Top 9 Amazing Things To Do in West Cork

Top 9 Amazing Things To Do in West Cork
Image: Mizen Head, West Cork, @Aniket Bhawkar

There are so many sites to explore in West Cork that are rich with Irish culture, both old and contemporary, from bustling streets and colourful festivals to sweeping beaches and stunning scenery. Discover its stunning islands, historical relics, and dramatic coastal scenery.

Even though it was difficult to choose only a few, these West Cork favourites are deserving of a spot on your itinerary.


1. Inchydoney Beach

Anyone in West Cork will likely agree that Inchydoney Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the entire region if not the entire world. They may have a point because, just a few kilometres from Clonakilty, you can be the sole one strolling along the beach, depending on when you visit.

The West Cork beaches are also fantastic locations to learn how to surf. To get started, sign up for a class at the Inchydoney Surf School.

2. Garnish Island

On Garnish (Garinish) Island in the protected harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, you can see the Gulf Stream in the action. The island is a haven for oriental and subtropical plant life, which is on exhibit in the renowned Illnacullin Gardens. For a fantastic family day out in West Cork, set off on a small ferry or waterbus and keep an eye out for the colony of amicable seals along the route.

3. Lough Hyne and Skibbereen

Lough Hyne, Ireland's first declared Marine Nature Reserve, its sole saltwater lake, and conceivably the most researched body of water in the world, is located just between Skibbereen and Baltimore. This aquatic marvel is home to more than 70 fish species and a variety of plant life thanks to its entirely unique ecosystem, which is powered by warm, oxygenated seawater.

Visit the Skibbereen Heritage Centre while you're there to learn more about the fascinating Lough Hyne narrative.


4. Mizen Head and Fastnet Lighthouse

It's amazing how many people who have never visited there are familiar with the names Fastnet and Mizen Head from weather and maritime predictions. Since the 19th century, the Fastnet Lighthouse has stood strong against the elements on Ireland's most southwesterly point.

Visit the Keeper's House, ascend the historic arched bridge's 99 steps to the Mizen Signal Station, and keep an eye out for humpback whales and basking sharks along the route.


5. Kinsale Harbour Cruise

Take a Kinsale Harbour Cruise to discover the city's natural harbour from the water for a fresh perspective. Charles Fort and the Old Head of Kinsale, a headland that protrudes about 3 km out to sea, will be clearly visible to you.

One of the best things to do in Kinsale is visit Charles Fort, one of the biggest military forts in the nation. Charles Fort is worth a visit on its own. especially if you take the 30-minute hidden coastal path from Kinsale to Summercove to get there.

When you get back to the city, make a reservation at one of West Cork's top eateries for a delectable lunch. Pick from flavorful modern Irish cuisine, fresh fish, and more.

6. Beara Peninsula

One of West Cork's most isolated regions is the Beara Peninsula, which is also one of its most stunning unexplored areas. Take in picturesque towns and villages like Glengarriff, Adrigole, Castletownbere, and Allihies as you travel along this weather-beaten length of land. You can also unwind at classic West Cork pubs while soaking in the Atlantic views, mountain panoramas, and countless photo opportunities.

7. Dursey Island

You can cross off another adventure from your vacation wish list at the very tip of the Beara Peninsula. Take a short ferry ride to Dursey Island on Ireland's only cable car, and tell the youngsters to keep an eye out for whales and dolphins in the water below. Please be aware that the cable car will be out of service until the end of November 2022 for maintenance.

One of the most westerly inhabited islands in County Cork is Dursey, which is also incredibly beautiful. With no pubs or stores in sight, this is one of the best treks in West Cork. Bring a picnic and visit the little settlements.

8. Castleview

The Michael Collins Center in Castleview, 5 kilometres northwest of Clonakilty, is where you may learn more about Michael Collins' life and times. The Béal na Blá memorial, a replica of the ambush spot where Michael Collins died, is one of many places close to the centre that is associated with the well-known commander.

Collins is linked to Tim Crowley's great-grandmother, who co-owns the centre with his wife Dolores.

9. Bantry House and Gardens

Visit the ancestral home of Richard White, the second Earl of Bantry, to see how the other half lived. The family that manages Bantry House and Gardens, a display of the Earl's artwork and worldly treasures, still owns the property.

Don't miss the spectacular gardens with seven green Italian-style terraces, which are visible from the upstairs windows as they provide a breathtaking view of Bantry Bay.