Cloyne is a village in East Cork which we drove through on our way from Garryvoe Beach on my first day in Ireland. Though only a village, Cloyne boasts a cathedral, built on the site of an early Christian monastery founded here by St Colman Mac Lenene around 560. The monastery buildings were burned in 1137.
The Church of Ireland Cathedral dates back to 1250 but, having been completely modernised over the centuries, it little resembles the original structure. Its most famous bishop was George Berkeley, the great 18th century philosopher.
Right opposite the cathedral is a round tower, one of a number of such constructions in Ireland dating back to the Middle Ages. Once thought to have been used as watchtowers to warn the inhabitants against Viking invasions, they are now believed to have served simply as bell towers, which their name in Gaelic - cloictheath, or bellhouse, clearly suggests. The tower stands out proudly from the modern buildings on its sides, with rooks nesting high up in its battlements. Until recently it was possible to climb the ladders up to the top for a great view but alas this is now considered too risky and no visitors are allowed inside.
Not far from the tower is the statue of Christy Ring, Ireland's most celebrated hurler (1920-1979), who was born and lived in the area.
Sheep Head is the name of the tip of the peninsula that makes the 2nd finger reaching into the Atlantic from the south-west of Ireland .
A tiny road will take you through the wild landscape with only a very few houses here or there. this peninsula makes a perfect place for wild camping, as long as you respect the common rules. Most probably your motorhome will be visited only by the local sheep and once it even happened to me at such an occasion that a group of sheep started to scream as long as I stayed in the parking-bay that they normally use themselves during the night. Finally it was so noisy that I was searching for a different parking and the sheep took over my parking-space...
Mizen Head is the very end of the southernmost of the 4 big peninsulas in the very south-west of Ireland. There is a really narrow road to the very end of Mizen Head and there you may spend a night in the wilderness, if you bring the right equipment.
There will be nothing else then you, some sheep and the cliffs of the Atlantic...
...and a lot of wind maybe.
Leave your car at the large parking at the end of the road and take a walk to the light-house along the scenic coastline. Watch out for the white herons - they are quite shy and will fly away as soon as you get closer than 100 meters - so you better use a tele-lense like my APO 5,6/400mm or an even better one !
Lough Allua is one of my favorite secret places in Ireland. I first passed by it accidentally without expecting anything special, when I once drove from Blarney castle towards the town of Bantry on the road R 584. It was rather late already and so I spent the night next to the lake in my motorhome and the other morning I woke up and saw this peaceful picture in the morning-haze, no noises at all except the humming of the bees, and not a single car for several hours...
Please click on my pictures in order to see also the other pics of that magic place, including the spider-net in the morning-sun...
Allihies is just a tiny village in the north of Beara peninsula and it is well known for its plenty of colorful houses.The roads leading to Allihies are at most places too small for tourist-buses and so this part of Ireland is not yet so crowded, as many other places in County Cork are.
Allihies is situated on the northern ring-road leading to Dursey-island
Take some time to explore it and take pictures, this village still has the typical charme of a traditional irish village on the coast !
In Allihies several films were made because of the great background-scenery.
You may click here in order to
see the location of Allihies on a zoomable-map by
This is certainly the most popular filling station in Ireland, It is situated next to a pub, and I am afraid, it is neighter filled with Beer nor with gasoline. This station is in Co.Kerry, close to the village of Lauragh / An Laithreach, at the north-entrance of the road R 574 to Healy-Pass, that is the border to Co.Cork. The road to Healy-pass is really scenic with a great view over the landscape and some lakes.
Healy Pass was once built in order to give some work for the poor population of Ireland and it helps to have a rather fast connection between Adrigole in the south and Lauragh in the north. The road over Healy Pass is quite narrow and with my big Mercedes-motorhome I had to drive some of the various bends very carefully. Only at a few places you may stop there and take a look around without blocking the road.
Dursey Island is an uninhabited island at the west-tip of Beara Peninsula and it is a well known paradise for hikers and bird-watchers.
Ireland's only cable-car takes its passengers there according to a fixed timetable or upon appointment - you may find the owner's telephone-number at the door and he will arrive within a short time after your call, he is one of the farmers nearby.
the island was not all the time uninhabited and so you may see the ruins of an old castle there. For Dursey-island you should schedule a whole day in order to explore it !
Cape Clear is a stunning Island off West Cork, which can be reached on the ferry from either Baltimore or Schull.
It is a sparcely populated island with beautiful scenery, good publife and a very resonable priced , beautifully located campsite. You can also rent out houses there.
Truly one of the nicest places in Ireland.
