Heritage and Sight Seeing in West Cork
The West Cork Model Railway Village
The first of its kind in Ireland, visitors can experience the sights and sounds of life in West Cork during the 1940's. Situated beside picturesque Clonakilty Bay, The Model Village depicts in miniature, life and industry in West Cork as they were 50 years ago. The theme is enhanced by the miniature working railway. In addition to the model village, the "Tsu Tsu" - is an old style train that travels around the town at different stages during the day picking people up at the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre, on its travels to explore the town of Clonakilty and Inchydoney.
The Michael Collins Centre
Visitors enjoy a short audio/visual explores the Big Fella's childhood, his family history, his school days and the important Collins' sites around Clonakilty. A guide then continues the presentations, using slides, large photographs or film clips, the visitor is taken through the 1916 rebellion, War of Independence, Treaty talks and the Civil War. The tragic death of Michael Collins at Beal Na Blath and his legacy area also discussed. The presentations ends with a guided tour of the ambush trail, a life size replica of an ambush site complete with Crossley Tender and replica of Michael Collins famous Rolls Royce armoured car "Sliabh N mBan". Here the events at Bea na Blath and the history of the vehicles in the Collins convoy are explained in more detail. Visitors can then return to the cottage/theatre to view the exhibitions of photographs, documents and militaria. Tel. +353 (0)23 88 46107, www.michaelcollinscentre.com
Clonakilty is the ideal base for exploring beautiful West Cork countryside and experiencing wonderful scenery and wildlife in the area. "The Sheeps Head" is one of the more popular trails in West Cork and consists mainly of hilly terrain and incorporates the Sheep's Head Peninsula and the greater Bantry area. It offers picturesque views of lakes and the coastline and is suitable for all levels with shorter loops for the casual walker. A map of the area can be viewed here. For information on a walking trail company in West Cork, visit www.westcorkwalking.com
The "Beara Way" trail is popular for the more intense walker and covers over 120 miles from Glengarrif all the way to Kenmare in the Ring of Kerry. This trail can take around 8 days to complete.
To view a map of this area, please click here.
Lios na gCon Ringfort, Darrara, Clonakilty
Discover how people lived and worked in the past in Clonakilty. The Lios-na-gcon Ringfort is where a defended homestead of the first millennium A.D. is being reconstructed on the basis of a full archeological investigation of the site. Lios nagcon is one of three circular earthworks in the townland known as Darrara and one of 48 circular earthworks or possible ringforts sites recorded by the Cork Archaeological Survey in the Clonakilty area. Tours during summer time. Tel. +353 (0)23 88 32565 or (0)23 88 32500, www.liosnagcon.com
Lisselan Gardens - It's a breath of "fresh air" as you take a leisurely stroll in their 12 hectares of gardens and woodland walks with a variety of plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that flourish in their mild Gulf Stream enhanced climate. Enhanced by the natural features and contours of the valley with the trout filled Argideen flowing throughout, seasonal tickets are available for 2008/2009. Unlimited access to Lisselan Gardens is available all year round, a family ticket is €50 (2 adults/2 children).
Guided/unguided group bookings are available on request in the Gardens, Golf Club & Fishing. Lisselan is primely located just off the main N71, 4km from the award winning Clonakilty town. Tel. +353 (0)23 88 33249, www.lisselan.com. You can also visit additional gardens in the nearby areas of Ballinasscarthy, Enniskeane, Bantry and Dunmanway. Visit http://www.westcorkweek.com/gardentrail/ for more information.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Skibbereen
Learn about the Great Famine of the 1840's when over a million died. Skibbereen was one of the worst affected areas in Ireland, as evidenced by the mass graves near Skibbereen, where almost 10,000 are buried. Rediscover this era through exhibits, dramatisations and interactive stations.
Discover Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve and unique salt water lake at the Lough Hyne Visitor Centre. Find our about the history, folklore and formation of this natural phenomenon and see the salt-water aquarium with common species found in the lake. Audio visual available in English, French, German and Irish. Full wheelchair access. Tel. +353 (0)28 40900 www: www.skibbheritage.com
Mizen Head Visitor Centre, Harbour Road, Goleen, West Cork
An award winning Maritimes Museum and Heritage Attraction, this authentic all-weather experience is a must-see with its spectacular location on high cliffs with swirling Atlantic-Ocean tides. The Mizen is famous for its wildflowers and sightings of wildlife, dolphins, whales, seals, gannets, kittiwakes, choughs - the bird migration north-south flights path is just a mile off shore. Tel. +353 (0)28 35115 Fax: +353 (0)28 35603, www.mizenhead.net