all ages based around the theme of the Sack and the history of pirates and piracy.
There are races to be won at Baltimore Regatta, (First Weekend of August).
Of all the attractions that Baltimore offers, sailing is possibly the best known, but sailing in Baltimore doesn't just mean expensive off-shore cruises, crewed by visiting yachtsmen. At the core of the sport are the numerous dinghy sailors who find the harbour and the islands an unbeatable source of relaxation and fun.
The true delight of sailing in Baltimore is to visit some of the many islands which dot the waters of Roaringwater Bay. A beautiful summer's day; a picnic in one of the coves between Baltimore and Schull; a voyage to Cape Clear or Heir. Heavenly!
If you're not a keen sailor, maybe try kayaking (sea or lake) or hire a boat with an engine to explore the harbour.
Cape Clear Storytelling Festival
Stories are told on Cape Clear on first weekend of September
Baltimore West Cork Sea-angling Festival
There are fish to be caught during the Baltimore Sea-angling Festival on the Last Weekend of August.
South West Ireland's longest-running deep sea angling competition is noted for exciting fishing and an atmosphere of friendly rivalry. It is open to all and usually attracts anglers from all over Ireland and abroad. A separate one-day shark fishing contest will be followed by a three-day bottom fishing competition for fish like conger, ling, pollack, cod, common skate, etc. Trophies and prizes will be presented at a prize-giving dinner on the last night. Anglers can enter for as many or as few days as they wish as there will also be daily cash prizes presented after fishing each day. The fishing is catch-and-return with results determined on a points-per-fish basis so fish can be returned alive to the sea. In addition, sharks and skate caught will be tagged as part of the Central fisheries Board tagging programme for purposes of scientific research. The boats employed are all licensed and fully-equipped charter boats with qualified skippers.
Whether it's a contemporary wedding, blessings or a civil ceremony, you can relax in the knowledge that your wedding will run smoothly.
Alex Rey - Cork
Thank you all so much for a wonderful stay! It couldn't have been more fantastic. The rooms, food and accommodations were lovely. We are planning our O'Driscoll family stay for next year with you!
Paul o’Driscoll - Mayo, Ireland
Stayed a night, it was so good we stayed another. The place is fantastic, cosy, warm. And the staff are great, welcoming and helpful. Food is some of the best food we have tasted on our trip so far.
Paul C -
Walking home after our meal and sampling the home brew from the on-site West Cork Brewery was just what we needed as we were comfortably stuffed with the large, delicious portions of the freshest seafood around, not to mention the home brew..
Mary B -
Crab and prawn starter was very tasty and four of us had tempura of prawn starter as a main course. This was generous in size and really well cooked.
Mark W -