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West Cork Holiday Day Trips

 

Schull is a perfect base from which to explore the many scenic locations in West Cork - beaches, islands, gardens, heritage sites, ferry trips and so much more.

Baltimore and Lough Hyne

About a half hour drive from Schull, Lough Hyne,http://www.skibbheritage.com/hyne.htm  is a beautiful lake with an inlet to the sea, teeming with marine life.  Watch out for the sea urchins if you go for a swim!  From the lake you can walk up the hill through the mature broadleaf forest, to enjoy magnificent views of the sea and islands from the top of the hill.  Drive on ten minutes to Baltimore where you can have lunch overlooking the harbour, or at Glebe Gardens Restaurant, followed by a boat trip to Sherkin Island http://www.sherkinisland.eu/ and a swim at Silver Strand (a twenty minute walk from the ferry across this scenic island).

Skibbereen

A half hour drive from Schull, this market town has many shops, restaurants and pubs.  There is a country market on Saturdays with local produce - fruit, vegetables and herbs, freshly baked breads and cakes, local West Cork Honey, cheeses, and also a selection of local crafts.  You can visit an art exhibition, or take a creative workshop at the West Cork Arts Centre.  http://www.westcorkartscentre.com/      Don't miss the Famine Exhibition at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre. http://www.skibbheritage.com/   Skibbereen paid a heavy toll in the Great Famine, as evidenced by the mass graves at Abbeystrewry, where nearly 10,000 famine victims are buried.Follow the Skibbereen Trail, a historical walking tour of old Skibbereen and visit sites which have direct links with the Great Famine.   Be sure to visit Liss Ard Gardens and see the world famous James Turrell Sky Garden. http://www.lissardestate.com/liss-ard-gardens.html  Skibbereen Sports Centre offers tennis, badminton, indoor bowls, soccer, table-tennis, a fully equipped gymnasium plus a sauna. http://www.skibbsportscentre.com/

Bantry

A half hour drive from Schull, over the mountain, is Bantry, another market town, in a superb setting on the sea with the Kerry mountains as a backdrop.  There are many shops, restaurants (The Fish Kitchen http://www.thefishkitchen.ie/ is recommended) and a large outdoor market in the square on Fridays with food, crafts, and bric a brac.  You can visit Bantry House and Gardens, enjoy a snack in the cafe.   http://www.bantryhouse.com/bantryhouse/  There are also hotel swimming pools and a cinema (http://www.cinemaxbantry.com/) in Bantry.  The award winning Good Things Cafe is located in nearby Durrus.  http://www.thegoodthingscafe.com/

Glengarriff, Garinish Island (Ilnacullen) and Gougane Barra

About a fifteen minute drive beyond Bantry is Glengarriff where you will find many craft shops and scenic woodland walks at the water's edge.  From the pier at Glengarriff you can take a boat trip past seals basking on rocks in the bay out to Garinish Island. http://www.garnishisland.com/  Garinish Island is home to beautiful gardens, famed for their profusion of trees, flowers and shrubs that thrive in this mild climate washed by the tropical warm current of the Gulf Stream.Gougane Barra, a twenty minute detour off the Glengarriff Bantry Road, is the site of an exquisite small chapel beside a lake, with lovely walks through the surrounding woods, and up and down hills scattered with waterfalls.

Barley Cove and Mizen Head

About a half hour drive west, Barley Cove is a golden sandy beach, perfect for a picnic and a swim, and also for surfing.  Children will enjoy playing in the warmer water of the river that flows across the sands down to the sea, and making sandcastles.  A ten minute drive further west brings you to the Mizen Head (Lighthouse) Visitor Centre, http://www.mizenhead.net/ where you can walk down the famous 99 steps, across the iconic Mizen Bridge to the Signal Station Exhibit, overlooking the cliffs, and from where you may see Minke Whales.  On the way home stop at O' Sullivan's Bar in Crookhaven for one of their famous crab sandwiches.