Skibbereen Tourist Attractions
Skibbereen (Sciobairin, "Little Boat Harbor"), one of the chief places in Cork county, lies near the southern tip of Ireland, beautifully situated on the River Ilen, which 1mi/2km below the town opens out into a winding estuary with numerous islands.Skibbereen is a fishing port and market town, and a good center from which to explore the surrounding areas.
Skibbereen is a fishing port and market town, and a good center from which to explore the surrounding areas, which have many features of interest.
From Skibbereen the R596 leads southeast to Castletownshend, a favorite haunt of artists. In the middle of the steep and picturesque village street is a clump of trees. On its southwestern outskirts stands Drishane House, home of Edith Somerville (1858-1949), co-author with Violet Martin, whose pseudonym was Martin Ross, of novels and short stories vividly depicting life in the Anglo-Irish houses of their time.
0.5mi/1km northwest of the village of Castletownshend rises the massive Knockdrum Fort (National Monument), a ring-fort 95ft/29m in diameter with 10ft/3m thick stone walls, a narrow entrance protected by a guard chamber and underground rooms.
At the south end of the R595, 7mi/11km southwest of Skibbereen, we come to the pleasant holiday resort of Baltimore, a well-known fishing center which also has a sailing school.
At the south end of the R595, 7mi/11km southwest of Skibbereen, we come to the resort of Baltimore, offshore from which, like a breakwater protecting the town's sheltered harbor, lies Sherkin Island, reached by ferry service from Baltimore. Farther out, also with a boat service from Baltimore, is Clear Island, whose inhabitants, living off the tourist track as they do, have preserved something of their older way of life and still speak Irish. There are two Irish language colleges on the island. The ruins of a church (12th century; National Monument) and a cross slab bear witness to an Early Christian settlement here.
Cape Clear - 1, 2, 3, Go Storytelling Festival
This annual three-day festival takes place in early September at Cape Clear the southernmost point in Ireland.
On Clear Island, to which there is a boat service from Baltimore, there is magnificent cliff scenery at Fastnet Rock, Ireland's most southerly point.
On the way to Skibbereen from Baltimore a side road can be taken which bears east past Lough Ine, a clear sea lough where the rich fauna is kept under observation by a Cork University marine biological station. A waymarked path leads to the Hill Top (a good 20 minutes from the picnic place) from where there are excellent views of the lough and the sea with the outlying islands.
10mi/16km west of Skibbereen, at Ballydehob, the R592 turns southwest and comes to Schull where a Planetarium can be visited. In the area are a number of old copper mines. From Mount Gabriel (1,312ft/400m) there are good panoramic views.
From Schull there is an attractive run to Crookhaven, which has a safe harbor. A narrow road runs out to Mizen Head, from the highest point of which (765ft/230 m) there is a magnificent view of the Atlantic coast.