Further along the R600 road brings you to Clonakilty, Ireland’s first Fairtrade town and winner of the European Destination of Excellence Award (EDEN) as the Best Emerging Rural Tourism Destination in 2007. Clonakilty is both a vibrant commercial centre and a tourism hub for an entire region. The town has a reputation for innovation and its model village (a scale replica of Clonakilty and other local towns) and tourist road train are just two of the ways in which Clonakilty draws visitors into the story of its past. Clonakilty is surrounded by fantastic beaches such as those at Inchydoney where the traditional games of beach football, sandcastle building and kite flying mingle with the more modern surf schools. Golfers are well catered for at the Lisselan Estate on the outskirts of the town although few rounds of golf elsewhere in the world include a tram and a raft in the round!

The quaint streets are packed with places to eat and drink and the live music tradition is particularly strong. Again throughout the year there are many activities organised locally from the International Car Rally, The West Cork Rally (20th and 21st March 2010), the Arts festival and the International Guitar festival. It is also internationally famous for being the birthplace of Michael Collins immortalised by the actor Liam Neeson in Neil Jordan’s 1996 eponymous film. A statue to the “Big Fella” can be seen at Emmet Square in the town which also boasts a local black pudding delicacy amongst its culinary delights.

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