Glengarriff and Garnish Island
- 16km (10miles)
Glengarriff which derived its name from
'An GleannGarbh' - the rugged glen is one of Ireland's most beautifully
situated villages, nestling at the foot of the Caha mountains.
The Forest Park on the N71 Kenmare Road is well worth a visit,
as it is one of the few remaining examples in Ireland of the original
Oak and Holly Woodland that once covered the country. There are
a number of
nature trails through the forest together with delightful picnic
A short trip across the harbour brings the visitor to Ilnaculin
- the famed Garnish Island with its 37 acres of sub-tropical plants
and Martello Tower. The Bamboo Park is on the Bantry-Glengarrif
main road (N71).
Gougane Barra - 24km (15 miles)
Leaving Bantry via Kealkil and driving through the Pass of Keimaneigh
lies Gougane Barra where the river Lee has its sources. It is
surrounded on three sides by mountains and the fourth side opens
up to the River Valley. It was here in Gougane Barra that St.
Finbarr, Patron Saint of Cork, founded his monastery.
Ireland's first National Park with its nature trails and picnic
sites was opened in Gougane Barra. An ideal place to relax and
Sheeps Head - 36km (20 miles)
The road down the Sheeps Head Peninsula heads from Durrus village
along the coast to the wooded inlet of Ahakista. Here you will
see the Air India Memorial which commemorates the loss of an Air
India Aircraft and the passengers and crew who were killed when
the aircraft crashed off the Cork coast in 1985.
Continue on to Kilcrohane. Beyond the village the road
climbs adventurously to the top of Sheeps Head, on the ridge of
which is an old signal tower. A return is made via Kilcrohane
and the north side of the peninsula by way of the mountain road
called the Goat's Path where the wide expanse of Bantry Bay, Bere
Island, Hungry Hill and Sugarloaf Mountain can be viewed.
Lough Bofinne/Castle Donovan - 24km (15 miles)
Driving out of Bantry by one of the roads to the east one encounters
one of the famous trout fishing lakes of Ireland. Four miles further
on, the ruins of O'Donovan Castle is encountered as well as the
famous mound of rocks signifying the tribal seat. By taking the
road to the north past the Castle one enters the Mealagh Valley
noted for its concentration of megalithic monuments.
Kilgarvan/Kenmare 64km (40 miles)
Journeying through Coomhola (Rushing Water) and the breathtaking
Borlin Valley to the source of the cascading river one can enjoy
the splendour of the hidden valleys of the Southwest. From the
Pass to the North one encounters the tunnel, remains of monastic
settlement, battle site of Callan (1200's) and the vintage car
museum before arriving at Kilorglin. Passing through Kenmare and
returning to Glengarriff one has to negotiate the famous winding
tunnel road with panoramic views of Glengarriff Woods and the
upper Bay Region.
Mizen Head Peninsula 103km (64 miles)
Mizen Head, with almost vertical cliffs and a lighthouse station
on an islet linked to the mainland by a suspension bridge, is
the extreme south western tip of Ireland. Here in the Mizen Vision
one can see on display the fascinating story of the building of
the Fastnet lighthouse plus the Keepers kitchen and bedroom which
have been retained to recall the lifestyle of the men of the Irish
Lights. The rest of the light keepers rooms have been converted
to include an audiovisual room, a map and archive room, an underwater
room, a bird and sea watch room, and a storm room. Close to the
Mizen are the beautiful sandy beaches of Barley Cove.
Nearby is Crookhaven, which has a harbour much favoured
by yachtsmen. On the return journey, you pass through the delightful
village of Schull which nestles at the foot of Mount. Gabriel
which rises to just over 407 meters and has an aircraft tracking
station on its summit.
Finally, on to the brightly painted village of Ballydehob
on the homeward journey to Bantry.
Skibereen Heritage Centre
In the bustling town of Skibereen are the Lough Hyne Interpretative
Centre and The Great Famine Commeration Exhibition. The Great
Famine Commeration Exhibition is a compelling reminder of the
horrors of the terrible famine years 1845-1848 chillingly brought
to life in a series of exhibits, dramatisations and interactive
The Lough Hyne Interpretative Centre shows the variety of unusual
sea life to be found in the waters of the Lough.
Ring Of Beara 146km (91 miles)
The circuit of the Beara Peninsula is a wild and beautiful area,
with high rugged mountains contrasting with the highly indented
coastline. Castletownbere, the principal town, boasts the second
largest natural harbour in the world and is the major fishing
port of Ireland. Outside the town are the ruins of O'Sullivans
Dunboy Castle and the remains of Puxley's Hall.
Well worth a visit is Dursey Island, whereby access to
the mainland is by cable car, the only one of its kind in the
country. En route you pass through Allihies which was once the
site of extensive copper mines and then on to the colourful village
of Eyeries where the file 'The Purple Taxi' was shot in 1975.
A shorter trip through the scenic Healy Pass, Lauragh and
the coast road of Kilmakilloge is well worth a visit.
Bantry Tourism Association
© Bantry Tourism Association 2002