Cruise down the Ilen River from Old Court out into the Altantic Ocean to Sherkin Island, and visit the historic ruined Franciscan Abbey and visit the old lighthouse – views back to the Baltimore Beacon and out to the Atlantic are breathtaking. Enjoy an open air barbeque at Islanders Rest before your return to the mainland.
Take a guided walk on Cape Clear Island, Ireland’s most southerly inhabited island – Depart from Baltimore Pier on board the Dun an Oir, 40 minutes later arrive at Cape Clear. On arrival meet your guide, renowned Poet and Author, Chuck Kruger for refreshments in Sean Rua’s Restaurant overlooking the calm and welcoming waters of the North Harbour. Then experience a unique walking tour of the island, encompassing spectacular views of the iconic Fastnet Lighthouse. If you are not up for the walking tour, alternatively take a bus tour of the Island with full commentary throughout. Followed by a light lunch in Sean Rua’s restaurant, featuring island produced foods on their menu.
Guided tour of Liss Ard Estate and gardens – including the famous Sky Garden
Walking tour of Castletownshend – starting at historic Drishane House, home of the Somervilles, visit the Edith Somerville Museum, walk through the village to St Barrahane’s Church to see the magnificent Harry Clarke stained glass windows and the Somerville Graves.
Walking tour of Baltimore – visit the Cove, site of the infamous pirate ‘Sack of Baltimore’ head on to the Beacon for spectacular coastal views of the Atlantic. Return to Baltimore village for a guided tour of Dun na Sead Castle, ending the day in historic Bushes Bar.
Historic walk of Skibbereen town, incorporating the Heritage Centre and visit to the famine pit at Abbeystrewry.
Walk to the ancient Megalithic site of the Drombeg Stone Circle, and seea Fulacht fiadh - a communal cooking pit with a hearth dating back to the iron age - hot stones were taken from the fire and dropped into the water trough, recent tests have shown they could boil seventy gallons of water in about fifteen minute. After the visit to the stone circle head off for a walk in the tranquillity of Dromillihy Woods.
Visit the Holy Well at Lough Hyne and walk to the top of Lough Hyne Hill and be rewarded by the spectacular panoramic view of the Carbery Coast.
Join historian Tim Crowley and visit Michael Collins birth place ‘Woodfield’ at Sam’s Cross followed by a historic walking tour of Clonakilty and visit the Michael Collins experience.
Meet at Drinagh Coffee Shop in Dunmaway for light refreshments and then head off to visit the Manch Project in Dunmanway. Walk in the 20km of wonderful walkways, woodland paths, riverside meadow paths and visit theButterfly garden. A guide will be on hand to provide information on the many faceted and valuable work done on the estate and in the organization. Experience first hand the magic of basket weaving. Visit the Hollies, a centre for training in Practical Sustainability on about 30 acres near Enniskeane, in West Cork, Ireland. It is owned by An Baile Dulra Teoranta, a company with charitable status for the eduational work it promotes. It aims to create working examples of what a sustainable society might look like in the areas of housing, energy, gardening, economics and community development.
Head to Castle Freke, with wonderful views of Owenahincha Beach and Galley Head Lighthouse, walk to Rathbarry Church where generations of Frekes have been buried. Head to Galley Head Lighthouse for a private tour of an operating lighthouse.
Ten Island Tour – leave from Baltimore pier and cruise around the beautiful islands of Roaring Water Bay with a stop at Sherkin Island.
Explore the waters of Lough Hyne by kayak at night, an atmospheric and gentle paddle, which is many people’s first experience of kayaking. Slip silently into the night and take advantage of the increased awareness of sound which is a special element of paddling in the darkness.
Union Hall Smoked Fish – visit the family run business in Union Hall that has been operating from this picturesque fishing village in West Cork for the last 25 years. Specialising in farmed salmon, mackerel kippers and trout which are brined then slowly oak smoked in the centuries old traditional manner. The Nolans are a family with generations of expertise in the fishing industry.
