Ballydehob/Schull

Leaving Skibbereen as you continue west towards the Mizen peninsula the terrain becomes increasingly rugged and barren with Mount Gabriel and its instantly recognisable radar domes as your landmark. The quirkily named Ballydehob is a village instantly recognisable by its twelve arch railway viaduct a relic of the past but now incorporated into a unique walk at the entrance to the village. As with most villages in West Cork it hosts its own annual festival in August each year has ample accommodation and restaurants and bars for the weary and hungry traveller and an enquiry about the story behind the statue of Danno Mahony, world champion wrestler, which is on the main street will tell you all you need to know about that essential pride of place a mainstay of irish character not yet lost to modernity. Schull another fishing port further west along the road is yet another village which sustains a multitude of activities throughout the year. Sailing of course is a major part of the lifestyle here and the local sailing club has a busy schedule of races and classes year round including the entertainingly named “Calves Week” a derivation from Cowes Week one assumes. In addition there are any number of walks or for those who like to combine several forms of exercise at once you can join the local triathletes for one of the many events they run throughout the year. Recently the ambitious locals have also started a very successful short film festival sure to become a rival to the great film festivals of the world. Such is the enterprise of small villages in this part of Ireland – one might say a “Cannes do” attitude. In addition there is the successful Sunday Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. well worth a visit for good food and crafts made locally, a planetarium and enough breathtaking scenery to make you want to return every year or simply give in as many do and settle here permanently.

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