Skibbereen on the Ilen river is a pleasant town bustling town with a thriving local community bolstered in the summer months by a regular influx of visitors. It hosts an annual arts festival including an outdoor music concert and hosts regular art exhibitions, plays and sporting events including the Fastnet International Car Rally (24th October 2010) throughout the year. The town gained international notoriety in the 1840s when the potato famine which afflicted large parts of Ireland had a particularly devastating effect on the local population. The reporting internationally of the famine in Skibbereen focused attention on the town and its surrounding areas and the Heritage Centre in the town movingly tells the story of those troubled times.  Castletownshend is a small village about six miles from Skibbereen made up of well built sylish homes dating from the 18th Century along a steeply sloping main street ending at the harbour overlooked by the lovely St. Barrahane’s church and the Castle owned by the Townshend family which gives the village its name. Sailing, fishing and a music festival annually in the aforementioned church are just some of the delights awaiting those who make the effort to seek out this haven of tranquillity.

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