Ireland’s Hidden Gems in West Cork

  • Our Flight arrival into Dublin, Ireland was mid morning and we leased a car at the airport for the drive to our self catering home “Teach na Cairdeas, Parkana”  in Bantry .  Bantry Bay is located in West Cork about 340Km (5 hours drive) from Dublin. We chose this location as a 6 day base for day trips on the “Wild Atlantic Way” to Kinsale, Crookhaven, Mizen Head Signal Station , Ring of Kerry, and Bantry Bay Golf.
  • Bantry is a friendly, walkable town with many shops, bars and restaurants. I had the pleasure of eating the best crab cakes I’ve ever had at “The Fish Kitchen”,  great lamb at ”Donemark West” and large portions of good food at “The Snug” .  Our rental home included a BBQ so we purchased a special offering advertized on the window of the local butcher shop( 4 pork chops, 6 beef patties, 8 sausages and 4 chicken breasts all for 15 euro. ….Ou-Ya what a supper feast !)  Bantry feels less touristy and rushed when compared with locations closer to “The Ring of Kerry”.  Overall a great choice of location!
  • Our first driving tour was out to “Sheep’s Head” located at the tip of Bantry Bay. We drove across mountain paths that only sheep should use, but the scenery was well worth it.  The next day trip was to “Mizen Head Signal Station” and should not be overlooked. The scenery along the way again is wonderful.  We stopped in Crookhaven for lunch at O’Sullivans Bar and had their famous fish and chips. Crookhaven  is the town where a portion of the latest Star Wars episode was filmed. The Mizen Head Signal Station is located on a rugged section of the coast for good reason and the walking paths within the Station area are worth the small fee charged to enter if you’re not concerned with height.
  • Our next tour was the bustling town of Kinsale with loads of shops and restaurants. On the way we diverted to “Old head of Kinsale” and observed the wind surfers do their tricks.  The beach would easily draw you in and appears to be a summer getaway location. The scenery again was worth the detour.
  • We took a day off from our driving tour to golf at the Bantry Bay Golf Club. The reception was welcoming, just as we had begun to expect in Ireland. The course was very well maintained, reasonably priced and the sun came out making the day that much better. Who would have thought that there were palm trees in Ireland? That evening we went to “Donemark West” for an amazing supper and cordial friendly reception. Highly recommend this Restaurant!

A comment on driving in Ireland…….. Purchase all the insurance you can afford!  You will never forget the driving experience. My knuckles are still white from holding onto the steering wheel!  The words “Tour bus coming” has a whole different meaning on roads that I would consider an alley here in Canada.  Enough said on that subject as my mind is going into shock again!

Next …The Ring of Kerry, Republic of Ireland

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