Ummera Smoked Products – visit Ummera Smokery and experience their wetland system and vermicompostingunit which enhances their commitment to environmental issues. Wander through the historic 13th Century Francescan Abbey situated on the edge of Courtmacsherry Bay. Call in to Charlie Maddigans Pub in Timoleague for light refreshments.
Inish Beg Island – tour the estate with the Head Gardener for a unique garden experience.
Visit the Drombeg Distillery in Skibbereen, and tour the premises of this local distiller.
Fields New Bakery – tour Fields new state of the art bakery for a first hand experience of how an industrial bakery works.
Visithistoric Bantry House. Situated with dramatic views out over Bantry Bay, Bantry House, built 1739, is owned by the eighth and ninthgenerations of the original owner Captain White. The house is still decorated with furnishings collected by the original owner from all over the world. Visit the 1796 Amada Centre situated in the East Stables of Bantry House. Wander through the gardens whose design and layout reflect the influence of the many foreign countries previous generations of the family visited.
Glenilen Farm has been tended by generations of the Kingston family. Resting on the banks of the River Ilen from which the farm takes its name. Glenilen Farm has an idyllic location for dairy farming. The lush hills of Drimoleague offer the cows a rich and plentiful supply of nutritious grass and the cows in turn supply the rich tasty milk which is a core ingredient in all the Glenilen products. In 1997, Valerie began using this milk to make homemade cheesecakes for the local country market, and from this small beginning, the award wining Glenilen Farm products began. The farm is well worth a visit.
Gubbeen Farm – a 250 acre coastal farm situated one mile outside Schull village. Tom and Giana Ferguson are the sixth generation of Fergusons on the land. Find out how the farm has evolved from its early days and is now on a quest to produce farm on the farm that comes directly from the land and reaches their customers as seasonally and as fresh as possible.
Thornhill Organic Farm. Located just outside the West Cork town of Skibbereen on 16 acres, award winning Thornhill Organic Farm, registered with the Organic Farm Trust, produces high quality soft fruits, salads, herbs and a selection of vegetables. Anthony Boyle and Morgan Hurley are passionate about what they do and take great pride in supplying quality produce to local consumers and restaurants in the West Cork region. Thornhill Farm also produces free range pedigree rare breed Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot pigs for breeding. Thornhill Farm’s vision for the future is to be able to produce and supply a broader range of quality organic vegetables and free range pork at affordable prices in County Cork and beyond.
Brown Envelope Seeds – Visit Madeline McKeever who is only independent full time seed saver, running Brown Envelope Seeds from her farm in Turk Head. Madeline grew up on a farm in County Meath and studied Botany in TCD before moving to the USA in 1984 to live and work on an organic farm. This farm is situated in spectacular and dramatic surrounds and is well worth a visit.
Call in to Caherbeg Free Range Pig Farm, Avril and Willie Allshire’s large open air award winning free range pig farm - Avril will explain the many advantages to free range pig farming, and sample her award winning produce.
Farm to Fork – experience an organic beef farm, followed by a demonstration by William Walsh, Craft Butcher of the various cuts of beef, culminating in a beef feast in the traditional surroundings of Annie Mays Restaurant
Glengarriff Bamboo Gardens -This unique exotic garden is one of the most attractive areas of Ireland, situated in the mild climate of Glengarriff. Thirty different species of bamboo surrounded by palms and other tropical plants amidst of romantic paths and breathtaking views. Head on to the Glengarriff Pier to take the ferry to visit the amazing island garden on Garnish Island, located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay. The very sheltered ferry trip includes a wonderful visit to seal island where you will visit the very tame seal colony. Garnish Island is world renowned for its gardens which are laid out in beautiful walks and it has some stunning specimen plants which are rare in this climate. The Gardens are the result of the creative partnership of Annan Bryce and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and was subsequently entrusted to the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. For history buffs the Island also boasts a Martello tower on its southern shores which has been restored by the OPW. There is an amazing view of the bay from the battlements of the tower. Followed by lunch at award winning Mannings Emporium.
