The town of Bantry lies nestled between high hills at the head of the deep water harbour of Bantry bay. This bustling market town is a perfect location for exploring the rugged countryside in the hills behind the town and the many inlets and coves indenting the coastline. Bantry has been catering for the intrepid tourist since the 19th Century when combined train and boat trips were available to get the traveller from Cork to Glengarriff. The harbour and Whiddy Island dominate to the seaward side overlooked by the famous Bantry House owned by the Shelswell-White family and home to an internationally famous annual Chamber Music Festival each summer (25th June – 3rd July 2010). The town has a great reputation for food with, not surprisingly, seafood dominating. Locally farmed mussels are a particular favourite but there is something to suit all tastes and pockets. The town boasts a particularly fine eighteen hole golf course boasting magnificent views over the bay.
Adjoining one side of the bay is the Sheep’s Head Peninsula another EDEN award winner in 2009 for rural tourism in Europe recognising the incredible walking trails (the Sheep’s Head Way) created on this unspoilt peninsula making the most of its natural advantages with special areas of Protection and Conservation being sympathetically and imaginatively incorporated into a unique tourism attraction. The area abounds in natural beauty and being a narrow peninsula the sea is never far away with spectacular views from the hills in the middle towards the ocean bounding both sides of this unique landscape.