Posts Tagged ‘West Cork’

2011 Schedule and Prices now available

Monday, October 18th, 2010 by Paul
West Cork Suite

West Cork Suite


Fastnet Line has launched its 2011 schedule with great value fares available for anyone booking online from today.  Return trips now available over the Christmas and New Year period and get the best deals for next summer right now by going online and choosing your dates. We guarantee you our lowest prices for the most sought after dates when you book with us now!

Put out more flags – and bring ‘Sam’ home’

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 by Paul
Cork County Flag

Cork County Flag

There can hardly be a nation more enthralled with the glory and shine of sport than Ireland – and the counties of both Cork and Kerry are well used to being in the spotlight year after year.

The leading hurling counties of Ireland may beg to differ – but arguably the climax of Ireland’s sporting calendar is the All Ireland Football final and the prize of the Sam Maguire Cup .  For the uninitiated that is the sport of Gaelic Football – fifteen men a side – rugby posts and goal nets. The game is played on a bigger pitch than soccer or rugby and we can usually look forward to high octane action from start to finish.

While the County of Cork has long dominated All Ireland wins, football teams from the North of Ireland have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Last month’s cup final in Dublin’s Croke Park featured Cork against Northern Irish county,

Cork Football Final 2010

Cork Football Final 2010 -

In the days before the contest – on September 19th – the first time tourist to West Cork might have been forgiven for thinking that a new government was about to be elected – or least that one important Cork citizen – called Sam – was being held hostage in Dublin.

Roadside flags of all kinds and colours are feature of West Cork all year round. But through September ‘Bring Sam home  was the message on many a fluttering pennant or hoarding  – the message usually decked out in the county colours of red and white. ‘Sam’ of course refers to Sam Maguire, a native of Dunmanway, West Cork who gave his name to the annual trophy.

And – by 5.00pm on Sunday September 19 – Sam indeed was coming back home as Cork beat Down by a single point.

Every year, returning visitors to West Cork will recapture that sense of roadside sporting passion at all levels – juniors, seniors, ladies teams – from the smallest towns to county wide

Conor Counihan

Conor Counihan -

The flags are a major part of the West Cork experience -  the tradition and enjoyment of sport. But winning the Sam Maguire is up there with the best achievements in the country. And for another year the ‘Sam Maguire’ will now rest secure in its native resting place.

Paul O’Brien – Fastnetline


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.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

The town takes its name from the Gaelic An Gleann Garbh (the wild or rugged valley) and the visitor is left in no doubt as to why. This village is centred on a beautiful harbour studded with rock tree covered islands backed by bare rocky hills giving it a magnificent setting even by any standard. Everywhere you look there are scenes just begging to be photographed or just simply contemplated as well as walks and forest paths which yield their natural rewards at every turn of the trail. Garnish Island is worth a visit being just minutes by boat from the harbour but all around are samples of flora and fauna that make this area a naturalists paradise. The visitor is well catered for with a variety of places to stay, to eat and drink which is why Glengarriff has been a firm favourite for generations of visitors.

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.

Baltimore/The Islands

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Baltimore is a beautifully situated village built around the twin pursuits of fishing and sailing. Overlooked by the 17th Century castle of the O’Driscolls the harbour is a hive of activity year round with fishing trawlers vying for space with pleasure yachts, ocean going cruiser yachts for hire and ferries to the outlying islands of Sherkin, Cape Clear and Heir Island. The village has been a must visit for sailors cruising around the coast of southwest Ireland but also hosts sea anglers, divers and snorkelers, bird watchers, walkers and whale watchers. Throughout the year Baltimore hosts a variety of festivals including the annual Fiddle Fair (traditional folk music based around the violin or “fiddle” 6th - 9th May 2010), the Wooden Boat festival (28th – 30th May 2010), the regatta (1st -2nd August 2010) to name but a few.

As gateway to the islands, Baltimore is where you leave dry land to experience the different sights and sounds of Sherkin Island with its Franciscan Abbey and castle. With a variety of places to stay the population of 100 is bolstered by summer visitors eager for the peace and quiet and slower pace of life which an island brings. Cape Clear is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) community which has accommodation, a pub and restaurant as well as hosting a storytelling festival on the first weekend of September each year. It is Ireland’s most southerly island and three miles to its west is the Fastnet Lighthouse perched on top of Fastnet Rock an iconic image of Ireland known throughout the world.  The island is a naturalists paradise with birdwatchers being spoiled for choice as well as attracting those who regularly spot leatherback turtle, sun fish, shark, dolphin and whale. Heir (or Hare) Island is the smallest of the three inhabited islands and boasts wonderful sandy beaches and is home to a sailing school for those wishing to be initiated in the ways of the sea in a safe, relaxed and professional manner in idyllic surroundings.


Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

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.

Glandore/Union Hall

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by Fastnet Line

Glandore and Union Hall are another of the out of the way delights of West Cork. These two small villages at either side of the harbour reflect back at each other the beauty and peace to be found in small communities. Union Hall is still a working fishing port and the brightly painted shop fronts in the town make it seem a film set which in fact it was, being one of the locations for the 1994 film “The War of the Buttons”. Food and drink are needs never to be ignored while in this part of the world and you won’t go far wrong if fish is your food of choice. A selection of places to stay nearby means you never have to leave. Glandore has a big reputation for such a small place and the list of its cosmopolitan inhabitants year round is testimony to its beguiling qualities. Its small harbour is frequented by the sailing and cruising fraternity and there are no lack of activities should you wish to pursue them locally but in truth most people seem to like to “hang out” and enjoy the food, wine and conversation which is the social currency here. Nearby Drombeg Stone Circle is a place which though describable, is best felt – the small circle of stones and remains of the living quarters of our ancient ancestors set on a plateau overlooking the sea is an atmospheric reminder of life three millennia ago.