Inchdoney Hotel (Lodge and Spa) is set on Inchdoney Beach in a wonderful location. Accomodation details at link: http://www.inchydoneyisland.com/ .The hotel boasts a luxorious spa resort, where you can book treatments in quantities to suit your budget, eg two treatments or four. You can spend your day based in the relaxtion room, with facilities including sea water pool, water jets, sauna, showering facilites, refreshments; and relax with each special spa treatment. There are many options available which are viewable on the link above. Food is reasonably priced in the lounge relative to my point of view on average dining costs in Cork. You will float home from Inchdoney Spa. A walk on the atlantic beach is a must also "to blow away those cobwebs!"
I can really recommend Timoleague, not very well known among Corkonians themselves, there is a great feeling to the little village, with its beautiful Franciscan Abbey founded in the 14th century,and seated on a waterside wildlife sanctuary,some mad and wonderful characters can be found in the 5 or so bars...the Murphy's in MacCarthy's bar is the best I've tasted and say hello to their Dog "Bud"...but dont try and take him for a walk or you'll be 10km from nowhere before you know it!!
After walking around about half of the island, we stopped in the Whiddle Island pub for a soda and some shade. We were the only visitors-- everyone else was deeply involved in a televised sports event, but still friendly. Behind the pub/meetingplace/picnicarea/ferrylaunch was a small children's playground and minigolf course.
It's easy to wander from the "tourist" path onto actual farmland on Whiddle Island. About twenty feet past the point where this picture was taken, there was no more barbed wire between us and two conspiring bovines! Sure, this one looks far away in the photo, but we had to walk very quickly once he and his comrade noticed us. Good thing our cameras didn't have flashes.
Don’t worry if you never heard of Beal na mBlath before or can't find it on the map, as it seems to consist mainly of a petrol station and a pub. The reason we went there was to visit the site where Michael Collins was ambushed and shot dead on 22 August 1922. I have always found the quick-tempered "Big Fellow" a charismatic figure in Irish history and read Tim Pat Coogan’s biography a few years ago.The bits about Collins outwitting the British during the War of Independence read like an adventure-story, especially his audacious narrow escapes from British spies while cycling all over Dublin in a pin-stripe suit with a £10,000 reward on his head.
After the failed 1916 rebellion Collins became the mastermind of Ireland's War of Independence against Great Britain. His guerrilla-tactics eventually forced the British into treaty negotiations and Michael Collins was sent to London to participate in the talks. The treaty that was agreed made Ireland a Free State, but at a price: the six counties in the North with a high loyalist population were to remain part of Great Britain, and Ireland had to swear allegiance to the crown. Collins considered the treaty as a stepping stone to achieving complete independence for a united Ireland and the majority of the Irish people voted in favour of the treaty. However, President Eamonn de Valera and his followers rejected it and led Ireland into Civil War, but they had to surrender in the spring of 1923. When on an inspection tour of his troops in his native Cork on 22 August 1922 Cork Michael Collins was ambushed in the valley of Beal na mBlath and killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. The events of that day are still shrouded in controversy. A monument marks the spot where he died, and he is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. General Michael Collins was only 31 years old when he died.
Barryscourt Castle is a 16th century tower house and was the family seat of the Barry family. There are a lot of similar-looking castles all over Ireland, but what made this one special was the guided tour. It lasted about one hour and the guide was very good in pointing out all sorts of interesting little gadgets, like a square drinking jug which the hosts really enjoyed passing round to their guests because they invariably splattered wine all over themselves trying to drink from it. Or if you have always wanted to know what a 16th century baby walker looks like, Barryscourt Castle is the place to go. You will also hear about such cunning inventions as the stumbling steps or the murder hole. The tour will take you through two big halls, the dungeon, the kitchen, the chapel and various single and multi-seat bathrooms. In summer you can also visit the bedrooms on the highest level, but when we were there the weather was not really great (the sun in the picture was just a short break from the rain) and it was not possible to go up any further because of slippery steps. You’ll find Barryscourt Castle off the main Cork-Youghal road in Carrigtwohill. So my recommendation definitely is to skip Blarney Castle in favour of Barryscourt.
Gougane Barra is a lovely National Park near Ballingeary and it is also the source of the river Lee. Gougane Barra Lake is surrounded by mountains and forests and the area is great for walking. Unfortunately the weather was pretty miserable when I was there, and I did not bother to go for a walk, but just went to see the little chapel by the side of the lake.
In the 6th century St. Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork, allegedly founded a hermitage here, and you can still see the ruins. Behind the chapel an old cross leans against a tree, and both of them have hundreds of coins sticking in them. It reminded of a more labourious version of the custom to throw coins in a fountain, or maybe the cross is supposed to have some healing powers, and people are asking for some cure this way.
While the Hayfield Manor was a tad bit more expensive than we like to spend, one gets what one pays...more
I stayed here this past weekend and it was a great experience. The hotel is just across the room...more
Yacht Club Quay, Cobh, County Cork, Ireland
Good for: Couples