Ballydehob (Beal un da Chab - meaning ‘mouth of the two river fords). Tour the traditional Irish village and visit the Gurtnagrough Folk Museum, a large private collection of antiquities including awide variety of vintage agricultural tools and domestic utensils, among the collection are items that date from the 1700’s. Walk over the magnificent Twelve Arch Bridge, the former West Carbery Tramway and Light Railway viaduct is now a footbridge. This three foot narrow gauge line first carried a train in September 1886, and its last in January 1947. This bridge now gives walkers a spectacular view of the estuary, after crossing the bridge take the purpose built decked walkway across the inlet to the other side. Pause to feed the resident swans as you head towards Hudsons Wholefood Shop for a lunch experience. Hudson’s isWest Cork’s longest established family run wholefood shop offeringa Vegetarian Cafe and bakery which is a focal point in the organic community in West Cork.
The Mizen experience – Irelands most south westerly point. Visit the award winning Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction. This authentic all-weather experience is a must-see, situated on high cliffs above the swirling Atlantic Ocean tides. From the Visitor Centre, the Signal Station is a ten minute walk along a path, down the 99 steps and across the dramatic newly refurbished Arched Bridge. The Mizen is famous for wildflowers and sightings of wildlife - dolphins, whales, seals, gannets, kittiwakes– the bird migration north-south flight path is just a mile off shore. Enjoy the dramatic uninterrupted view to the south of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, ‘Ireland’s Teardrop’ which was the last landfall seen by many emigrants to America and one of Marconi’s first telegraph stations. After lunch at The Mizen Cafe with its excellent home cooked meals, visit the traditional village of Schull set on the dramatic Atlantic coastline in the shadow of Mount Garbriel. Call into the only Planetarium in the Republic of Ireland, which has a beautiful situation beside the harbour andprovides a unique educational resource, where the Planetarium’s sky projector shows an accurate representation of the night sky from anywhere in the northern hemisphere. Visit the iconic Blue House Gallery which showcases a number of prominent West Cork Artists work.
The Sheeps Head Way, also known as Muntervary (Rinn Mhuintir Bháire), is the headland at the end of the Sheep's Head peninsula - a European Destination of Excellence - situated between Bantry Bay and Dunmanus Bay. The peninsula is popular with walkers, in total the Sheep's Head Way is an 88 km long-distance trail which follows old tracks and roads around the peninsula from Bantry to the headland and back. The trail is very accessible and is well signposted. The route combines low and rugged hills with coastline and cliffs. The walkway is very straightforward - the trail is divided into eight stages. The peninsula has three villages, Durrus (six miles from Bantry), Ahakista (twelve miles from Bantry), and Kilcrohane (sixteen miles from Bantry).
Durrus has been identified as one of the key staging posts on the Wild Atlantic Way driving route along the Irish coastline and is the home to Durrus Farmhouse Cheese, which you can visit and buy cheeses at the dairy and watch cheesemaking through the viewing panel. Durrus Irish Farmhouse Cheese is a raw milk cheese, made using traditional methods and is recognised as one of the finest of the modern artisanal Irish farmhouse cheeses. Lunch at the Good Things Cafe and Cookery School located by the water, run by Michelin Bib Gourmand Award winner chef Carmel Somers, who only uses the finest, fresh, local, seasonal and where available organic ingredients.
The village of Ahakista has a bronze age stone circle and proudly boasts a holiday home owned by Television Personality Graham Norton who can sometimes be found in the local up pub hosting the quiz.
Kilcrohane is the last coastal village on the Sheep's Head Peninsula after Durrus and Ahakista. It lies under the 'Shadow of Seefin' - the area's highest hill and overlooking Dunmanus Bay and not far from Caher Mountain. Kilcrohane is renowned for its beautiful coastline, idyllic views and world famous hill walking routes. During the summer months Kilcrohane is a lively and vibrant seaside village. The pier is a popular swimming place and there are numerous private coves dotted along the coast. The water is clear and a beautiful place for swimming. There is an abundance of pollock and mackerel in Dunmanus Bay. There is boat access to Carbery Island where seals are plentiful. The Sheep's Head Cycle Route loops through the village from Bantry.