Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Killarney is known the world over for its magnificent scenery with a truly unforgettable mixture of mountain and lake preserved in a National Park which is a national treasure. Killarney has a year long programme of events and in some ways is the Irish equivalent of the “city that never sleeps” with something to do every day as it constantly reinvents itself year after year. There are a myriad of activities here for young and old, singles and families, with accommodation from hostels, to self-catering to hotels and with food and drink and music to hand at almost every turn.

Iveragh Peninsula

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

The Iveragh Peninsula is known the world over as the “Ring of Kerry” a driving experience or day trip for the uninitiated; but this large area encompassing Ireland’s highest mountains, lakes, moorland and spectacular coastline is a destination worth investigating at a more leisurely pace. The towns and villages that lasso the peninsula each have a unique character from Killorglin with its unique annual festival which crowns a goat as King for three days (10th -12th August 2010), to the magnificent beaches of Glenbeigh, to Cahirciveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Sneem. The visitor is well catered for with places to eat and stay in comfort at all points along the way.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Kenmare reached by the spectacular Caha Pass road from Glengarriff is the first major town in County Kerry as you cross over the county boundary.  Before arriving in Kenmare you pass through the hamlet of Bonane with its impressive Heritage Park giving a real insight into the archaeology of an area which has been inhabited for thousands of years. There is a wealth of information here and the park is open all year round.

Kenmare itself on the river estuary which bears its name is a town dating from 1670 and is a charming destination which has been loved by generations of visitors. It is surrounded on all sides by areas of outstanding natural beauty and the bay contains a multitude of aquatic wildlife including sea birds of all types, seal colonies and otters all to be seen from the highly recommended “Seafari” cruise around the bay. In common with so many towns there are a multitude of places to eat in Kenmare with the finest local produce available to suit all pockets. Outdoor activities of all types abound from the usual hill walking, golf, fishing, cycling to more organised sailing and kayaking and outdoor pursuits at the Star Outdoors Adventure centre.

East Cork

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

The area comprises a number of towns such as Midleton, Cobh (pronounced “Cove”) and Youghal (pronounced “Yawl”). Midleton has recently been re-connected with Cork city by train and now is an even easier target to stay and use as a base for visiting the city. It is home to the Jameson Distillery which produces 19 million litres of whiskey each year and has a fascinating visitor centre which tells the story of whiskey in Ireland and its unique way of distilling one of our most famous exports. Cobh is the town cascading down the hillside across from the ferry port at Ringaskiddy with its St. Colman’s Cathedral dominating the skyline as you sail past. Its heritage is of course steeped in that of the sea having been an important naval base of strategic importance from Napoleonic times, to being the departure point for 2.5 million emigrants who left Ireland primarily for the US between 1848 and 1950 and of course it will always be remembered for its association with the Titanic being the last port of call for that ill-fated ship in 1912. The Cobh Heritage centre tells these stories movingly and in detail. Youghal was the setting for the film Moby Dick and it has that unmistakable air of the sea about it. Fine sandy beaches and rugged coastline make it an ideal location for a holiday.

Further down the coast the fishing village of Ballycotton with its iconic lighthouse has been a favourite destination for Cork city families for generations. Nearby Garryvoe with its long inviting beach has similarly captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike and Shanagarry home to the world famous Ballymaloe House cookery school and restaurant is a must visit for foodies.

Blackwater Valley

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Lying to the north and west of Cork city encompassing towns such as Mallow, Fermoy and Millstreet the Blackwater Valley tourism area taking its name from the world famous anglers paradise that is the Blackwater river, is a diverse area of commercial towns and rolling countryside amongst the most fertile in this region of Ireland. There is equine heritage here in abundance with the original steeplechase being a horse race first run from Buttevant church to St. Leger Church in the village of Doneraile in 1752. As well as fishing, golf, hillwalking and cycling the area has an abundance of natural beauty and Millstreet Country Park encompasses this beauty with an educational program, archaeological sites, managed wetlands and planned gardens not to mention a number of water features and a replica of a famous Belgian fountain the Mont Des Arts opened in 2009.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

The ancient garrison town of Macroom in the heart of the Lee Valley is both the hub and gateway to a fascinating region which contains spectacular scenery and rural Gaelic speaking communities which are living breathing organisms of an ancient culture not preserved, but thriving. The town serves as the main commercial centre for a network of villages in its hinterland but is a worthwhile base for exploring at a more leisurely pace the surrounding countryside. Nearby Gougane Barra (the retreat of St. Finbarr) is one of Ireland’s gems with a lake surrounded by imposing forested hills giving great walking trails and unforgettable views. Further west along the N22 is Ballyvourney a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area and last village on the road before County Kerry. The area boasts outstanding natural beauty and walking and cycling trails as well as Ireland’s only toy soldier factory and visitor centre.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Dunmanway is a planned town dating from the 17th Century and famous for being the birthplace of Sam Maguire who gave his name to the All-Ireland Football trophy competed for each year by the teams of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. Activities of all sorts can be attempted from here with walking and cycling particularly well catered for. The annual horse fair and races in August each year is an ancient tradition dating back hundreds of years. The little village of Drimoleague just 14 kilometres ( 8 miles) down the road was an important railway junction up until the 1960s and in recent years the old railway yard has become the trailhead for a network of signposted walking trails taking the walker up into the hills surrounding the village and along ancient river paths with enough variety and levels of exertion to suit all abilities.

Castletownbere/Beara Peninsula

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Castletownbere is the main town on the Beara Peninsula, a working fishing port and focus of commercial activity of this region. It caters well for the traveller in search of sustenance or a place to stay and time spent in this area is rewarded by unforgettable memories. The ancient landscape bears the signs of human settlement from the earliest times and there is something elemental in the interaction of landscape, light, ocean and mountain. Once again the outdoors beckons at every turn, with fishing, hillwalking, cycling and sightseeing being key activities. The old copper mines at Allihies have a  fascinating story to tell dating back thousands of years and the museum there is well worth a visit. The first sight of the village itself from a distance is one never forgotten and on a sunny day the nearby beach is a hive of activity for young and old alike.

Bantry/Sheeps Head

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

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.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

The Mizen peninsula is the most southerly part of Ireland and the lighthouse and visitor centre at Mizen Head are a must see when in the area. Along the way you will marvel at the breathtaking beauty of this rugged landscape and perhaps wonder at the strength and resilience of a local population who have survived for generations farming and fishing this difficult terrain and at times, wild seas. The village of Goleen is for many a refreshment stop on the way to Mizen but many visitors bewitched by the landscape choose it as their “get away from it all” piece of heaven.

The rocky coastline and sheer promontories give way to a number of spectacular sandy beaches, most notably at Barley Cove.  The combination of high rocky cliffs and sandy beach backed by high sand dunes make it an unforgettable sight.  The little fishing village of Crookhaven at the end of a little promontory has its own end of the world atmosphere and with the sun shining and the boats bobbing at anchor in this sliver of a bay the noise and hubbub of the outside world seems a very long way away.